- Blackboard is going to undergo an upgrade in May 2022.
- The upgraded version is called Blackboard Ultra.
- “Ultra" describes the transformation of the user interface and workflows in Blackboard Learn.
- SHSU Online will support faculty, students, and staff through the upcoming change.
Why Are We Upgrading Blackboard?
SHSU Online upgrades Blackboard every week, but most of the time, such upgrades go unnoticed… primarily because most upgrades don't render an impact or change to the way Bb functions or looks.
The upcoming upgrade will be different. It will require system downtime, and it will change how Blackboard looks and functions to instructors and students.
Bb clients across the U.S. have been upgrading to Bb Ultra. Already, 300 colleges and universities have moved to Bb Ultra in the past year. Soon, Blackboard, Inc. will sunset support for the version of Blackboard we are currently using. We are upgrading to ensure ongoing support for the learning management system.
Another reason we are making the change is to keep access to third party tools, such as TurnItIn, that will stop working with the current version of Blackboard. Many tools are migrating to Bb Ultra, so we need to upgrade to maintain the tools most used by our faculty.
What Is Changing?
Bb Ultra will introduce a new, streamlined landing page that allows students and instructors to access important course information through an Activity Stream. The stream includes notifications for course materials posted, grades, assignments, activities, and other relevant links.
The upgrade also renders a new course layout (shown below), which supports greater digital accessibility for instructors and students using mobile devices. It provides a simpler, consistent experience, regardless of how content is accessed
These are just a few of the highlights regarding upcoming changes. To explore more changes, please join one of our upcoming Bb Ultra webinars or demonstrations.
Will There Be Changes to My Courses?
Bb Ultra offers a unique opportunity to host two different course design templates. What this means is that you can either keep your course in its current, original style, OR, you can upgrade your course to the new Ultra version. You decide if and when!
Keeping your course in its original format means there won’t be changes to how your course looks and functions now. In this scenario, only the landing page, and things like the Activity Feed mentioned above, will look different because of the upgrade.
To explore an example of an Ultra course, please join one of our upcoming Ultra webinars or demonstrations.
With the upgrade, there will be tools and functions available now that may not be available in Bb Ultra. To learn more about this, we recommend working with your instructional designer for a demo of what an Ultra course has to offer, prior to making the decision to switch over or visit, Is Ultra Course View Right for Me?
What Assistance Will SHSU Online Provide During This Change?
SHSU Online is geared up to provide support in a variety of ways, including…
- Bb Ultra demos, trainings, and webinars will be largely available throughout the Spring and Summer semesters.
- Blackboard Learn Ultra Transition webpage, where you can find videos featuring the upcoming changes, as well as How-To tutorials, and the latest regarding the change.
- A multi-month communication plan for audiences that include instructors, students, and staff.
- Self-Service Resources, such as Video Tutorials, How-To’s, and Downloadables that will be posted to the Ultra website, as well as in Blackboard.
- Perhaps most importantly, your instructional designer and the 24/7 Support Desk will assist you through this transition.
If you have any questions, please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.