Following the May 2019 uprade to the Ultra Base Navigation, faculty now have the option to adopt the Ultra Course View. The Ultra Course View is cleaner with a more modern design and easy-to-use workflows. It also has powerful new tools that are not available in the Original Course View, like Discussion Analytics. There are some features of the Original Course View that are not available in the Ultra Course View, however. Some are on their way, others have been discontinued. Learn more and decide whether your course will work well with Ultra Course View!
Keep in mind that all courses will continue to use the Original view by default, and faculty can choose whether to enable the Ultra Course View on one or more of their courses.
Review the Ultra Course View Feature Guide for a complete comparison of the features in Original and Ultra Course Views. The lists below summarize the differences that would have the biggest impact on your decision to switch to Ultra Course View.
Instead of setting a test exception to allow a student to have a longer timer or extended availability window on each test individually, in the Ultra Course View you set an Accommodation for the student on the Roster. Those Accommodations then apply to every assessment in the course.
Individual exceptions can be granted on the Submissions page for an Assignment or Test to provide a longer availability window or additional attempts.
Yes - use Ultra Course View. Functionality is an improvement over Original Course View.
In the Ultra Course View, Announcements appear as a pop-up when students enter the course. They must dismiss the pop-up before accessing any files or assessments in the course. Announcements are also included on the Activity Stream and in the Daily Digest emails. Additionally, Announcements can also be sent via email just as they can in the Original Course View.
Yes - use Ultra Course View. Students have a lot of ways to see your Announcement and you can also choose to have it sent via email.
Blackboard Collaborate is available in Ultra Course View, and is accessed within the Details & Actions area of an Ultra course. However, it is not visible until your course is Open. You will have to wait to create Collaborate sessions until your course is Open to students.
The Ultra Course View makes it easier for students to find and access Collaborate sessions. When a session is active, meaning that there are people in the session, the Collaborate link will flash with a purple activity indicator to draw attention to it.
Yes - use Ultra Course View. The limitation to wait to schedule sessions until the course is open is minor, and the added visibility is a useful upgrade.
You can track student discussion activity in the Ultra Course View in a few ways. You can view student activity in the gradebook grid view. You can also view discussion activity in Discussion Analytics and in the Grades & Participation area of the discussion. To view individual student analytics, click on the student’s name under Grades & Participation for an individual Discussion assignment. Students are allowed to edit or delete their posts (there is no option to turn this off), but all replies to a deleted post are preserved in the thread; a system note appears to let users know that a post has been deleted.
Yes - use Ultra Course View. The ability to delete and edit posts is a change from Original Course View, but the Discussion Analytics feature is a significant improvement that is not available in the Original Course View. Enable grading when you create a Discussion Forum by clicking the gear icon to access the Discussion Settings.
Ultra Course View does not support the option to enable subscriptions for Discussion Forums. In the Original Course View, this option allows you and your students to sign up to receive email notification whenever a post is made to a particular Discussion Forum.
Yes, use Ultra Course View. You will still receive notifications for new forums on the Activity Stream, in the daily digest email, and a purple icon next to the discussion title in the content view of your course will indicate when there are unread posts.
In the Ultra Course View, you can embed media from a number of sites, including YouTube, Vimeo, Prezi, FlipGrid, KhanAcademy, Spotify, O365, and more, within a Document. Click the plus icon where you would like to add content in the Document, then Add Content. Use the Insert Content icon on the text editor toolbar and choose Media. Paste a link to the media you are trying to embed.
If your media is not one of the options that is currently supported, you may be able to add it via HTML, instead. In the Document, click the plus icon and choose Add HTML. Paste the embed code for your media or widget and save.
Yes, if you can use either the embedded Media tool or embed code in the HTML editor. You can also link to the multimedia or tool instead of embedding it. You can create a link that sits inline with your other content by clicking the + icon, choosing Create from the menu, and then Link from the side panel. You can also create a hyperlink on the text editor by selecting the text you want to link and clicking the Insert/Edit Link button on the toolbar.
