Grading Policy

bob uses an Excel spreadsheet to calculate grades and posts them on BlackBoard periodically  (check Blackboard grades here). Because the upload process from my Excel spreadsheet to BlackBoard is very tedious (see below), it will not always be up to date. It is your responsibility to make sure the grade entries agree with the grades on your paper quizzes and tests and Maple HW.

Here is a copy of the Excel spreadsheet with the lettergrade cutoffs:

The weekly quizzes are on material for which we have already discussed the homework in class on a previous day and are graded in half points out of a total of 10 points each. There should be no surprises on quizzes, which are designed to assess a basic understanding of the key ideas following typical homework problems. These are automatically recorded in BlackBoard.

MyLab Math e-text portal in Differential Equations with Linear Algebra

The MAT2705 homework for the most part will be managed through the Pearson e-text online portal home work system and count for 25% of your grade. Not all interesting problems appear online, so some problems will not be graded but should be done for the insight they can give you. Grading is not why we learn math---achieving some understanding of the course material is the goal.

WebAssign in Calculus

The MAT1500-1505-2500 homework will be done through WebAssign to provide some additional incentive to actually do the homework, since doing the homework is the only way for most students to engage the ideas and understand how they work in practice. The WebAssign homework has a 25% weight---hopefully most of you will probably appreciate the immediate feedback and opportunity to retry a similar problem with slightly different numbers. Problems will be chosen from the textbook end of section exercises, although some of the problems will have randomly changed parameter values in the WebAssign version of a given textbook exercise. Note that the 25% weight in no way reflects the importance of doing homework in this course. Doing the homework regularly is essential to good performance.

BlackBoard gradebook: why you need to check your grades

This updating process is tedious. First one by one inside BlackBoard for each class, the 9 quiz grade columns, 1 homework column (if appropriate), 4 test columns (3 + final exam),  a numerical cum and letter grade cum column must be set up with parameters. Then a primitive Excel file is downloaded to my computer with the classlist for each class. To update grades, each column in my master Excel spreadsheet (like the example one linked above) must be copied and pasted to the downloaded primitive file for each section, and from the separate exported WebAssign spreadsheet that must be exported from WebAssign to update, if appropriate, then uploaded through too many mouse clicks to BlackBoard, etc., plus scrolling since the needed buttons are offscreen initially. Really this is all a bit absurd. So I (= bob) am not very good at frequently updating grades.

To make matters worse the primitive spreadsheet file cannot be saved on exit because it then seems to request a new filename. So it must be saved before exiting, and NOT saved on exit, which occasionally leads to an unsaved updated file from having forgotten to save after copying one of the many columns needed to update those transfer files.

Thus it is important for students to check their BlackBoard grades against those on their test/quiz/maple grade emails.

If you made it this far, here is the boring history of bob's excel grading.