Blackboard Ultra Course View Checklist

Blackboard Ultra Course View provides an opportunity for you to optimize your course and take advantage of the new and improving features. This reference helps you walk through the options and become aware of key checkpoints in the copy and conversion process.

Additional Resources

Blackboard Ultra Course View FAQ
Blackboard Original/Ultra Comparison

Blackboard Support: “All you need is the help button” Blackboard Support links directly to the information you need based on your current task in Ultra Course View.

Ultra Course Preview

In the Ultra Course Preview, you can see exactly how your content will convert before you decide to permanently switch to the Ultra Course View.

Preview: When a course is in preview mode, only instructors and administrators can view it.
Convert: View Details or Review all course exceptions to determine if you want to Use the Ultra course.
Revert: If you aren't ready to make the switch, you can go Back to Original course.
Menu: The Course Menu in an Original course, located on the left sidebar, becomes the Course Content area in Ultra Course View located in the center page. This is where you create and manage your Course Content.
Preview to explore rather than build, any changes you make to your course in the preview mode are lost if you switch back to the Original Course View.

Ultra Course Content

Think about your module and folder structure, you can create two levels of content to provide easier navigation and management on smaller screens.

Getting Started: Drag and drop, upload, or copy your course Syllabus and any other information students need to get started in the course.
Create Containers: Create Learning Modules and Folders to organize content.

Example: Create a folder to organize your Welcome, Meet the Instructor, Meet your Classmates, Syllabus (inline & downloadable), and required resources.

Add Content: Select the plus sign wherever you want to add new content. You can create or expand a Learning Module or Folder to add content and drag and drop content into place.

Example: Organize your content by week, module, topic, and/or type.

  • Create: A panel opens for you to choose the content type you want to add. Add learning modules, documents, links, folders, assignments, tests, discussions, and journals.
  • Copy Content: Copy an entire course and/or select items from any of the courses you teach.
  • Upload: Upload content from your local drive. You can also import from Cloud Storage, select from the Content Market, or your Content Collection.
  • Content Collection: Your Content Collection is created as you upload files to your course. When you upload a file, what you see is a link to the file, the original file is stored in the Content Collection. You can use the Content Collection to organize, share, and reuse content.

Recommendation: Create Course Links to provide multiple ways to access course content. Explain the purpose and relationship to course requirements, competencies, learning objectives, and/or measurable outcomes. Example: Link your Syllabus, Goals, and Rubrics to instructional materials, activities, assignments, and assessments using a variety of formats.

Release Conditions: “Adaptive Release” is now called “Release Conditions”, you can release content based on dates, performance, and sequence.

Example: Provide supplemental materials based on student performance on a graded item to personalize the learning path.

Want to copy an entire Original course or import a course package?

Open the …ellipsis on the right side above the Course Content list and select Import Content.
You can also Batch Edit, Copy Items, Export a Course Package, and view Course Tasks and Logs.

Batch Edit visibility

For copied and converted content, check the Course Tasks and Logs and review Course Content for formatting differences, broken links, missing images, and release conditions.

Ultra Participation and Engagement

Accommodations: You can set accommodations for individual students from the Roster based on due dates or time limits. You can also add accommodations for specific tests or assignments.
Announcements: Course announcements appear in the “Details & Actions” menu.

Note: Announcements converted from your Original course may appear as content items; you may need to copy/paste the Announcement text into a new Announcement in the Ultra course and save the draft, schedule it, or post it immediately.

Attendance: When you access the attendance feature for the first time, you can decide if you want to add attendance to your gradebook.
Conversations: Enable Conversations for course content to facilitate quick exchanges about documents, assignments, assessments, and tools.
Discussions: Discussions can be created inline under Course Content or via the Discussion tool available in the course navigation bar in the upper right hand corner. Ensure that converted Discussions appear as Discussions. You may need to create a new Discussion in Ultra Course View and copy/paste the Discussion prompt text.

Note: When creating discussions from the navigation bar, you have the option to include the discussion on the Course Content page. Discussions created inline on the Course Content automatically appear under the Discussions navigation menu. Take advantage of the the new Discussion Analysis to evaluate graded discussions.

