Tools that are still the same
These tools have very little to no changes made during the conversion to an Ultra course.
The Blackboard Ally Accessibility Report is still available to instructors in each course. You can view the Accessibility Report by clicking on the View course & institution tools option under the Books & Tools header on the left-hand side of the Content page. The content accessibility scores are also still available on the Content page. The Accessibility Score for teach item, including text boxes, are listed once the item is opened.
The Collaborate Ultra tool is still available to all instructors and students via your Blackboard course. Click on Join Session to join the Class Room, or click on the three dots to the right of the Blackboard Collaborate option to create sessions, manage settings, and view recordings.
Learning modules are still available for instructors to create inside their course content. Click the plus (+) icon on the course content page, then select Create. On the right hand menu, select Learning Module. You will be able to create content inside the learning module.
Web links are still available to create. On the Course Content page, select the plus (+) icon, then select Link from the right hand menu.
Tools that have been updated or changed
These tools have significant changes to the tool itself, the tool has been moved, or has a new name.
New name: Release Conditions
- Instead of creating multiple rules, you can now select multiple release conditions at once.
- Review Status is no longer an option.
- You can now choose to Show or Hide the content when a release condition is set.
- Now available on all content types.
- Announcements can only be posted if the course is available to students. If an announcement is created while the course is unavailable, the announcement is saved as a draft.
- Schedule Announcement has replaced the date restriction options.
- You can no longer link to a specific part of the course using Course Links.
- Announcements are now listed on the left-hand side of the course instead of being listed in the main Content Area.
- During the Ultra Course Conversion Process, all assignment submissions are deleted. Please be sure to convert your courses before the semester starts, and before any students have submitted assignments.
- You can now add multiple questions to your assignment.
- You can now assign groups to complete the assignment.
- Portfolios are now no longer an accepted submission type.
- You can now set Peer Review status within the assignment itself, as opposed to a separate content type.
- Assignments can now have an access code so students can open the attempt only after entering the code.
- The number of delegated graders is now limited to a maximum of 2.
- When converting the course to Ultra, content that was copied into Blackboard may lose formatting.
- If an item has multiple file attachments, they will now be listed alphabetically at the bottom of the item.
- You are no longer able to change the color of the title of the item or folder.
- The Track Number of Views option is no longer available.
- Date and time restrictions are now done through the Release Conditions instead of an as an option when creating the content.
- For Content Folders, you are now limited to 3 sub-folder levels in each main-level folder.
- The lock icon is no longer available on the top bar.
- Course Availability options include:
- Available: Students can access the course, view content, and submit tests or assignments within the course.
- Private: This has replaced the Unavailable option. When a course is Private, students are able to see the course on their course list, but cannot access the course or it's content.
- Complete: This is a new option. When you mark a course as Complete, the course and the content and grades are still visible to students, but no changes are able to be made to the course, either from the instructor or the students.
New Name: Course Image
- You can now add and edit the course image on the left hand menu under Details and Actions.
- You can now choose whether to list it on the course card or to have it visible inside the course as well.
- If the courses page is set to display as Course Cards, users will see the Course Image displayed instead of a pre-generated image.
- There is a new toggle to choose between Schedule and Due Dates.
- There is a new toggle to choose between Day or Month view.
- When viewing the calendar inside a course, you will only see dates relevant to the specific course you are in.
- The course tab on the left hand panel of the home page lets you toggle which courses and calendars you'd like to see.
- When inside a course, you have the option to add an event, edit the course schedule (dates and times of the class), or add office hours.
- All calendar events now have a URL option when creating for online meeting links.
- The course calendar cannot be removed from the course.
- The course copy is now done from inside the new course, not the old course.
- On the Course Content page, click the plus (+) button to select Course Copy.
- You can then select the course to copy from.
- Once the old course is selected, you can then choose which content item(s) to copy.
- You can copy individual content items, folders, or the whole course during a course copy.
- You can now copy an item from one area of a course to another area within the same course.
- Discussion boards are now located on the top bar of the course, on the Discussions header.
- You can create folders for specific groups of discussion boards, or you can create an individual discussion board by clicking the plus (+) icon in the top right.
- You can also create a discussion board by clicking on the plus (+) button on the Course Content page and selecting Discussion from the right hand menu.
- Discussion boards can no longer be anonymous.
- Discussion boards can no longer be graded by threads. They can only be graded with an overall grade for the forum.
- To export a course, click on the three dots in the top right of the Course Content page, then select Export Course Package.
- A new export package will be created automatically the first time you view this page.
- To create a new export package, click the Export icon to the right of Export Package.
- Once a package is created, it will expire after 30 days. You will need to recreate an Export Package if it has been longer than 30 days since it was created.
- To import a course, click on the three dots in the top right of the Course Content page, then select Import Content > Import Course Content.
