Blackboard Ultra Help & Support

This section is just for those on the Bb Ultra pilot.

Learn Ultra is Blackboard’s most modern, intuitive, and personalised Blackboard Learn user experience. Learn Ultra is characterized by simplified workflows and an accessible, fully responsive design—making it easier than ever to teach and learn from any device.

Learn Ultra is comprised of Base Navigation, the Original Course View and the Ultra Course View.

  • Base NavigationModern, intuitive navigation that provides quick access to the most critical information from across all courses.
  • Ultra Course View: New course view that offers a streamlined, more intuitive interface and workflows for maximum efficiency. The Ultra Course View is also fully responsive for optimal use on any device, and new functionality and enhancements are added regularly.
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Resources & Guides

Selected Ultra Course View guides from Blackboard

Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to present learning resources on Blackboard Ultra?

Ultra Document pages enable you to share a combination of different pieces of content in one place. Documents can be used to share files/documents within the page, and provide a space for text, images and embedded tools to be linked together to create learning activities for the students.
Since all of your resources are collected in one area, this makes navigation for the students much easier and also looks less cluttered within Blackboard compared to having an item for each piece of content. This is the best way to share your PowerPoints, files, videos, and links with appropriate contextualisation and instruction to transform these items into powerful learning activities.
To see examples of how Documents can be built, structured and formatted, see the guidance information built into Ultra templates in the area: ‘Blackboard Ultra guidance and support for Staff’.

How can I create a better user experience when integrating Talis Elevate?

To create a fluid, user-friendly and supportive experience for using Talis Elevate within Ultra, you can make use of Ultra Documents and the ‘Add digital tools’ function, to create an embedded and contextualised learning resource.

Set up a new Ultra Document in the relevant area of your module and structure the task using clear, coherent instructional language.  You could try using headed sections including ‘Introduction’ to add context, ‘Task’ to give specific instructions including expectations and timings, ‘Output’ to describe how the activity will link to the rest of the module and the assessments, and ‘Support’ to provide relevant technical or study guides.

Next, use the ‘Add digital tools’ function within your document and select ‘Talis Elevate Deep Link LTI’ from the list of available tools.  You can then select or upload the relevant resource.

Your students will now be presented with one clear page, containing the relevant instructional and contextual information, with the Talis Elevate link embedded in your Ultra Document making the user experience simple and easy to navigate.

For more details on using Talis Elevate, please see the Resources Hub here: Talis Elevate – Digital Education Support (lincoln.ac.uk)

What is the best approach to embedding Turnitin assessment points?

Turnitin assessment points must be created in the main page of your module in Blackboard Ultra, they can not be embedded within Documents.

The ‘Assessments’ folder is placed prominently at the top of module templates as a result of consultation with the Student Union to make assessment details clear and easy to find. This folder should contain ‘Student assessment information’ based on the Assessment Briefing Template (in-line with the UoL Assessment Framework), clear guidance on Academic Offences – built in with the module template, and all ‘summative’ assessment points.

Summative assessment points, using either Turnitin or Blackboard, should be created with clear guidance and instruction within the submission point. For Turnitin, these details are entered in the ‘Instructions’ box using the Turnitin LTI found within ‘Digital Tools’.  Blackboard assignments have the same page editor as Ultra Documents and so can be formatted to include all relevant instructions. Using this approach, you can consistently direct your students to the ‘Assessments’ folder for all summative assessment details and submission.

You may choose to use Turnitin for ‘formative’ assessments throughout your module delivery.  In this case you may chose to add Turnitin assessment points within your weekly content areas.  A good approach would be to preface these assessment points with an Ultra Document providing full details of the formative assessment.

How can I help my students navigate Blackboard?

A welcome video is a great way to introduce your module, spark enthusiasm for the topic, introduce learners to the teaching team.  Within your welcome page (Ultra Document), you could also introduce any important elements on how your module site is structured either within the video, or in text on this page.

You can also make easy and simple adjustments to help your students navigate content; Consider putting the words ‘click to open’ in brackets within the titles of your folders or Documents.  This simple method clearly shows new users that there is more content to explore.

Which browser should I use for Blackboard Ultra?