Groups: Groups can be assigned to a discussion, assignment, or test. You can choose to randomly assign groups, allow self-enrollment to groups, create custom groups, import group sets, or reuse an existing group already used within the course. Only one learner in a group can submit the assignment or test on behalf of the group.
Journals: You can create a journal assignment on the Course Content page, add them to learning modules, and use conditional release. Journal assignments appear in the Activity Stream, and students and instructors can discuss the entry in comments. You can make a journal assignment count for a grade and add a rubric.

Note: The initial release includes a basic grading workflow, grades are manually entered in the gradebook. Full grading functionality and support for course copy, conversion, and continued enhancements are on the roadmap.

Messages: Course Messages are currently always on, all users can access course messages specific to the course on the navigation bar and receive a copy via email. You can choose to "Allow replies to this message” and allow students to create their own messages.

Note: Ultra Messages replace Send Email.

Progress Tracking: You can enable Progress Tracking so students can view their progress. A circle icon is empty when a student has not yet accessed the item, partially filled when a student has opened the item, and a green checkmark shows when the student has completed the item. The new Student Progress tab helps you track individual student progress as well.

Note: Participatory items are marked as complete when the student has made a submission or contributed to a discussion. Non-participatory content is marked as complete after the student has viewed it. Students can mark complete items like Documents, uploaded files, or links once they have opened them. For Assessments, Tests, Journals, or Discussions, the item will be automatically marked as complete once the student has submitted. When all items in a Folder or Module have been completed, the entire folder is automatically marked as complete.

Ultra Assessment

Create or copy assignments and tests for student assessment and take advantage of security, submission, feedback, and grading options.

Assignments: Ensure that converted Assignments appear as Assignments. You may need to create a new Assignment in the Ultra course and copy/paste the Assignment text into it.

Note: Check and add/edit Assignment settings such as Availability, Groups, Conversations, Due Date, Rubrics, Alignments, and Grade Categories.

Tests: Ensure that converted Tests deploy as Tests. You may need to rebuild Tests that have settings and/or question types not currently supported in Ultra courses.
  • Test Options: You can provide automated question feedback and prevent cheating through features like access codes, timers, display, navigation, and randomization.
  • NEW: Hotspot Questions
  • Coming Soon: Import questions from a file
Question Banks: You can reuse questions and create question pools to ensure each student receives a different version of the assessment.
Tests, Pools, and Surveys: Create, edit, grade, and track student, test, and question performance.

You can select from the following Test options:

  • Maximum Points: The maximum points for the test will calculate automatically based on the total point value of your questions. You set the point value for each question as you create it.
  • Attempts Allowed: When you set up a test, determine how many times learners will be able to take it. Currently, you can set it anywhere between one and 10 or it can be unlimited. You can control how the grade will be calculated when using multiple attempts (e.g., average score, highest try, lowest try, first graded, last graded)
  • Time Limits: You can set a time limit for the test. Learners will be informed of the limit before they start the test, and they will see the timer as they take it. Once the time limit is reached, the teacher can choose to have the test submitted automatically or to allow learners to continue working on the test after the time limit expires. If extra time is allowed, questions answered after time expires are indicated in the system.
  • Randomize Questions: When selected, the order of questions will be randomized. Selecting this option is useful when multiple attempts are in use. This feature cannot be used if you have added a text block or an attachment to your test.
  • Randomize Answers: When selected, the order of the answers within questions are randomized. This applies to multiple choice and matching question types.
  • Display One Question at a Time: When selected, the test is presented as one question at a time. Students use the navigation button to progress to the next question.
  • Question Pools: Select a subset of questions from a larger set of questions. Each learner gets a slightly different mix of questions.
  • Assessment Grade: When enabled, the assessment grade is automatically posted to the student upon submission. This applies only to assessment questions which are automatically graded by the system. To manually determine when to post an individual grade or to post all grades as the same time, do not enable this feature.
  • Group Tests: You can create a group test. You will be able to grade for each group and can also change a group member's individual grade.
  • Freeform Tests: You can create a test without questions but with text to which learners can respond. You could ask for attached files and/or a free-form response.
Exceptions: You can give an individual student an exception on a specific test or assignment. An exception includes additional attempts or extended access, even if the assessment is hidden from other students. An exception overrides the two settings applied to everyone else for only that specific assessment. Video: Grant Assessment Exceptions in the Ultra Course
SafeAssign: You can enable the SafeAssign “Originality Report” through the Assignment and Assessment settings, the work is compared to the global database and a report is generated.
Student Activity Details: Access student activity details including which students opened, started, and submitted tests and assignments.
Group Tests: Create, assign, grade, comment, and allow conversations. By default, you assign a grade to each group as a whole. You can also change a group member's individual grade.
Peer Assessment: You can review, evaluate, and manage peer review for qualitative assessment.
Anonymous Grading: You can enable anonymous grading for assignments and tests that don't contain the built-in question types.
Download Assignments: You can download all or selected submissions to review offline. Usernames are included automatically in the file names for easy identification.
Keep the following in mind when downloading assignments:
  • If you download more than one submission, the files will be zipped with each submission saved as a separate file.
  • If a learner submitted multiple attempts, the downloaded ZIP file will contain all files for that learner.
  • If the learner submitted using the text editor, the submission will be downloaded as a TXT file.
Submission Receipt: A confirmation number is automatically generated for each assessment attempt. The receipt confirmation number can be used to search for a submission and details include the assessment name, grade, number of attempts, file size, and date and time stamp.
Collect Submissions Offline: You can create assessments that appear on the Course Content page that don't require learners to upload submissions. You can add instructions, files, a rubric, and goals so learners can prepare for the offline work.

