Help for Instructors > Grade Center > Using the Grade Center > Uploading or Downloading Grade Center Items for Working Offline

Audience: Instructors

Uploading or Downloading Grade Center Items for Working Offline

To eliminate double entry of Grade Center data in several tools, Instructors can do offline grading, and then import grades into Grade Center. Instructors can upload grades from external sources such as an Excel spreadsheet or a Comma-separated Value file. Data must be formatted very specifically to upload correctly and be synched with existing Grade Center data.

Formatting External Files for Uploading

To synch external data to Grade Center data, unique identifiers are necessary for each Student and for each column in the Grade Center. The unique identifier used for each Student is the Student's User Name. The unique identifier for each column is a Column ID number. Column ID numbers are generated by the system and should not be changed or deleted. Columns that do not have Column ID numbers in an uploaded file will create new columns in the Grade Center.

IMPORTANT!  Columns that are added to the Grade Center from an external file are added as text columns with points possible equaling zero (0). Text columns cannot be included in Calculated Columns, such as Weighted, Total, Average, and Minimum/Maximum. To learn more, see Calculating Grades. Convert text columns to other columns types and add points possible by editing the column after the upload. To learn more about editing columns, see How to Edit Grade Center Columns From External Files.

Each data file uploaded to the Grade Center requires a header row with one record per line subsequently.

The format of the data file uploaded to the Grade Center is determined by the type of delimiter that is used to parse the data into separate columns. Data files are tab delimited with a file extension of .xls, or comma delimited with a file extension of .CSV.

Data in each column of comma-delimited files (file extension of .CSV) must be contained within a quote character, the most common being quotation marks ( " " ). Data in each column of tab-delimited files does not require a quote character.

Tips for Working with External Data

Blackboard recommends using tab-delimited files for uploading onto the Grade Center to avoid having to use quote characters and because tab-delimited files open directly in Microsoft Excel. Tab-delimited files will also open directly in Microsoft Excel.

To obtain a file that is formatted correctly for uploading, download the full Grade Center first and open it in a text editor or spreadsheet application. Existing columns will have Column ID numbers that must be included in future uploads.

Batch File Standards

Batch files are .txt files that hold large quantities of information to upload to the system. Each batch utility contains specific instructions on creating the batch file. The following batch file standards are universal.

How to Upload a File to the Grade Center

  1. From the action bar of the Grade Center, point to Work Offline and select Upload.
  2. Browse for the file. Files are uploaded from a local computer or if available, from the Content Collection.
  3. Select the Delimiter Type, Comma, Tab, or Auto. Auto will attempt to automatically detect the delimiter used in the selected file.
  4. Click Submit to upload the selected file.
  5. Review the list of data from the file to be uploaded on the Upload Grades Confirmation page. Use the check boxes to de-select any data to be excluded from the upload. Using this method, it is possible to upload only the desired columns of data from the file.

    Review the Data Preview Column to ensure the correct data is being uploaded. Data that appears incorrect can denote an improperly formatted file. The Data Preview will only show a sample of the data in each column in the file.

  6. Large files take significant time to process and a warning message will be displayed for any files that need extra time to process. To avoid long processing times, break up large files into separate uploads.
  7. Click Submit to confirm and upload the file.

Note:  Any file uploaded that contains Incomplete for a grade entry will be set to null, with no grade or text displayed. Any file uploaded that contains Complete for a grade entry will be set to an Override Grade of the maximum points possible (100% for a Grade Item) in a column that has the Primary Display of Complete/Incomplete. Any file uploaded that contains a numeric entry will be a numeric entry.

How to Download Grades from the Grade Center

Full or partial data can be downloaded from the Grade Center. Once downloaded, Grades and comments accessed through the Quick Comment feature or Manually Override page can be changed and added offline and later uploaded to the Grade Center.

  1. From the action bar of the Grade Center, point to Work Offline and select Download.
  2. Select the data to download:
  3. Option Description
    Full Grade Center Contains all columns and associated data. Comments will not be included and cannot be added offline.
    Selected Grading Period From the drop-down list, select a Grading Period. Grading Periods must be created before they are chosen. To learn more, see How to Create and Manage Grading Periods.
    Selected Column Using the drop-down list, select one column and its data. Select the check box to Include comments for this Column, which will download comments from the Quick Comment feature or Manually Override page. Included comment text can be edited offline.
    User information Columns containing student data such as User Name are included.
  4. Select the file delimiter, Comma or Tab.
  5. Select whether to Include Hidden Information in the downloaded data. Hidden information includes columns and students that have been hidden from the view in the downloaded file.
  6. Select the location for the download. Click Browse to select the folder in the Content Collection.
  7. Click Submit.
  8. On the next Download Grades page, click DOWNLOAD and save the file. Do not change the file name while saving, as the Grade Center needs the information it contains to deliver it to the appropriate column when uploading.

How to Download Grade History Data

  1. Point to Reports in the Action Bar and select View Grade History.
  2. Click Download from the Grade History page.
  3. Select the Delimiter Type for the file.
  4. Select Yes to Include Comments or No to exclude them from the download.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. Click Download to save the file to your computer.

How to Work Offline

After the file is downloaded and opened in the appropriate editing software, changes may be made. If the Full Grade Center has been downloaded, Grades can be added or changed, and the file saved for uploading. If a single column has been downloaded, Grades and comments can be added or changed, and the file saved for uploading.

Editing Comments

Comments will be downloaded only when a single Grade Center item and the option to include its associated comments are selected. The comments downloaded and uploaded will be for the grade (accessed in the Quick Comment feature or Manually Override page) and not the attempt (accessed in the View Attempt or grading pages).

Four comment-related columns will be included in the downloaded file. If comments have been added online, those will be included in the download. Otherwise, comments may be added offline and uploaded to the Full Grade Center to appear in the Manually Override or Quick Comments screens.

Add or edit comments in the Grading Notes or Feedback to User column.

Links within comments to rich media, such as images or sound files, should be inserted and edited online.

When editing to grades and comments is complete, save the file, return to the Full Grade Center, and click Work Offline > Upload.

Comment-Related Columns

Column Name Description
Grading Notes Grade Center column-specific comments visible only to the Instructor or TA.
Notes Format Smart Text, Plain Text, or HTML.
Feedback to User Grade Center column-specific comments visible to students.
Feedback Format Smart Text, Plain Text, or HTML.

Feedback Format Options

Format Type Description
Smart Text Automatically recognizes a link, the ENTER key as a paragraph tag, and accepts HTML tags.
Plain Text Displays text as it is written in the text area. Plain text does not render HTML code. HTML code will appear as text.
HTML Displays text as coded by the user using Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) tags.