Blackboard Ultra Upgrade

Blackboard Learn is the course management system used by University of Miami faculty, staff, teaching assistants, and students. As a result, Blackboard Learn continues to be an important platform for facilitating teaching and learning, with over 25,000 daily users using the system during the fall 2020 semester. 

This year, we are planning to upgrade to the modernized Blackboard Ultra Experience!  This upgrade provides a simple, intuitive, and streamlined course experience for faculty and students.

Quick Links: Project Details - About Blackboard Ultra - FAQs - Request an Informational Session


Project Details

About the Upgrade

The major change to Blackboard Learn is a new landing page that allows students and instructors to more easily access important course information, including learning materials, grades, messages, calendars, and relevant links arranged in an Activity feed.

Watch an Overview

Training

Training materials—including tip sheets, instructional videos, and workshop opportunities—will be made available in advance of the upgrade. Check back soon for updates!

 

Blackboard's Training Guides

Technical Support

The Learning Platforms Help Desk is available 7 days a week from 9 a.m.-12 midnight: call (305) 284-3949 or email learningplatforms@miami.edu. In addition, you can also create a support request online or review FAQs for more information.

Contact Learning Platforms

About Blackboard Ultra

The new Blackboard Ultra Experience is a completely redesigned interface with simplified, intuitive workflows, a modern look and feel, and an improved mobile experience. Everyone will see the new Ultra landing page and navigation.  Highlighted changes are included below:

Navigating Blackboard Ultra

The Institution Page includes information and helpful links for using Blackboard and other technologies for teaching. The information on this page is customized for you based on your teaching role. Students will see slightly different information to help them be successful. Learn more about the Institution Page.

The navigation menu will display the link to the Profile Page as your name. The Profile Page contains information about your account. Your full name, Email, and C Number are saved here. Global Notification Settings for your account can also be configured on this page and on the Activity Stream page.  Learn more about your profile.

On the Activity Stream, you can see what's new in all your courses and jump directly into course activities from the list! You don't need to dig through the system or miss submissions from students. You see a prioritized list of what's relevant to you, including updates to discussions, recent messages, and new student submissions to assessments. For a student, the Activity Stream also highlights upcoming or past due dates, newly added content, and recently posted grades. You can also customize the notifications you receive in your Activity Stream and disable email notifications. Learn more about the Activity Stream and Notification Settings.

The new Courses page sorts your courses into a timeline so that you can focus on courses that are currently active. You can search for courses by name or filter the view. Courses you mark as a favorite will appear at the top of your course list, making it easy for you to access the courses you use most frequently. You can even make courses visible or hide them from students right from your Courses list. (Note: You can no longer reorder your course list; courses are listed in alphabetical order.)Learn more about the Courses page.

This is the global Calendar where you can find the due dates for the assessment items in all courses as well as any office hours and events that may have been populated into a course calendar. As the due date for these events approach, you will see reminders in the Activity Stream reminding you of these. Learn more about the Calendar.

From the Grades page, students can see the grades for all assessment items of all courses. From here you can click on items and link through to the course assessment item for additional information. This differs from the My Grades section in a course, which only shows the grades for that course. Learn more about accessing grades here.

Content is now displayed in layers rather than loading a new window. New content slides in from the right-hand side and displays the previous location as a sub layer on the left-hand side. This means no matter where you click, your previous place is always saved and easy to get back to by simply clicking on the [X] to close the current layer.


Course Experience Options in Blackboard Ultra

Original Course View

By default, all of your courses will continue to use the same look and functionality that you are familiar with, called the Original Course View. After selecting a course from your Courses list, you will find the original course view with the same instructor interface, navigation, features, and tools.

Original Course View Video Tour

Ultra Course View

The Ultra Experience also includes a new, optional course experience, the Ultra Course View. The Ultra Course View is an optional change to how courses are organized and displayed. A request process is currently being developed to allow instructors to preview courses in the Ultra Course View.

Ultra Course View Video Tour


Frequently Asked Questions

mobile phone with question markThis section aims to answer your questions regarding the upgrade. If you have a question that is not addressed below, you can submit it to academictechnologies@miami.edu.

 

 


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  • When will the upgrade occur?

    At this stage, we are gathering feedback from University stakeholders about the transition to Blackboard Ultra before we finalize a date to upgrade. (Our aim is to upgrade in May 2021; this date is subject to change and depends on the outcomes of our testing and feedback from the University community.)

  • What will happen to previous courses, such as course materials, student work, or grade records?

    All existing Blackboard courses will remain in the Original Course View. You will continue to be able to reuse those materials for new courses, including courses with the Ultra Course View, and to access student work and grade records as necessary.

  • Will there be an outage for the upgrade?

    There will be a short outage for the upgrade to occur, but it should only be a few hours. The specific dates and times for the outage have not been determined, and will be announced to the entire campus via future communications and the Blackboard login page.

  • What will happen for courses that are in progress during the upgrade?

    Courses that are in progress during the upgrade will only be interrupted for the brief outage, during which faculty and students will not be able to log into Blackboard. Following the upgrade, the Blackboard landing page will have changed to the Ultra Experience, but all courses will remain in the Original Course View.

  • How can I learn more about the changes?

    To prepare for the transition to Blackboard Ultra, please continue to review updates on this page! We are also offering a mix of roadshow presentations to schools and colleges, a town hall session for all of the UM community, and training programs introducing faculty, staff, and teaching assistants to the new features in Blackboard Learn Ultra Experience. The UM community will receive email and news accouncements related to key updates.

Request an Informational Presentation

Currently, the Learning Platforms team is taking requests for informational presentations for your college, school, or department at learningplatforms@miami.edu.

This informational session will include an overview of the key benefits of the change, the support plan, and an opportunity to raise questions specific to your context.

(Preview sessions, workshops, hands-on sessions, and college-specific sessions will start in April and continue through fall 2021.)

Contact Learning Platforms