In the Ultra Course View, folders can only be nested 2 levels deep. So, for example, you could have a Content folder with individual Weekly folders within it, but you could not then have a Chapter 1 folder within a weekly folder: Content (level 1) > Week 1 (level 2) > Chapter 1 (level 3). This promotes a simpler structure for your Blackboard course, which makes it easier for students to find the content, assessments, and activities that they need.
Yes, use Ultra Course View. You may need to rethink your folder or module structure. We recommend structuring your course with top-level folders as opposed to nested folders.
In the Ultra Course View, the workflow for creating group discussions is reversed from the Original Course View. In Ultra, you create a single Discussion Forum and then assign it to groups for private group discussions. Because you create new groups each time, you can reuse the membership from previous groups if you want consistent groups, or create new groups so students engage with other classmates each time.
Yes, use Ultra Course View. This workflow is different from Original Course View, but it is a huge improvement in managing group discussions. Instead of having separate discussion boards in each group, you have a single discussion board. In addition, if you enable grading, you will only see a single column in the Gradebook instead of a separate column for each group.
Journals are now available in the Ultra Course View. Grading capabilities were recently added that allow you to read and assess a journal simultaneously.
Yes! The new capabilities for the Journal tool make it as robust as the tool in the Original Course View.
In the Ultra Course View, Tests can include blocks of questions that randomly assign students a sub-set of a larger question pool. For example, you can have a pool of 25 questions on a topic and have Blackboard randomly assign each students 5 of those questions.
The terminology has changed from Original Course View to Ultra Course View, based on Blackboard's user research and industry standards.
|Original Course View||Ultra Course View||Description|
|Pool||Question bank||A set of potential questions that can be used on any Test, individually or with a random sub-set|
|Random block and question set||Question pool||Created within a Test to specify that students receive a sub-set of the questions within these questions (e.g., the set of 25 questions out of which students will receive 5)|
To create a random set of questions for students, either upload a Question Bank from your publisher in the Details & Actions area or create a Test with your questions that you do not deploy (it stays hidden from students). Then, create a Test, click the + icon to add a question, and select Add question pool.
Yes! The question pool provides the same functionality as the random block or question set in Original Course View. Once you are accustomed to the new terminology, this will be an easy transition.
Achievements (badges and certificates) are not currently available in the Ultra Course View, but they are planned for a later release.
Maybe, if certificates and badges were an incentive as opposed to a critical feature. If you use Ultra Course View, you can manually create and distribute certificates by inserting a local file in a Message or in a comment for a column in the Gradebook. You could use an external badging platform like Credly to issue digital badges, or distribute them using Conditional Availability to display it within the course when students have met the requirements (use the Performance option). You may want to continue using the Original Course View for now, until Achievements are available in the Ultra Course View, particularly if issuing a badge or certificate is critical to your course (such as for training courses).
Blogs are not currently available in the Ultra Course View, but they are planned for a later release.
Maybe, if you can redesign your activity or use an external tool. You can use Ultra Course View but convert your Blog activities to use the Discussion Board instead, particularly given the cleaner, redesigned look and feel of Discussions in the Ultra Course View. You could also consider using an external blog platform like Wordpress, if the blog format is critical. Otherwise, continue using the Original Course View for now.
In the Ultra Course View, you set up the Overall Grade to automatically calculate student course grades. At this time, that is limited to using percentages for weighted grading, as opposed to calculating grades with total points. There are two potential workarounds, however.
Workaround 1: You can use the percentage system and convert your points to percentages by dividing each the points possible for each assessment by the overall points possible for the course.
Workaround 2: You can create a Calculated Column to build a formula that calculates the students’ grades based on points and then use the Overall Grade to display the students’ grades only based on the Calculated Column.
Maybe. The workarounds will likely work with your grading scale, and you can meet individually with us to set up your Overall Grade. There may be some complex grading systems that the Ultra Course View cannot support.
Rubrics are available in the Ultra Course View, but with some limitations. Currently, rubrics are limited to percentage and percentage-range only; point or point-range options are in development. Also, rubrics are limited to a maximum of ten rows and ten columns.