- The import process works the same as before. You will see an "Importing Course Content" message at the top of the screen while the import is processing.
- If items are not imported, there will be a display bar across the bottom of the screen showing "# items not imported". You can click on this bar to view more.
New Name: Gradebook
- Instructors can choose between two views: Gradable Items or Students.
- You can also toggle between a list of all gradable items (list view) or a spreadsheet-like view that shows all students, all columns, and their grades (grid view).
- Weighted total columns are now removed. Instead there is a new option called Overall grade. This lets you choose how the final grade will be calculated. You can also set this up through the Settings tab.
- On the Settings tab, you can now see the Student Performance area. See the Retention Center tab for more information.
- The Settings tab will let you toggle the Automatic Zero function. This will automatically give a student a 0 for a past due assignment. Students are still able to submit the assignment (if late submissions are allowed).
- Course Rubrics are now listed in the Gradebook Settings tab.
- A new feature allowing for Total Points instead of Weighted Grades will be available in Summer 2022.
- Instructors now have the option to Publish Grades. This allows the flexibility of waiting until all submissions for an item have been graded before releasing the grades to students.
- Groups can now only be created in Group Set format. Individual groups cannot be created.
- You can choose to group students by Custom sorting, Self-enroll sorting, or to use the enrollment settings from a previous group set.
- Instructors can use the groups to pre-set breakout groups for Collaborate Ultra.
- Item availability is now listed in the top right corner of the content creation page, or under the title of the item in the Content list.
- The current options for Item Availability are:
- Visible to Students: Students will be able to see this content at all times.
- Hidden from Students: This item is unavailable for students to see. Only those with elevated privileges (i.e. instructor or TA) will be able to see the item.
- Release Conditions: This is the new Adaptive Release feature that allows you to set requirements or timelines for availability. See the Adaptive Release tab for more information.
- There is no longer a Journals tool that shows a list of all journals in the course.
- Journals are now only accessible through the Course Content page by clicking the plus (+) then Create.
- Pools are now called Question Banks or Question Pools
- Question Banks are sets of questions imported from another course, or from textbook publishers.
- Question Pools are sets of questions created within a test to ensure each student receives a different set of questions.
- When importing question banks from another course, import the whole course package on the Question Banks page, and it will only import the question pool.
- Portfolios are now available under the Tools option on the left hand navigation menu. Portfolios are no longer accessible from within an Ultra course.
- Portfolios are no longer able to be submitted as an assignment. You will need to share your portfolio with your instructor through the More option on the portfolio.
New Name: Student Performance
- Student Performance is located in the Settings tab of the Gradebook.
- You can now set up your rules based on Days of Inactivity or Percentage grades fall below.
- When set up, instructors will receive alerts about student activity and grades in their Activity Stream.
- You can also choose to allow students to receive a notification on their activity stream if they fall into these settings.
- The Roster is now listed on the left hand side on the Content page.
- Students can see the roster in the same location as the instructor.
- You can edit a student's Accommodations for the entire course from the roster. Click the three dots to the right of the student name and select Accommodations.
- You can choose to view the roster in a grid or list view.
- You can choose to view the roster based on roles or who has accommodations by changing the drop down in the top right under All Course Members.
- To add a user, click the plus (+) button in the top right.
- Rubrics are now located within the Gradebook Settings tab.
- Rubrics are now only available as Percent and Percent Range. The options for Points and Point Range have been removed.
- You can now have a maximum of 15 columns or rows. To add a row or column, hover your mouse over the dividing line between the rows or columns where you'd like to add the new option.
- There are no longer options to reorder the criteria or percentage selections.
- Criteria can now be aligned with course goals (if course goals are set up).
- Rubrics can be edited within the assignment or test, once assigned to the assessment.
New Name: Peer Review
- Peer Review is now an option inside the grading settings for a new assignment or test.
- You can choose the number of reviews per student, the assessment due date, and the peer review due date.
- Peer Review assessment information should be added to the assignment text when the assignment is set up.
- When peer reviewing others, students will only have one textbox in which to type their review.
- While in student preview, instructors can still see all available items and submit assignment or tests.
- Instructors now have 3 options while leaving Student Preview Mode:
- View Gradebook: This option takes the instructor out of Student Preview Mode and directly to the gradebook.
- Reset Preview: This will remove all data the instructor has created while in student preview mode.
- Exit Preview: This will turn off Student Preview Mode.
- During course conversion, question types that are unsupported will be removed.
- All submission data (student attempts and activity history) will be removed during the conversion process.
- Files can now be added to individual questions within the test.
- To reuse a question from a Question Bank, select Reuse Question from the Create Question menu.
- Question Pools can be added to a test to ensure that each student receives a different version of the test. Select Add Question Pool from the Create Question menu.
- Questions can be reordered using the up/down arrows to the right of each question.
