In the past I have downloaded my Blackboard gradebook and used a spreadsheet program to average grades. However, I can no longer do this since it seems that Blackboard now converts all the grades to text format. I have tried various of the work-arounds to this problem posted on the internet but can't find one that works for me. So I have been transported back to the dark ages where teachers had to average grades by hand, and that sucks.
Is there any way to get gradebook grades downloaded as numbers instead of text?
I'm a little confused--what version of Blackboard did you use before, and what version are you using now? Also, what spreadsheet program are you using?
Blackboard Learning System/Learn exports the gradebook as at tab-delimited or comma-delimited text file (with an ".xls" extension), and has for as long as I can remember. That doesn't mean that it's "converting" numbers to text--there is no difference between a "numeric" 0 or 1 or 2 and a "text" one, and speadsheet programs generally have no problem recognizing 0, 1, or 2 as numbers that can be used for calculations.
We are currently using Blackboard 8. We've been using Blackboard since the 90s, so I guess we have used all previous versions. Next week we're moving to Blackboard 9.
In fact, there is a difference between numerals formatted as text and numerals formatted as numbers. For example if cells A1 and A1 contain text-formatted numerals 3 and 4 respectively, and if one types '=SUM(A1:A2)' into cell A3 the result will be 0. If cells A1 and A2 contain numbers rather than text-formatted numerals, then the result will be 7.
This is a well-know phenomenon and there are various work-arounds posted on the internet. Blackboard is not the only software guilty of mis-formatting numerical data as text, so this is a general problem. Later versions of Excel are able to handle numbers correctly even when they are mis-formatted as text , so I guess Blackboard has no motivation for formatting numbers properly. I use LibreOffice, OpenOffice and gnumeric. It is only recently that I was unable to use non-Excel spreadsheet software to average my grades in a downloaded Blackboard gradebook--which I have been doing ever since Blackboard started having a Gradebook--so I assume that at one time, Blackboard formatted numbers properly. At the suggestion of one of our IT staff I tried Google Docs and that solved the problem. It is able to interpret the text numerals as if they were numbers.
I will suggest to to LibreOffice developers that they add the capability, as Excel and Google Docs evidently have, of interpreting text-formatted numerals as if they were numbers.
Thanks for setting me straight--I was not aware of the differences! That said, while I don't have acces LibreOffice, it looks like OpenOffice 3 does correctly import numbers if you check the "Detect special numbers" checkbox when importing the comma- and tab-delimited gradebook files.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. That works in LibreOffice also.
On the import page, "quoted field as text" is evidently now the default option in LibreOffice and OpenOffice, and the "detect special numbers" is unchecked by default. I had not noticed that. I suspect that in the past, these were not the default options and that is why I never had any problem before. I thought that Blackboard was doing something different, but apparently it is OpenOffice and LibreOffice which switched things up. My apologies to Blackboard.
Hopefully any other Libre/OpenOffice users having problems with this will find this thread useful.
Thank you again!
I'm glad things are working for you now!
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