In 2008, a national study of more than 30,000 seniors and freshmen at more than 100 colleges and universities (including UMBC) showed that students value the ability to check their grades far more than any other function in a course management system (CMS) like Blackboard. Yet, less than half of UMBC’s Bb courses used the grade book this past fall and spring. We understand why: it takes time to master the Bb grade center, faculty may prefer to use Excel functions in an "offline" mode, and there may be a reluctance to put a grade on everything students do. But apart from keeping students from constantly pestering faculty, an active Bb grade book can be "leveraged" in some interesting ways.
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