| 03.24.2018

Backbone for Blackboard – Online grade posting should be a requirement


Aleya Ericson Argonaut

Aleya Ericson

College is a struggle that is analogous to the ever-popular catchphrase from the “The Hunger Games.” May the odds be ever in your favor for getting the classes you signed up for, securing a job that pays massive student loan debt and actually receiving credit for your work.

The last one may sound odd, but it is unfortunately a problem in a university environment. With large class sizes, professors are forced to keep track of assignments for an enormous amount of students — some classes may have assignments turned in on a weekly basis — so the papers pile up.

With the tidal wave of papers, grades may be incorrectly entered, assignments lost or typos made by professors that have so much work, the mistake may not be caught. These little mistakes can cost students points and more critically, affect a student’s academic performance.

In order to assist students and professors track academic performances and catch mistakes, the University of Idaho should make online grade posting mandatory.

Online grade posting allows students to track their grades with ease. The current program that seems to be used by the majority of UI professors for online grade posting is Blackboard Learn. BB Learn and other methods of online grade posting allow students to track their academic progress with a couple clicks of a mouse.

In contrast, teachers without online grade posting rely on students to take the initiative and constantly visit office hours for grade updates. This approach alienates shy students and is a hassle for classes with daily assignments that are updated constantly.

Additionally, from a student perspective, teachers should be much faster at grading than they actually are. If a student can write a six-page paper the night before it is due, they expect teachers to be able to grade that paper in one day’s time — however irrational that may be. So if a student must rely on randomly dropping into office hours to check on grades, they do not have a way to know when their paper will be finished.

Students are used to having technology constantly at their fingertips. Online grade posting allows students to see exactly what goes into the gradebook when it goes into the gradebook. This allows students to compare what grade they think they got to what is in the gradebook, and communicate with their professors when there are errors.

BB Learn is provided for professors to use by the university. Professors that are uncertain of how to use the technology or are encountering technological difficulties can visit an online UI BB Learn instruction web page complete with instructional videos. Furthermore, UI is presumably paying for the use and upkeep of BB Learn. It’s silly the university does not require full use of a tool that it is spending money to use.

The most important part of online grade posting is the student benefits. By easing the process of checking grades, the hectic process of college becomes easier on students. And after all, students are the most important part of any university.

Aleya Ericson can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu


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