Palomar System Outage, 1/4-1/7/2010

December 23, 2009

Palomar’s Blackboard system will be down for maintenance and system patches beginning Monday, January 4th at 6 AM.  As usual we will try to get the system back online as quickly as possible, but Palomar’s Blackboard system may be offline until Thursday, January 7th at 7 AM.


Grade Center Hide and Seek

December 18, 2009

Here’s one to liven up a tedious Finals Week Friday: Are your students seeing things in their My Grades list that you thought you got rid of from your Grade Center?

Short of students saying something to you, how would you be able to tell?  Well, here at Palomar we provide a student account to each instructor, and enroll that account as a student into all their courses.  So the easy way to tell what your students are seeing on that My Grades list is to log into the system with your student account and take a look; you may be surprised.

If things show up on the My Grades list that don’t show up in the Grade Center grid, your grade columns are playing a game of Hide-and-Seek.

Log into Blackboard with your instructor account, and go into the Grade Center.  Once the grade grid has finished loading, hit the Manage button at the centered on the grey control bar above the grid, and click on the Organize Grade Center choice.  Likely those mystery grade entries are on this list, but have “(Hidden)” next to their names, right?  Well, if they’re hidden, then why can the students see them?

The Blackboard Grade Center has two ways to make things not appear, depending on which view you’re looking from:  Hiding a column from the My Grades list will leave it showing in the Grade Center, and Hiding a column from the Grade Center will leave it showing on the My Grades list… unless you do both.

Before you proceed, it’s time for a reality check.  Do you really want to hide this column from yourself AND the students, or do you really want to remove the column from the course altogether?  Most of the time, I find that it’s best to really get rid of a column if no one needs to see it.  If you’re still sure you want to keep the column, but have it not show up for students, just follow these steps:

  1. On the Organize Grade Center screen, check the boxes next to the hidden columns, then scroll up to the top of the screen.
  2. In the upper left corner, open up the Show/Hide menu and click on the entry for Show Selected Columns.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click the Submit button in the lower right corner.
  4. Once the grade grid has loaded, find the first column you want to hide away from students, and click the double chevron button in the teal colored column header bar to open up the column menu; click on the entry for Modify Column.
  5. In section 3 of the Modify Column page, change the radio button for Show this column in My Grades to No, then click the Submit button in the lower right corner.
  6. After the grade grid has loaded, if you look at the column you just worked on you should notice a little icon in the column header indicating that the column is not visible to students.
  7. If you also want the column hidden away from your Grade Center view, you can again open up the column header menu, but this time click on the Hide Column entry.
  8. After the grade grid has loaded, you should not see that column in the Grade Center any longer.

Rinse and repeat for any other columns you need to hide away…

Palomar System Outage, 12/27-12/30

December 16, 2009

It’s always great to start on a high note, isn’t it?

Palomar’s Blackboard system will be offline from about 5 PM on Sunday, December 27th until about 10 AM on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009.

Fortunately, after this power outage, all the electrical work by SDG&E should be done in the data center on Palomar’s San Marcos campus.  In theory this means that we should not have further outages due to local electrical system problems, and our data center should also be able to survive short-term local black-outs without losing web services such as Blackboard.