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The long-requested Grade Passback feature on myCourses went live last May, just before the end of the spring semester, and based on the feedback we’ve gotten back, it’s been received with high marks from faculty members who’ve made use of it.
By using this myCourses feature, rather than having to manually transfer grades from myCourses to Webcat, a labor that could take hours to complete when dealing with large enrollment classes, faculty members can now log all their final grades into Webcat with the ease of clicking a few buttons. Last May saw the use of Grade Passback from 206 UNH instructors, and of the 479 courses where Grade Passback was used, the largest had 540 students. In total, 14,321 grades were submitted to Webcat using the program.
For Karen Niland, a senior nursing lecturer at UNH, the Grade Passback function led to a major change in how she handled her end-of-semester grading responsibilities. Niland customarily only instructs a single two-section course each semester. However, this course of hers, titled “Making Babies,” has approximately 172-250 students in each of the sections—meaning that there is a possibility that she’ll have to input almost 500 final grades at the end of the semester.
Prior to last spring, Niland and a partner would need to dedicate three to five hours each semester to the task of manually entering 350-500 letter grades into Webcat. With the use of Grade Passback, however, that same operation now takes her about 20 minutes, which includes the time needed to entering the few administrative failure and incomplete grade marks within the two sections.
Not only has Grade Passback proven to be a major time-saver for those dealing with dozens, if not hundreds (like in Niland’s case), of final grades to input, it also significantly reduces the possibility of mistakes made during the transferring of grades—a quality that Niland highly commended.
According to the nursing lecturer, the manual dropdown list of grades in Webcat proved to be problematic due to its small size, and it’s probably the case that errors have been made this way by many members of the university faculty. When Grade Passback is used however, the chance of such mistakes happening is greatly decreased. Though be that as it may, we still highly encourage faculty to review final grades in Webcat prior to finalizing them, just for measures of certainty.
With updates made to the program since May, Grade Passback now includes further clarification on errors that may have kept the program from working properly in the past. In order for the final grades to properly sync onto Webcat, actions must be taken in all grade posts on myCourses: no dashes or blank boxes are permitted.
Prior to this fall, the myCourses platform included little instruction on dealing with errors regarding Grade Passback— we are confident that this simple fix will make a keen difference in the easy maneuvering of the program.