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To create a new Grade Center score column that contains text, words, rather than numbers, go to the Grade Center in your course. In this case I'm going to go into my Educational Technology course, scroll down to the Grade Center, click on the two greater than signs to the right. Remember that if you are running Blackboard 9.0 you go to Evaluation Grade Center. And you're going to create a new column. Make sure that the Primary Display is set to Text, the points are zero, and you exclude this from counting. So let me explain that a little slower.
Besides first names and last names, you may want to create a Grade Center column that contains non-grade information, something like the students' preferred name or the section of the students enrollment or maybe their year in school. If you're teaching a class with undergraduate and graduate students you probably want to have a column that tells you which ones are the undergraduates, which ones are the graduate. These are the things that you're going to have to enter. This is going to be manually entered by you. It doesn't count towards a student's grades, but it also doesn't come from the institution.
So let's actually do this. Let's create a Grade Center column that's just plain text. We're not going to count anything. It's a box in which I can type whatever I want, and in this case I'm going to go in and type Preferred Name, so this doesn't actually count for any points. I am not going to have a display name, scroll down, and I'm going to choose the Primary Display here, not as Score and not as Letter. Remember a letter is A, B, C, D, F. That's letter grade. In this case I want it to count as Text only.
I am not going to have a secondary display because this is just text, and the key point, make Points Possible 0. This doesn't count. There are no grades here. We're just going to be entering a text column. I am going to scroll down. And do I want to count this? No, this is not a grade. Do I want my students to be able to see this? No, this is just for me, and obviously there's not going to be any statistics here. I am going to click on Submit. Now what you'll see is if I scroll down a little bit and I now scroll, it added that column and it actually added it to the far right-hand side. You can see that this actually doesn't count and isn't visible.
I hold my mouse over it and it says Column Not Visible to Users. That's what that circle with the red line in it is. And notice in the Grade Information Bar it says Preferred Name, Grade Type here. It says Grade, but that's not a problem, and Points Possible is zero. I can go in here and now start typing. So Jayden actually prefers to be called Jay, so I just type Jay. So I now have the ability in this column to type anything I want. It's going to be short text box, but I can type anything. Now you're going to notice that this text column is on the far right-hand side of the screen. How do I move that column? Well that's a topic for our next movie.
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