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Work Offline With Grade Data

This information applies only to the Original Course View. Your institution controls which tools are available.

To eliminate potential double entry of Grade Center data, you can perform offline grading and import grades into the Grade Center. You can also upload grades from external sources such as an Excel spreadsheet or a comma-separated values (CSV) file. You must format data specifically to upload correctly and to synchronize with existing Grade Center data.

Watch a video about working offline with Grade Center data

This video explains how to set download options, download the Grade Center file, upload the new file, and select which grades to change.

Video: Working offline with the Grade Center

Format external files

To synchronize external data to Grade Center data, unique identifiers are necessary for each student and for each column in the Grade Center. The unique identifier used for each student is the student's username. The unique identifier for each column is a column ID number. Column ID numbers are generated by the system and shouldn't be changed or deleted. Columns that don't have column ID numbers in an uploaded file will create new columns in the Grade Center.

Columns that you add to the Grade Center from an external file are added as text columns with points possible equaling zero (0). Text columns can't be included in calculated columns, such as weighted, total, average, and minimum/maximum. After the upload, convert text columns to other columns types and add points possible.

Each data file you upload to the Grade Center requires a header row with one record per line subsequently.

The format of the data file uploaded to the Grade Center is determined by the type of delimiter you use to parse the data into separate columns. Data files are tab-delimited with a file extension of XLS or comma-delimited with a file extension of CSV.

Data in each column of comma-delimited files must be contained within a quote character—the most common is quotation marks ( " " ). Data in each column of tab-delimited files doesn't require a quote character.

Tips for working with external data

When you upload data to the Grade Center, we recommend that you use tab-delimited files. When you use tab-delimited files, you don't have to use quote characters and you can open the files directly in Microsoft® Excel®.

To obtain a file that is formatted correctly for uploading, download the full Grade Center first and open it in a text editor or spreadsheet application. Existing columns have column ID numbers that must be included in future uploads.

Batch file standard

Batch files are TXT files that hold large quantities of information to upload to the system. Each batch utility contains specific instructions on creating the batch file. These batch file standards are universal:

  • Each file must be one of the supported file types: TXT or CSV.

    Microsoft Excel versions 2003 and later automatically insert double quotes in every field if the worksheet is saved as a CSV file.

  • Each file must be in DOS format. Files in MAC or UNIX format must be converted to DOS.
  • Each field must be enclosed in double quotation marks, for example: "ENG_201"
  • If quotation marks appear in a field, use an escape character to indicate that the next character doesn't mark the end of the field. The escape character is a backslash (\), for example: "\"ENG_201\""
  • Each field must be separated with one of these delimiters: comma, colon, or tab. When you choose Auto, only one type of delimiter may be used in each batch file, for example: "ENG_201"or "English Literature" or " "ENG_201":"English Literature"
  • Each record must be on a separate line.
  • Don't include blank lines between records. The blank line will be processed and return an error.
  • We recommend that each batch file not exceed 500 records because of timeout restrictions associated with most browsers.

Upload a file to the Grade Center

Any file you upload that contains an "Incomplete" for a grade entry will be set to null, with no grade or text displayed. Any file you upload that contains "Complete" for a grade entry will be set to an override grade of the maximum points possible (100% for a grade item) in a column that has the primary display of Complete/incomplete. Any file you upload that contains a numeric entry will be a numeric entry.

  1. Access the Work Offline menu and select Upload.
  2. Browse for the file on your computer or from the Content Collection if you have access to it.
  3. Select the delimiter type: Comma, Tab, or Auto. If you choose Auto, the system attempts to automatically detect the delimiter used in the selected file.
  4. Select Submit to upload the file.
  5. On the Upload Grades Confirmation page, review the list of data from the file you want to upload. Clear the check boxes for any data to be excluded from the upload. With this method, you can upload only the columns of data you want from the file.

    Review the Data Preview column to check that the correct data is being uploaded. Data that appears incorrectly can denote an improperly formatted file. The data preview only shows a sample of the data in each column in the file.

  6. Large files take significant time to process and a warning message appears for files that need extra time to process. To avoid long processing times, break up large files into separate uploads.
  7. Select Submit to confirm and upload the file.

Download grades from the Grade Center

You can download full or partial data from the Grade Center.

  1. Access the Work Offline menu and select Download.
  2. Select the data to download as described in this table.
    Data to download
    Option Description
    Full Grade Center Contains all columns and associated data. Comments won't be included, and you can't add them offline.
    Selected Grading Period From the menu, select a grading period. You must create grading periods before you can choose any.
    Selected Column From the menu, select one column and its data. Select the check box to Include comments for this Column. Comments will download from the Quick Comment feature or Manual Override tab. You can edit included comment text offline.
    User information Columns containing student data such as username are included.
  3. Select the file delimiter, Comma or Tab.
  4. Select whether or not to Include Hidden Information in the downloaded data. Hidden information includes columns and students you hid from the view in the downloaded file.
  5. Select the location for the download. Browse to select a folder in the Content Collection if you have access to it.
  6. Select Submit.
  7. On the next Download Grades page, select Download and save the file. Don't change the file name while saving because the Grade Center needs the information it contains to deliver it to the appropriate column when uploading.

Download grade history data

  1. Access the Reports menu and select View Grade History.
  2. On the Grade History page, select Download and select the Delimiter Type for the file.
  3. Select Yes to Include Comments or No to exclude them from the download.
  4. Select Submit.
  5. Select Download to save the file to your computer.

Working offline

After you download the file and open it in the appropriate editing software, you can make changes. If you download the full Grade Center, you can change and add grades, and save the file for uploading. If you downloaded a single column, you can add or change grades and comments, and save the file for uploading.

Edit comments

Comments are downloaded only when you select a single Grade Center item and the option to include its associated comments. The comments downloaded and uploaded are for the grade—accessed in the Quick Comment feature or Manually Override tab. The comments aren't for the attempt—accessed on the View Attempt or grading pages.

Four comment-related columns are included in the downloaded file. If you added comments online, those will be included in the download. Otherwise, you may add comments offline and upload them to the full Grade Center to appear in the Quick Comments feature or the Manually Override tab.

Add or edit comments in the Grading Notes and Feedback to User columns.

Links within comments to rich media, such as images or sound files, should be inserted and edited online.

When your edits to grades and comments are complete, save the file, return to the full Grade Center, and upload.

Comment-related columns

Comment-related columns
Column Name Description
Grading Notes Grade Center column-specific comments visible only to an instructor or TA
Notes Format Smart text, plain text, or HTML
Feedback to User Grade Center column-specific comments visible to students
Feedback Format Smart text, plain text, or HTML

Feedback format options

Feedback format options
Format Type Description
Smart text Automatically recognizes a link, the Enter key as a paragraph tag, and accepts HTML tags.
Plain text Displays text as it is written in the text area. Plain text doesn't render HTML code. HTML code will appear as text.
HTML Displays text as coded by the user with HTML tags.