Note: You can enable conversations, but you can't add questions or grade anonymously.

Ultra Performance and Feedback

Goals: You can align goals to multiple items in your course including files, documents, links, assignments, tests, discussions, and rubrics.
Rubrics: You can create a new rubric or associate an existing rubric with an Assignment, Test, or Discussion.
Progress Tracking: You can view Unopened, Started, and Completed status.
  • Student Progress report for course content: You can view the path each student is taking on the course, content, progress with relevant date/time stamps and current visibility status of each item.
Feedback: You can annotate, give feedback, record (embed up to 5 minutes of video/audio communication).
  • Annotate: You can read files inline and annotate to provide feedback directly in the system. Supported document types include Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX), PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX), and Portable Document Format (PDF).
Student Overview: Get relevant student information and personalize your communications. You can use the message feature to quickly follow-up with a student about any of the information on the Student Overview. You can also see how your students have performed over time with analytics.
Analytics: You can run reports for your courses and keep track of how your students are performing.
  • Course Activity: you can view how well your students are performing and how much they are interacting with your course.
  • Question Analysis: You can review statistics on overall performance, assessment quality, and individual questions. This data helps you recognize questions that might be poor discriminators of student performance.

Coming soon: Partial and Negative Credit

Coming soon: Formative Assessment

Ultra Gradebook

As you create gradable content (assignments, assessments, discussions), corresponding gradebook columns are generated.

This is a sample of the gradebook features, major improvements scheduled August 2023.
For converted courses, check that all gradable items appear in the Gradebook.
  • Grid View presents rows and columns similar to Original view.
    • Student Grid view includes all of the learners and items. It is similar to spreadsheet with columns (items), rows (learner), and cells.
      • You can search the Gradebook by columns and categories to check on the status for a single gradebook column or create a simple, filtered view of a specific gradebook category across all learners.
      • You can search the submission list to find a specific submission or submission status for a specific learner.
      • You can filter for individual consultations.
  • List View allows you to sort items that need to be graded “Grading Status”, new Submissions are highlighted in purple.
    • Gradable Items list is the default view listing all items in the gradebook. In this view, you can move the items to reorganize the gradebook. It does not include the names of learners.
    • Students list students by name and Last Access, click to view the students submissions table including status, grade, and feedback.
    • Student Activity: You can view student activity and details and visually compare student to the rest of the class.
    • Want to see what needs grading?


Note: As needed, you can add a row/column for an item or calculation by selecting the plus sign that appears between existing rows/columns. Rearrange items in the row view, by pressing the Move icon in the row of the item you want to move and dragging the item to the new location.

Gradebook Settings

  • Grading Schemas map percentages to letter grades or some other notation for reporting performance.
  • Student Performance allows you to receive alerts in your Activity Stream about student performance and activity based on the number of days student is inactive and/or when a student’s overall grade falls below the indicated percentage.
  • Assign Automatic Zeros for past due work.
  • Overall Grade helps student keep track of their performance, you can select the gradebook items to include and to format to display (calculated by points, weighted, or formulas).
  • Grade Categories group similar coursework, you can add custom categories to the gradebook.

Coming soon: Flexible Grading, Parallel and Anonymous Grading