Blackboard erased final exam grades-help

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Yesterday I was attempting to figure out final grades for my 3 online courses, due today at noon. For one course, it only showed if the final was taken, not the grade. As recently as Saturday, it had showed the grade. I went into options for the exam, and a box was checked for hiding the grade and not including it in the final calculations. When I tried to uncheck it, it said it would delete all grades. Before going further, and because Bb had been having problems yesterday immediately prior to this (problems loading) I called the help line and explained things. She admitted they had been having problems all day, but it was fixed, and if I unchecked the box the grades would not delete. I did, and they disappeared. I told her this, and the problem had to go to a supervisor. She thought they would be able to retrieve the grades.

I have waited all day to hear from Bb, and called midday and was told they were still working on it. My Dean and the Registrar are aware of the problem. I decided not to send out a mass email announcement to the whole class because I did not want to induce panic at this point. The reality is, the final may be gone (Bb admits this is a possibility) and I don't know how I am going to calculate their grades. This is going to have to be figured out in consultation with my Dean. BTW, I'm an adjunct at this CC.

About 3 students noticed and emailed me asking about it;I replied there were problems but they were being fixed. A fourth student emailed tonight to ask if I or the computer changed her grade and why. Twenty minutes later, before I had a chance to reply, she went into Bb and emailed the entire class, including me, and wrote the following:

I'm just curious to find out what you guys thought about this course be honest and i will tell you what i thought and did anyone else have their date that they took the final exam changed and not graded.

I don't think the student realized I am also in the email. I rarely use or check the Bb email (which students are aware of), but this message for some reason went to my email account. When I did check the Bb email to see how she sent the message, already one student has sent me an email asking about her final.

So, should I now email the whole class and explain things, and if so, how should I word it to minimize panic? Second, if Bb has really lost the final, anyone have ideas for how to deal with that in terms of both figuring out the final grade and telling the students? Thanks for any help.

I am sorry you are going through this.  I have had only one similar situation (with Canvas) and it was panic-inducing for me.  My students didn't know it had happened, so all ended well, but ugh!  It's very stressful.

I would ask my chair (or dean, in your case) for advice about options for the worst outcome, in which the final exam can not be recovered.  I can think of only two, asking students to retake the final or calculating the course grade without the final.  You did not create the problem.  It's reasonable to expect that others will help contribute to solutions or tell you about any policies the school has for this situation.

In the meantime, I'd send a note to the entire class saying something like, "I will be able to give you information about the grade soon.  Thank you for your patience."  And I would send a note to the "What you guys thought about this course" student alerting her to the fact that the email messages are not private.

Maybe someone else has other ideas?  These are the only ones I can think of--sorry.  I hope that it is resolved by recovery of the exam scores.

I would also say something like "Due to problems with Blackboard, the grade is temporarily not visible. Blackboard technical support is working with me on this issue. I will email you once it is resolved."

I know that you don't want them to panic, but I think that if you don't tell them it's a technical problem, the natural anxiety of students at this time of year may turn into paranoia about you and their grades, and you don't want rumors starting. The wording I suggest is technically true but plays it down to dampen any panic ("not visible" instead of "gone forever"), while still making it clear that you did not cause the problem and you are working to fix it.

Thanks bookishone. I liked your wording and used that, and sent out an email. I then called Bb and got rather angry with them. Was put on hold for some time, then was told the grades were always there. You have to go to the grade center, click reports, and it shows up. I then got really angry and asked why no one told me this over the past few days, but got no answer. Anyway, in case someone else has this problem, there is the solution. I am over this whole thing and hope to never have it happen again (but at least now know my way out).

Thank you for sharing the solution.

And a reminder to all: back up your grade file frequently! I am heading off to do that right now.


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