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Blackboard Ultra Experience

Available now at UTEP




Get started with Blackboard Ultra!

Last updated April 17, 2024

The Ultra Experience offers a user-friendly course design that is seamless and modern. The new course view is available to instructors upon request. This page offers guidance for your decision to switch based on new features and consistently used elements of a course, as well as steps for getting started.

To view monthly features in more detail , please see What's new in Learn Ultra. For questions about any tool or feature you discover, email .




  Self-paced Training



Video Tutorial Library
Available 24 / 7

Browse our Blackboard tutorial library to get started or learn about a specific feature.





Self-paced Ultra Course
Available 24 / 7

Improve your understanding of Blackboard through a course developed to be taken at your own pace.




Instructional Design Strategies
Available 24 / 7

Learn the foundations of course building in Ultra and the best practices for online instruction.







Progress Tracking

Student Progress Tracking
Students can track their progress in a course with visible icons. They indicate when they have begun or completed an item, helping them keep better track of where they are in a course.

Student Progress Report
With Progress Tracking , instructors can see which students have not yet opened content, have started viewing content, and which students have marked the content as complete.




Discussion Boards

Group Discussions are managed on the activity, not in individual groups
There is no longer a need to create a separate group discussion for each group. The discussion is created first and then groups are added to it; students can see their group members on the discussion itself. Group discussions also no longer create multiple grade center columns and can be easily managed within a single grading interface.

Discussion Assessment and Student Response Analytics
Discussion Boards now provide Student Response Analytics . For the entire class/groups, analytics examine overall student participation, most commented posts, and the average grade of students. Individual student response analytics will also gauge student’s sentence complexity, lexical variation, critical thinking level, and word variation. SafeAssign for Discussions are also in Blackboard’s plans for Ultra.





Search and Filter in the Gradebook
In the Ultra experience, locating an individual student or item is now made easy with the Gradebook filter function. Simply select the student(s) and/or item(s) in the filter to narrow the results displayed in the gradebook.

Multiple Grade Views
In the Ultra experience Gradebook there are 3 separate views that help to manage and organize student assessment records: Gradable Items, which displays a list of all gradable activities included in the course; Students, which provides a page for each individual student, to allow you to privately discuss grades; Grid View, which provides an interactive spreadsheet that displays all students and all gradable items in a spreadsheet format.

Complex Calculations
In the Original experience, you can create 4 types of calculated columns: Average, Minimum/Maximum, Total, and Weighted columns. With Ultra experience, you can create more complex Calculated Items by creating your own formulas including common arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division – even using group operators (parentheses).

Save Grades to Post all at Once
In the Original experience, you had the option to save drafts of student feedback, but you needed to go into each saved draft manually to submit the grade and post it to their My Grades page. In Ultra, you can finish all the grading for an assignment and then Post All Grades at one time.

Automatic Zeros for Past Due Date Items
In Ultra Course View it is possible to enable the Gradebook to include automatic zeros for students who do not complete an assessment or activity by the due date.



Student Accommodations

Set Accommodations for a student once
You can set Accommodations for students one time and the setting will be applied to all assessments and activities.




Announcements appear as a pop-up inside the course
Whenever students log in to a UCV course, announcements will pop up in a window that keeps them from being able to access course materials without first dismissing the window.




Class Communication

Class Conversations
Enable Class Conversations to allow students to ask questions about content and discuss course materials directly on course materials and activities; promoting a community of support and helping identify student understanding of materials. Conversations on a group assignment allow students to collaborate directly on an assignment before turning it in.



Course Materials

Embedded videos and HTML blocks in Documents
In the Ultra experience, you can create documents for students to read important instructions and information, download materials, or even to embed videos right into the page. This makes for an engaging “written” lecture.

Batch (Bulk) Edit Content
Easily manage the availability of multiple items in your course in batch . Show/hide all selected items or adjust all dates to make it easier when recycling content from copied courses.

Embed OneDrive Documents
You can embed OneDrive files such as word documents to be viewed directly from within your Ultra course. You can make the file view-only or downloadable as necessary.




Group Work

Group management is integrated in the course
Instead of needing to manage groups using a separate tool in Blackboard, groups are managed and members appear directly on the Group Activity they need to complete: Discussion Boards , Assignments, and even Tests .



