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Custom Grading in D2L

Josh Lund (of FITS) recently shared a way of custom grading in Desire2Learn. In Josh’s words:

I was facing a strange gradebook question this afternoon, and came up with something you all might like, if you ever are in the same situation.

The setup:
I've got an instructor who is giving two versions of each exam online, and wanted the online version of randomly passing out a different exam to different students. To facilitate this, we have the site set up to:

  1. Assign students randomly to two groups (A and B), each of which has its own exam, and there is a different set of randomizing groups for each set of three exams.
  2. I've used release conditions on the grade items, the quizzes and the link from content so that the students will only see the stuff they are supposed to see as a group member.
  3. In order to make the weighting work in the gradebook, I have made a category for each exam that has the two A and B versions, set to drop the lowest grade.

I needed to test this because I wanted to make sure that a student taking the exam wouldn't see their exam grade as just half of the weight for that category (each of these exams is worth 25% of the grade).

I found that it does work, with one caveat: you have to set the gradebook to "
treat ungraded items as 0" rather than drop ungraded items. If you set it to drop ungraded, the student taking the exam will see all their grades for the exam as dropped because you have not put in a points value for the other exam yet (and they can't see and take the exam that wasn't dropped).

Updates to Desire2Learn


Josh Lund of FITS has been playing about with some of the new features of Desire2Learn (after the recent upgrade).

The structure of QuickLinks has changed, and some older filepaths may not work. If links in a course you have copied across from a previous quarter are not working, it may be worth re-linking.

Importing grades from a spreadsheet has improved. Here is the process that Josh recommends:

First, export your grades to a CSV. When you are about to export, select the key field Username and uncheck everything else. When you open the CSV it creates, you’ll have one column with all the usernames in your course and the End-of-line indicator column. Hold on to that for a minute.

Josh downloads the sample import file to get the formatting right, but if you’ve already got a spreadsheet you can use that. Copy and paste the Username column from the export file into the leftmost column of the spreadsheet, and copy the end-of-line indicator into the rightmost column. Previously it had sometimes accepted columns for OrgDefinedID or First Name and Last Name, but Username works reliably.

Each column after the first one has to have only numbers or text in the cells. (You can use Copy/Paste Special if you need to remove formulas from cells but keep the values.) You can call the columns anything you like, but they have to end with the word Grade (capitalized too) if it’s Numeric, Symbol if it’s a Text item, or for Adjusted final grade and calculated grade, have two columns, one for (Adjusted, Calculated) Final Grade Numerator and one for (Adjusted, Calculated) Final Grade Denominator. That last word is what tells the system it’s a grade item and what kind. You don’t need the stuff anymore; in fact, if you have that code in there it will tell you the file can’t be imported. Also, delete any extraneous columns. This includes empty columns. Paste in the necessary data.

Be sure when you import that you check the ‘Create new grade item when an unrecognized item is referenced.’ Also, if you have any grade items in your spreadsheet with scores that are already in the D2L gradebook, you can import those too; it’ll ask you which data you want to keep, but I haven’t found the results to be reliable. Probably best to just remove those too, and only import new stuff to the gradebook.


Grading in Desire2Learn

A couple of D2L grading questions are coming through this week. These videos and handouts should be of help:

Calculating Final Grades

Adjusting Grades

More information (and handouts) can be found here.

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