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Tools and Services

Upgrade of the Learning Management System- Blackboard


Sam Houston State University (SHSU) recognizes Blackboard Learn as an indispensable learning management system (LMS) for its students, faculty, and staff. This crucial platform is scheduled for an upgrade to its newest version, Blackboard Learn Ultra (Bb Ultra). The upgrade will be fully implemented by August 2024, ensuring that all users experience the most up-to-date and enhanced features available.

This news might not seem like news to some of you, and that is because many instructors at SHSU have already started to make the transition to Bb Ultra courses and Ultra Base Navigation. If your course is already on Bb Ultra, you are ahead of the game!  Early adopters of Bb Ultra are already experiencing a simpler and more modern course layout and updated features. Boasting a contemporary, user-friendly, and fully adaptable interface, Bb Ultra more effectively engages students, lightens the load for educators, and paves the way for success (says the sales marketing material). 

Sales hype aside, Bb Ultra courses are indeed more intuitive, light, and airy.  This latest iteration of the LMS represents nearly a decade of improvement and modifications to the longstanding looks and layout of years past. Upgrading not only means that we can provide SHSU faculty, students, and staff with a more robust version of the leading system, it also means our online courseware will be fully mobile-compatible and more accessible.

Over the coming months, SHSU Online will be coordinating a number of informational communications to keep you informed and abreast of the upcoming transition. We have been preparing internally for some time, gearing up several layers of support to ease the transition for you and your learners. Some of the support services we will be managing and offering include:

  1. Content migration: SHSU Online is taking the lead on migrating (or upgrading) your current Bb course from “original” to “Ultra.” This means that by Fall 2024, we will have made a fresh redesign of your content. This will pave the way for you to add your own personal touches as your course makes its debut in the Fall term.

  1. Design support: In addition to converting your course content, we will also make ourselves available to visit with you regarding personalized additions to make the new course your own.

  1. Training. We are ramping up our efforts to equip you with the expertise you crave as we move forward with an upgraded system. From full certification cohorts to one-off webinars to self-help resources, we’ve got you covered! If you haven’t already done so, check out our training opportunities and plan on joining us soon.

  1. Technical Assistance: As with any endeavor we undertake at SHSU Online, we provide ongoing technical support and assistance. Operational 24/7, our Bb Support Desk is poised to ensure the transition to the new system is as seamless as possible.

  1. Website. We have created a “living” website, meaning we are updating it as this project progresses. There you will find videos, how-tos, training sign-ups, and other materials and options relevant to this change.

I am delighted to share that nearly 900 courses at SHSU are already leveraging the Bb Ultra upgraded interface. In fact, you do not need to wait until Fall 2024 to get a sneak peek at the latest version. And what’s more, the feedback we have received from your fellow educators and students is notably positive, further affirming the benefit of the upgrade for the campus community.

As mentioned, more information will be coming your way regarding this important change. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact us!