The story goes that one time, many moons ago, this poor subject coordinator accidentally missed a row while copying and pasting results. They submitted them, and ended up with 50 appeals and corrections for the following students who accidentally received the grades from the student above.


Whether this story is true or apocryphal, custom spreadsheets carry an increased risk for human error. We now have loads of processes in place to try and prevent this (and even more in place if something needs correcting), but at the end of the day, maintaining separate spreadsheets can be a lot of faff. There are many extra hands involved in setting up and distributing spreadsheets, transferring marks over line by line from wherever they’ve been collected (because the instructions clearly ask us not to copy and paste anymore, right?), compiling them, and then entering them in to CASS. In most cases*, this is an extra, fairly inefficient and superfluous way of managing student marks.


Grades! Now on computers

Fortunately, there’s a solution. What if grades spreadsheets, but online? ?


With Grade Centre in UTSOnline (Blackboard), and Marks in Canvas, lecturers and tutors have a place to record marks directly as they grade them. These are already in a machine-friendly format. Why not cut out the middle, purely administrative step, and transfer them directly from UTSOnline/Canvas into CASS?


Why not indeed. That’s exactly what will happen in the new Grade Submission Process. This process will completely replace the SLS spreadsheets, and be the official (and only) way of managing end-of-session student grade submissions. It’s currently being rolled out to four faculties this Spring Session (FEIT, Health, GSH, Law); will take on another two over Summer (Business, Science); and the final three in Autumn 2019 (FASS, DAB, FTdI). This will be the standard process moving forward.


What to expect

To manage grades in the new process, subject coordinators (or an instructor in their subject) create a column for each assessment task. They’ll then configure a total column based on the percentage weight of each assessment task. At the end of the session, they’ll make any adjustments they need (including using ‘override grades’ for students that are still out on prac, or are yet to sit a supplementary exam etc.), and then ‘Approve and Transfer’ directly from UTSOnline/Canvas. No extra spreadsheets, no fuss.


Oh, and you only have to do the setup the first time – your configuration gets rolled over from session to session.


It may sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty straightforward, and those that have been through it have told us they think it’s a vast improvement. The LX.lab is providing a lot of training and resources as we roll it out, so there a number of ways you can get support.


What do I need to do?

Spring 2018

If you’re in FEIT, Health, GSH or Law, you’ll have likely been bombarded with offers of help and support setting up your Grade Centre for the new process this session. There are still a few subjects yet to set up, and with the weeks counting down, there’s not much time left.


We have another workshop that will take you through the steps of setting up your Grade Centre this Thursday at 2pm (register here). If that time doesn’t suit you, you can speak with a Learning Technologist in the LX.lab (book here, or drop in 11-1), or DIY with the full how-to setup guides. These options will walk also you through submitting your final grades in a few weeks.


All other faculties, use your SLS Spreadsheet as normal for this session.


Summer 2018

We’re currently preparing for the summer rollout for Business and Science. We have extensive written guides, will be hosting training workshops and drop-in sessions. Keep an eye on your inbox for instructions.


FEIT, Health, GSH and Law will continue to use the new process.


Autumn 2019

FASS, DAB, and FTdI will mark the full transition to the new Grade Submission Process, and usher in a new blissful era of process simplification. Huzzah!


What about Review?

Exciting news! Review is finally being integrated into the Grade Centre. Mark in Review, and you’ll be able to directly (and easily) transfer them into your Grade Centre, ready for the new process. It’s with the developers now, and will be ready for the rollout in Autumn 2019 (FASS and DAB are the biggest users of Review.)


Even if you’re not as excited about systems and processes as I am, this is a development whose time has definitely come. At the end of the day this should make things easier for the overwhelming majority of Subject Coordinators*, AND reduce risk, so that’s pretty neat.




*There are always be a handful of subjects that have complicated assessment arrangements, and will continue to rely on Spreadsheet wizardry to sort it all out. There are ways to continue doing this by uploading more complex grades via a CSV. The LX.lab technomancers will be happy to show you how!

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