Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation is here! Learn more at the Blackboard Learn Ultra Transition webpage.

Prospective Students: Check out our viewbook!

Update from Anthology Together - Blackboard Learn Ultra Roadmap

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 10.32.18 AM

SHSU Online staff recently attended the Teaching and Learning Roadmap for Blackboard Ultra at the Anthology Together conference in Orlando, Florida. You may remember that Anthology Together is what has taken the place of Blackboard World after the Blackboard-Anthology merger. We were really interested in learning more about how Blackboard Learn Ultra will be developing over the next six months.

The session was packed full of useful information and important context about how development for Blackboard Ultra has been ratcheted up. One of the first moves that Anthology made after merging with Blackboard was to triple the development resources focused on Ultra. This has allowed the speed and frequency of updates to increase substantially.

Here are just a few of the most recent updates for Blackboard Ultra Courses:

  • Points-based overall grade options
  • Grade history
  • Display one question at a time
  • Control when students should see submission, feedback, and grade
  • Calculated Numeric question type
  • Hide test timer to help with student anxiety
  • Clearer understanding of progress through tests
  • Unanswered question warnings
  • Inline rendering of PDFs and Office docs
  • Code snippets
  • Choose and request pronouns
  • Record name pronunciation
  • Control how you are displayed to peers

There are actually many more improvements that have been made in the last three months, but this article is focused on the future.


Forward Looking Statement

As these features are in development how they look/work and when they are available may ultimately change.

 Let’s take a look at the updates first by category and then by availability.  The categories are:

  • Assessment and Grading
  • Course and Content Activity Design
  • Collaboration
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Deep and Seamless Integration

 Availability is sorted by:

  • 1-3 Months
  • 3-6 Months
  • 6+ Months


Assessment and Grading

1-3 Months

  • Advanced Test Display Options: Page Breaks, Question Clustering, Randomization support (all presentation methods)
  • Student Test Taking: Timer Reminders(Appear at key times during timed assessment, can be manually dismissed)
  • Enhanced Auto Save: Every two seconds
  • Flagging questions for review
  • Question Bank Enhancements
    • Create, manage, delete question banks (AUGUST)
    • Edit questions inline
    • Search for and copy existing questions from other banks
    • Copy banks between courses (NOW)
    • Linking to questions within assessments and question categorization
  • Overall Grade Improvements: Advanced Calculations, Transparency to student on how grade is calculated
  • Assessment Exemptions: Set different exemption for a particular student (extra time, additional attempt, visibility)
  • Inline Grade Efficiencies: Undo/Redo (AUGUST), See comments within the annotation list (SEPTEMBER), Move to desired comment from the annotation tool

3-6 Months

  • Assessment Exemptions
    • Drop/remove an assessment score for a single student from the grade book calculations
    • Any gradable item supported
    • See which graded items have been submitted
  • Gradebook Improvements: column sorting, column collapsing, filtering, needs grading workflows, send personalized reminders
  • Hotspot question type
  • Formative/Ungraded Assessments: Improved support, complete/incomplete, multiple grading schemas

6+ Months

  • Flexible Grading: Enhanced grading user interface, grade by question or by student, per question feedback & rubric and more..



Course and Content Activity Design

1-3 Months

  • Content Editor Enhancements
    • LaTex typed directly into editor
    • Better control for display of media
  • Course linking (Learning modules, folder, document, test, assignment, discussion, journal)
  • Student preview enhancements: ability to delete/retain preview user and associated data

3-6 Months

  • Smoother drag and drop functionality
  • Improved course outline and performance and visual hierarchy
  • Support for additional level of depth “three folders deep”
  • Course Outline Search: searching and filtering, locate content quickly, also searches learning modules and folders



1-3 Months

  • Group Management
    • Ability to important course group sets and membership in bulk via CSV file
    • Ability to export
  • Group Collaboration
    • Dedicated Group space and associated tools
    • Individual group support
    • Non-student members supported in groups
  • Messaging Improvements
    • Larger message window
    • Messages for private courses
    • Easier group messaging

3-6 Months

  • Discussion Improvements
    • Prevent editing or late posts
    • React to posts (Like/Star)
    • Subscribe to discussion updates


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

1-3 Months

  • Manage display name allowing for self-expression and diversity
    • Students can choose to display given name, additional name, or both
    • Displays consistently throughout application
  • Immersive Reader
  • Improved Mobile app
    • Consolidate student and instructor apps into single app
    • Strong alignment between web experience and mobile
    • Immediate availability of new features across web/mobile
  • Insights and Reporting
    • Detailed information on student progress on graded and ungraded items
    • Bulk Messaging

3-6 Months

  • Instructor Reporting
    • Access to course activity vs grades report
    • Understand which items/students need checking


Deep and Seamless Integration 

1-3 Months

  • MS OneDrive Collaborative Editing 
    • Support course and group based document collaboration 
    • Allow academics to create course level groups and assign documents for collaboration 
    • Allow access to brand new document or existing file from OneDrive 
  • Cloud Assessments 6+Months 
    • Use collaborative documents for gradable assignments 
    • Use native version history 
  • Microsoft Teams Meetings
    • Create and manage meetings 
    • Easily access recordings and change meeting settings 
    • Support for ultra data sync to allow scheduling of users to meetings 

    6+ Months

    • Virtual classroom integration 
      • Richer integrations with best in class 
      • Attendance and group integrations for instructor efficiencies 

    As you can tell, there is a tremendous amount of work taking place behind the scenes.  As always, SHSU Online will be here to support these updates for you and your students!