- When grading a test, you can now Give Full Credit if a question was not clear or multiple answers could be accepted (and the question was not set up to accept the multiple answers).
- Item Analysis is now renamed as Question Analysis.
New Name: Accommodations
- Accommodations are available on all gradable items.
- You can set accommodations for students in the roster, and the accommodations will auto-populate on every assignment and test in the course. Enter the roster, locate the student and select the three dots to the right of their name, then select Accommodations.
- The following accommodations are available:
- Due Date accommodation: Students who have this option selected will never be marked late on any assignment. If the student is in a group, that group will inherit the accommodations.
- Time Limit accommodation: For a student with a time limit accommodation, you can choose between 50% extra time (time and a half), 100% extra time (double time), or unlimited time.
New Name: Overall Grade
- Calculated columns can now be displayed as points, percentage, or letter grades.
- The formula for the grade is listed in the middle. You can select which categories are added to the grade, along with how they are calculated.
- The overall grade, by default, is the total number of points the student earned divided by the total number of points possible in the course. You can change that by clicking the "Set it up" option on the "Set up the overall grade!" popup, or in the settings menu in the Gradebook.
Tools that are currently not available
These tools are not currently available in Blackboard Ultra courses. It is possible that these items may be released to Ultra courses, and we will update this page if they are; however, this is a decision that was made by Blackboard Inc. and Towson University has no control over the tools below not being available.
- Create an item inside the content area, then use Release Conditions to allow access based on certain criteria.
- Discussion Boards
- Place the information in an Announcement.
- Create an item with the necessary information.
- Move the necessary content item to the top of the Course Content page.
- There is a Student Activity option on interactive tools (i.e. tests, assignments, discussion boards, etc.) you can use.
- Use the Batch Edit feature.
- Create a document or add the content directly into Blackboard's text editor.
- Create a document or add the content directly into Blackboard's text editor.
- Create the documents inside a folder to group them together.
Module pages have been replaced by the Activity Stream.
- Send a course message to the user or users you need to communicate with. Messages have the option of also sending as an email.
- Create an announcement and send a copy as an email.
- Use Qwickly Course Tools to send to multiple courses at once, available from the Tools option on the left-hand navigation bar.
- Turn on Progress Tracking.
- Create a document with a To Do list.
Tools that are new
These tools are new to Ultra courses.
New Tool: Batch Edit
What is it?: Batch Edit allows instructors to update common settings across all content, including visibility and due dates, as well as delete multiple content items, at one time.
How to use it?: Click on the three dots to the top right of the course content and select Batch Edit. Select the items that you'd like to edit, then select the "Edit Selections" menu in the bottom left to choose whether to Edit Dates, Edit Visibility, or Delete items. You can also click on a folder name to edit the content within the folder.
New Tool: Class Conversations
What is it?: Class conversations is a way for students to discuss the content with you as the instructor and other students. They can share thoughts, ask for help, or answer other students' questions.
How to use it?: When creating a content item, there will be an option in the Settings menu "Allow class conversations". Once checked, the students will be able to start a conversation about that item. This has to be turned on for each item individually. You can check the class conversation for an item by selecting the three dots to the right of the item and selecting "Conversation" or by clicking on the conversation icon in the top right of an item's description or submission page.
New Tool: Progress Tracking
What is it?: Progress tracking allows students to mark and track their progress throughout your course.
How to use it?: Progress tracking lets students mark what items they've completed as they move through your course. For items that require a submission (assignment, test, etc.), the item will automatically be marked as completed once a submission is made. For items that do not require a submission (documents, links to websites, etc.), there will be an icon to the left of the item name for the student to check off once they've viewed the item. There is also a started option, which will appear if students have viewed the item, but have not submitted it or manually marked it as completed. At this time, instructors cannot view a student's progress.
New Tool: Student Activity
What is it?: The Student Activity option lets you see when your students open, start, or submit, tests or assignments within an Ultra course.
How to use it?: On the Course Content page, locate the test or assignment. Click the three dots to the right of the item name, then select "Student Activity". The page then shows several pieces of information:
- Student Activity Overview: Shows you the course average submission time, time to open, and time submitted before due date. You'll also see the number of students for each of the following statues: Unopened, Opened, Draft/Attempt Started, Submitted.
- Grade Distribution chart: Once graded, you will see a chart that shows the distribution of grades throughout the course.
- Student Activity Details: Here, you'll see each student listed individually. For each student, you will see the following:
- Activity Timeline: This displays a graphed timeline of when the student viewed, opened, started or saved an attempt, and when they completed it. When viewing this area in the chart view instead of grid view, these items will show as date stamps for Accessed After, Date Opened, and Date Started.
- Start to Finish: This numerical value displays the amount of time the student spent on the assignment or test.
- Grade: Once graded, you will see each student's individual grade listed in this column.