Maybe, if your rubric does not have more than ten rows and ten columns. You would need to convert your points to percentages, which we can help you with. Blackboard will also convert them automatically if you use the Course Conversion process.
Surveys are not available in the Ultra Course View, but they are planned for future development.
Maybe, if you can use an outside survey tool. The university has licensed Qualtrics for all faculty and students, and the Forms tool in O365 is simple and intuitive.
In the Ultra Course View, you can enable test feedback to include automated feedback (if created), question scores, and correct answers. Once selected, you can determine when each type of feedback should be visible to students, including after the individual's grade is posted, after all grades are posted, after the due date, and on a specific date. You cannot prevent students from seeing the questions or their answers.
Maybe, if you are comfortable with students seeing the question stems and their submitted answers. You can require Respondus LockDown Browser as an added layer of security so that students cannot copy or screencapture the questions. You can also enable the passcode after the exams are submitted to prevent students from viewing the test questions.
Wikis are not available in the Ultra Course View, and are not planned for future development.
Maybe, if you can redesign your activity or use an external tool. Instead of a Wiki, you could use a shared document in Microsoft OneDrive or a classroom OneNote Notebook, which provide better collaboration tools. You could also use a wiki tool outside of Blackboard. Otherwise, continue using the Original Course View for now.
In the Ultra Course View, Delegated Grading is called Parallel Grading. While it is available, there are some significant limitations. Currently, parallel grading is limited to 2 graders and assumes that each grader is grading all of the students. There is no way to use Parallel Grading to assign graders to a subset of students, as you can in the Original Course View, or to have more than 2 graders. Also, students cannot see the rubrics or comments made by the graders, so rubrics and comments would need to be recreated when grades were reconciled.
Probably not. If you rely on Delegated Grading, you may want to continue using the Original Course View until more features are added to the Parallel Grading feature.
The Ultra Course View is well-suited to a fully online course. It is easy to find course materials, Discussion Boards are more modern, and there are more embedded analytics on student progress and achievement. It is significantly different from a course in the Original Course View, however, and students in a fully online program expect a consistent experience for their courses.
Maybe. If you are teaching an online course that is not part of a fully online degree program, you can use the Ultra Course View. If your online course is part of a fully online degree program, we recommend that you first discuss the transition with the other faculty in the program and with your instructional designer, if applicable.
Most publishers such as Cengage, McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Wiley, have updated their integrations to be compatible with the Ultra Course View, but some of them are not yet available at this time.
Maybe. Check whether your publisher integration is supported in Ultra Course View prior to converting your course. Your publisher may be able to tell you, or you can create and convert a Shell to test whether the integration is available for yourself. If the integration is not yet available, you can use the Ultra Course View and direct students to the external publisher website to use materials, but you will have to input grades manually in the Gradebook (or at least use the feature to download, update, and upload the grades). If integration is integral to your course and the publisher does not yet support the Ultra Course View, you may want to wait until the integration becomes available.
There are several question types that are not yet included in ULTRA, including:
Most of these are being developed over time, or other question types can be substituted.
If you don’t use these question types, you can use Ultra Course View. You may also be able to redesign your questions to utilize the currently available question types, including Calculated Formula, Essay, Fill in the Blank (one option encompasses both Original View’s Fill in the Blank and Fill in Multiple Blanks options), Matching, Multiple Choice (one option that encompasses both Original View’s Multiple Choice and Multiple Answer options), and True/False. There are plans for creating some of the missing question types, with the calculated question types at the top of the priority list.
Blackboard has rebuilt a Peer Review option that can be enabled on Assignments to facilitate peer assessment. At this time, it only supports qualitative feedback, but quantitative scoring by peers is planned for a future release. Self-assessment is not yet available in the Ultra Course View, although it is planned.
If you have been using peer assessment for primarily qualitative feedback, yes! If self-assessment or quantitative peer assessment is critical to your course design, you may want to continue using the Original Course View until it becomes available in the Ultra Course View. You could also use an alternative, like online surveys or paper forms, to collect this feedback.