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‘Ultra’ Strength: ITS Online Learning Services Helps Ease Transition to New Blackboard Version
Beginning with the Fall 2024 term, all University Blackboard courses will be offered in Ultra Course View, an entirely redesigned approach to Blackboard courses both for instructors and for students.
Ultra Course View includes a clean, modern look and a single-page course structure that uses learning modules and folders to organize course content. In preparation, the ITS Online Learning Services team will help instructors who use Blackboard to transition to Ultra Course View over the next 18 months.
Instructors from all schools and colleges are invited to participate in a Blackboard Ultra Course Building Sprint hosted by the ITS Online Learning Services team on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 10 a.m. to noon. During this virtual session, participants will create new course materials in Ultra and import existing materials from original courses into an Ultra course.
Before registering, interested instructors should enroll in the asynchronous Ultra View Orientation Course for access to an Ultra course sandbox and an introduction to Ultra courses.
“We recognize and appreciate the time and energy involved for each instructor and will continue to provide updates, training and tips,” says Michael Morrison, associate director for Academic Service Centers. “We are excited to assist instructors as they take advantage of a modernized Blackboard and create first-class Ultra courses.”
The transition has already begun for some instructors. Ten courses were taught using Ultra Course View in the Fall 2022 semester, and more than 30 courses will feature Ultra Course View during the Spring 2023 term. In addition, more than 50 instructors have already participated in information sessions or course building sprints.
Feedback for both the tool and the support has been positive. One sprint attendee appreciated “both the group question/answer sessions and the personal help that I received. Having the sandbox available during the session is very helpful, also.” An instructor who used Ultra last semester shared that it was “more intuitive to use,” with students realizing that “it was easier than the old one. Those who used phones and iPad had a much easier time than in the past.”
Instructors can learn more about Blackboard Ultra Course View on Answers, including features, access and a timeline. OLS staff have worked to test and configure Ultra courses, create support documentation and design training materials to provide for a smooth experience for instructors.