General Education Rubrics in Blackboard - Frequently Asked Questions

The General Education Committee (GEC), with assistance from the Office of Accreditation, Assessment, and Evaluation, has developed a new general education assessment process. The primary goals of the process are to facilitate teaching and learning, simplify the required data collection and reporting processes, and provide faculty and departments with assessment data that can be used for multiple purposes. Assessment is a vital link in the loop of continuous improvement, and is required by the Higher Learning Commission.

General Information

Who should I contact if I have questions about the General Education assessment?

If your question pertains to the purpose or overall process of the general education assessment initiative, please contact Ed Klonoski at or 815-753-7037.

If your question is focused on how the rubrics are used in Blackboard, such as how to set up the rubric or how to assess students, then you can contact the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning by submitting your question using the Ask a Question form.

How did the rubrics end up in my Blackboard course?
Every general education course is mapped to two of the General Education Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). The SLOs were selected by the faculty who teach or oversee the course. This relationship is now recorded in MyNIU, for each course. When a general education course is requested in Blackboard, the request process checks for the SLOs and copies the correct rubrics into the Blackboard course.
Can I modify the SLO rubrics?

Except for extreme circumstances, the SLO rubrics should not be modified. In particular, do not change or reorder the column or row headers.

If you have questions or concerns about the contents of the rubric, please contact Ed Klonoski at or 815-753-7037.

Setting Up and Using the Rubrics

How do I set up the SLO rubrics in my Blackboard course?

You will need to set up a column in the Grade Center, and select the rubric for that column. To do so:

  1. From within your course in Blackboard, go to the Control Panel and click Grade Center
  2. Click Full Grade Center
  3. Click the Create Column button
  4. Provide a name for the column
  5. Enter the Points Possible
    Note: You may enter 0 if you do not want this column to be worth any points
  6. Click the Add Rubric menu and then click Select Rubric
  7. Click the checkbox in front of one of the SLO rubrics
  8. Click the Submit button
  9. Under Show Rubric to Students, you may select No to prevent students from seeing the rubric
  10. Scroll through the rest of the settings. You can set Show this column to students and Include in Grade Center Calculationsto No
  11. Click the Submit button

Repeat this process to create a column for the second rubric.

How do I assess students using the SLO rubrics?

To assess students using the SLO rubrics:

  1. Go the Control Panel and click Grade Center
  2. Point your mouse cursor to one of the student cells in the SLO column
  3. Click the round drop down arrow for that student
  4. Click View Grade Details
  5. Click the View Rubric button
  6. Record your assessment of the student's achievement by selecting one level of achievement for each row of the rubric
  7. Click the Save button to close the rubric
  8. Click the Save button on the Grade Details page to save the rubric
  9. Click the right-facing arrow next to the student's name to advance to the next student
Do I need to make the rubrics and the results visible to my students?

Showing students the rubrics and the results is entirely at your discretion. The GEC understands that seeing the rubrics in your course may be confusing or upsetting to students. Particularly when students are early in their academic career, their scores on the SLO rubric may be lower than they would like. This is normal, because the rubrics are meant to measure performance according to the standard of how a graduating student would perform, but it may still be stressful.

If you choose to keep the rubrics and the results hidden, you should hide the Grade Center columns for the SLO rubrics from your students, as well as selecting the option to not show students the rubric. The automated data collection will still occur, so the assessments you complete will still contribute to the overall general education process.

I already use interactive rubrics to grade Assignments in my Blackboard course. Can I use the SLO rubrics on an Assignment along with a custom rubric that I use for grading?
Yes! If you are already using interactive rubrics to assess your students, it is easy to add the SLO rubrics. Edit the Assignment and scroll down to the Rubrics area. Make sure that your custom rubric is set to be used for Primary Assessment. Next, use the "Add Rubric" menu to select the SLO rubric, and assign it to be used for Secondary Assessment. With that configuration, your custom rubric will be used to calculate the students' grades, and the SLO rubric will only be used for data collection. Once added, you can also decide whether you would like the SLO rubric to be visible to students.

Most Frequent Issues

My Blackboard course does not have any SLO rubrics, or has the wrong rubrics. How can this be fixed?

Submit a request through the Ask a Question form. Let us know which course you teach and the SLOs that your course addresses. A staff member from the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning will ensure you have the correct rubrics.

You may also want to contact Ed Klonoski at or 815-753-7037 to let him know that the rubrics were missing or incorrect. He may need to work with Registration and Records to update MyNIU with the correct SLOs.

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