Course Structure

  What is the limit for the hierarchy of Learning Modules and Folders in Ultra?
The hierarchy is limited to only 2 levels. You can have an initial level and one inside it, but no further sub-levels are allowed.

  How does the 2-level limitation affect course content organization?
This requires a more concise organization of course materials, ensuring materials and assignments are structured within the permitted two levels. For example, a weekly folder can only have 1 level of new folders inside of it (weekly materials, assignments, etc.) and those folders cannot have a folder inside of them.



  Can Journals be made available to all course members to view/comment on, in Ultra?
No, In Ultra journals remain private between the user and the instructor.

  How can I create a collective “Journal” activity?
You’ll need to utilize Discussion Boards for collective “Journal” activities, as they allow visibility and interaction among all course members.


Discussion Boards

  Is it possible to subscribe to a specific discussion forum in Ultra?
No, this option is currently not available in Ultra, but you can customize notifications in the Activity Stream for new discussion posts and opt to receive immediate email notifications.

  Will discussion board subscription be available in future Ultra updates?
Yes, Blackboard has plans to allow discussion board subscription in Ultra in the future.



  Are Blogs available in Ultra?
Blogs are currently not available in Ultra, but there are plans to implement this feature in the future.



  Can I use Wikis in Ultra?
Wikis are not available in Ultra, and there are no plans for future implementation. Consider using Microsoft OneDrive for collaborative documents as an alternative.


Course Reports

  Are Course Reports available in Ultra?
Detailed Course Reports, as available in the Original experience, are not readily available yet in Ultra. For such detailed reports, you can email your request to .


Retention Center

  Is the Retention Center available in Ultra?
The Retention Center is discontinued in Ultra. However, aspects of the Retention Center have been streamlined in the Ultra course workflow.  For example, performance alerts and notifications can be set up through the Ultra Gradebook settings Notes can be added in the Student Overview and various reports like Course Activity Report and Student Progress reports are available.

   Will Blackboard add more analytics and reporting features to Ultra?
Yes, Blackboard plans to introduce additional analytics and reporting features in Ultra in the future.


Observer Role

  Is the Observer Role available in Ultra? 
The Observer Role is currently not available in Ultra, but there are plans to implement it in the near future.


Tests, Pools, and Question Banks

  Which Question Types are supported in Ultra for Assessments? 
Ultra supports the following Question Types :

  • Calculated Formula
  • Calculated Numeric
  • Essay
  • Extra Credit
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Fill in Multiple Blanks
  • Matching
  • Multiple Choice/Multiple Answer
  • True/False
  • Hotspot

  What happens to unsupported question types during import/copy of Tests?
During the import/copy process, only supported question types will be included; all others will be removed.



Two Options to Switch!

Review the options below and decide which approach you will take to adopt the Ultra Experience.


Option 1:
Build from Scratch in Ultra

The best way to get started in Ultra is to build your course from scratch, giving you full control over what goes into the course and how it is set up. Once you receive your course shell, begin by enabling the Ultra Course Preview and commit your course to Ultra. This should be done before adding any content to your shell.

The video below demonstrates the Ultra Course Preview process:
Video: Ultra Course Preview Example

Use the resources below for additional guidance:
Blackboard for UTEP Faculty

Best Practice: Request and build a Master Course Shell that you will use each semester to make updates and to copy into the current semester. This will help prevent your course from becoming "buggy" as a result of recycling it too many times.


Option 2:

  We highly recommend completing this prior to the start of the semester.To avoid issues, it is important that you avoid converting your course once student activity has started! 

Convert your Original course to Ultra

Begin by copying your course material into the upcoming semester’s Original course shell and enable the Ultra Course Preview to view how your course content will look in the Ultra Experience. In the preview mode, you will find a report of what items do not transfer properly. If you decide that you do not want to proceed with the conversion based on this report, you can choose to build from scratch or stay with the Original experience.

The video below demonstrates the Ultra Course Preview process:
Video: Ultra Course Preview Example

 It is important to note that some elements of your Original course may not transfer over correctly during the conversion process. Reference the sections below as they will give you an idea of some obstacles you may encounter.



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