Blackboard Ultra supports Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge desktop and mobile browsers. All these browsers apply updates automatically for most users. Blackboard make every effort to support the most recent version upon release.

In practice, the Digital Education Team at Lincoln recommend using Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome as your primary browser, noting that being able to switch between different browsers where necessary is a valuable digital skill.

You can find full details about which browsers are supported by Blackboard here: Browser Support (blackboard.com)

Recent updates to several browsers have included changes to how the browser handles third-party cookies.  This may affect users of any browser but in particular users of Safari. If you have trouble accessing an integrated tool after a browser upgrade, edit your browser’s settings to allow sites to save and read cookie data. You can find instructions for  Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge online.

You can also check the compatibility of your browser using this online tool: Browser Checker (web).

What is the best way to use ‘Announcements’?

You can create announcements for all of your students on a module, or specific groups using the announcement function. The Blackboard Ultra content editor allows for rich, formatted content including bold, italic and underlined text as well as bulleted lists. You can also include images, hyperlinks and a range of digital content in announcements.

You can choose to schedule an announcement, specifying a date and time for the announcement to show. However, when scheduling announcements, you cannot use the ‘Send an email copy to recipients’ function.  Students can specify their own notification settings in Blackboard and will receive notifications either once a day, or immediately based on their own preferences.

You can choose to send an email copy to recipients immediately for urgent notifications.  This will override a student’s individual notification preferences and send an email straight away. Note that giving students control over how and when they receive notifications is an important part of digital inclusivity.  Standard notifications and scheduled notifications will not immediately push to email, unless a student has selected this as their preference.

Quick tip: When creating announcements, remember to click ‘Post Now’ on draft announcements if you are ready to send.

How can ‘Copy Content’ help me speed up my module builds?

Consistency is an important feature of good digital practice.  Taking the time to develop your Ultra Document layout and style is important and can save you time in the long run.  Once you have written your first Ultra Document, using appropriate headings, structure, instructional language and formatting, you can copy this document into your subsequent weekly areas to rapidly build your module, updating and replacing text and embedded files where appropriate.

You can even copy Ultra content from other Ultra modules helping you to ensure a consistent approach across multiple teaching modules.  The granular functionality of the ‘Copy Content’ feature in Ultra makes it easy to select exactly which content you would like copied into your module.

Important note: You should not copy any content that is date limited/restricted for example any Turnitin or Blackboard submission points.

Is Blackboard Ultra mobile friendly?

By moving to the latest version of Blackboard Ultra, our module sites and content are now compatible with the Blackboard Learn app, available from the App Store or Play store.

Additionally, content built in Ultra is responsive to different window sizes, and so, when viewed in a mobile browser, automatically adjusts to fit the window size.

What is the best approach to embedding videos?

Embedding Panopto videos into Ultra Documents provides a great way of publishing your video content in a structured way to promote learning.

Set up a new Ultra Document in the relevant area of your module and structure the Document in a way that promotes active learning using clear, coherent instructional language.  You could try using headed sections including ‘Introduction’ to add context, ‘Task’ to give specific instructions including what students should do whilst watching the videos (take notes? Draw diagrams? Etc.) and an indication of timings (i.e. the video is 9 minutes long).

Next, use the ‘Add digital tools’ function within your document and select ‘Panopto Content Linking Tool (Ultra)’ from the list of available tools.  You can then select or upload your video and embed it within your Ultra Document.

Your students will now be presented with one clear page, containing the relevant instructional and contextual information, with the video embedded in your Ultra Document making the user experience simple and easy to navigate.

How can I make my module content more interactive?

Blackboard Ultra is a central hub that brings together the wider suite of digital tools within the digital education ecosystem.  Using Ultra Documents, you can sequence together multiple elements and technologies to create rich learning experiences for your students.

For example, could you try adding quizzes into your Panopto videos? Could you add a link to Padlet to encourage peer interaction and discussion? Are you part of the H5P pilot group to create interactive web-based learning resources?

When building great Blackboard module sites we start with a strong student-centric pedagogy and build on technology and interaction where appropriate.  For more information, take a look at our support pages: Online Teaching & Learning: Menu – Digital Education Support (lincoln.ac.uk)

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