UToledo Online

Faculty Ultra Course View

Introducing Blackboard Learn Ultra: a New Way to Teach

Blackboard Ultra LogoBlackboard Ultra Course View (UCV) is a whole new course experience. It features simplified course navigation, a mobile-friendly experience, intuitive workflows, and data-driven learning analytics, making it easier for you to keep your students engaged and on the path to success. A small faculty group has been piloting Ultra courses since Fall 2022 with positive results and feedback.

“Blackboard Ultra has a clean, well-organized user interface that students can easily navigate. Over the past two semesters of using Ultra, my students have enthusiastically embraced it as a significant improvement over Blackboard Original.”
– Jerry Van Hoy, Associate Professor – A&L

 “The interface requires some mindset changes, but once you jump in and find your way around, the changes are mostly positive.  For example, the gradebook [in UCV]…is easier and more straight forward [to use and manage] than…the classic view.”
 – Kevin Gibbs, Senior Lecturer – NSM

 “The new course view is refreshing and easy to use and my students find the interface effortless and intuitive. Their favorite tool is student progress tracking, which helps them keep track of the items they have completed in the course and not have to solely rely on notifications or instructor email reminders. That’s one less task for me.”
– Shagufta Sami, Adjunct Instructor – ENG / Educational Technologist UToledo Online

While the Blackboard name is the same, UCV is very different from the previous version of Blackboard (sometimes referred to as Blackboard Original). Blackboard Original Course View (OCV) is the classic version of Blackboard currently used for the majority of UToledo courses. UCV has a cleaner and more modern design compared to OCV.  

Faculty original course view

faculty ultra course view

Why Ultra?

Ultra Course View offers a fresh, more intuitive interface, resulting in easier workflows for both faculty and students. Most notable is simplified navigation in UCV, featuring a single-page content pane to reduce clicks. It also has powerful new tools that are not available in OCV, such as discussion analytics, drag and drop content creation, and course pop-up announcements. Additionally, the new interface offers a better mobile experience, enhanced accessibility, and improved grading and assessment tools.

Review the Ultra Course View Feature Guide for a complete comparison of the features in Original and Ultra Course Views. The tabs below offer a UCV preview of some of the most commonly used Blackboard features.

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The Course Content tab is one of the main features of Blackboard Ultra Course View, where instructors can upload course materials such as syllabi, lecture notes, and assignments; organize materials into modules and folders; manage assessments such as quizzes and tests; and communicate and collaborate using discussions and journals.
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The Calendar tab enables instructors and students to keep track of important dates and deadlines specific to each course and allows instructors to schedule course events such as meetings, office hours, and due dates. Due dates for deployed Blackboard assessments automatically populate the Calendar tool. In the Ultra Base Navigation, outside of the course, the calendar will display due dates for all your courses.
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The Discussions tab allows users to create, view, and respond to discussion topics and threads within a course. When a new reply has been made to a discussion, instructors and students will both see a blue indicator that it has been unread. 
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The Gradebook tab allows instructors to view and manage student grades for assignments, tests, quizzes, and other assessments in their course. Gradebook provides a comprehensive view of student progress and performance where instructors can customize grading schemas, calculate weighted grades, and add comments and feedback.
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Course Messages can be used to send messages to individual students, groups of students, or the entire class, and receive responses from students. Instructors can also attach files or links to their messages and send reminders to students about upcoming deadlines or important events. Course messages are internal to Blackboard and are separate from your university email. However, users can elect to send a copy of a message to the recipient's email during the message creation process. To ensure you don't miss a Course Message, you might consider enabling Email Notifications for "New Messages" via your Blackboard Profile page. Instructors should advise students on their preferred method of communication.
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The Analytics tool allows instructors to view data about student performance and engagement in their course with real-time information on how students are interacting with course content and assessments. The tool provides insights into a range of metrics, including course access and engagement and student performance. 

Pilot faculty have indicated UCV is a significantly improved course experience with easier workflows:

  • Adding, editing, and copying content is much easier with a straightforward, clean, and modern user interface.
  • The new gradebook includes several major improvements.
  • The redesigned discussion board interface is a faculty favorite!

UCV at UToledo Today

UToledo Online began piloting UCV with a small group of faculty in Summer 2022, with expanded pilots each subsequent semester. Since that time, over 100 faculty have adopted UCV in one or more of their courses, which will continue to grow as new faculty cohorts are introduced to UCV.

UToledo Online converted over 100 course sections in Fall 2023 alone, and over 150 for Spring 2024. 

UToledo has a future goal for full conversion to UCV. This is a multi-year project and no target date has been set. Original Course View will continue to be available and currently remains the default version of Blackboard for UToledo courses. 

Interested in joining the next faculty cohort? Here are the steps and timeline for Ultra conversion: 

    1. Sign up and attend a UCV demo session. Watch your UToledo email for invitations to these live webinars, which are held mid-semester.
    2. After attending a demo session, meet with your instructional designer to convert your upcoming course.* 

*Current semester courses cannot be converted. All conversions must be completed prior to course start. 
*Course conversions are performed mid-semester in the semester prior to the offering. We are unable to convert courses in the 2 weeks prior to the start of classes due to the high volume of help services requested during that prep time. 

Blackboard Ultra Course View Faculty FAQ

Last Updated: 2/26/24