Step 1: Learn About Ultra Course Experience
Attend an Introduction to Ultra webinar to get started. Online sessions are offered monthly by both eLIS and Blackboard. View the Ultra Events calendar to find an orientation session.
Review the Ultra Tutorials or contact eLIS@lesley.edu.
Step 2: Review Your Original Course
What tools and features are you using?
Most tools and features are available in Ultra, but this is a significant redesign of Blackboard. Things have changed! You may need, or want, to rethink an assignment or workflow based on Ultra features. The Ultra Course View Feature Guide compares Original to Ultra and notes the differences.
Do you have nested folders more than 2 levels deep?
Ultra only allows two levels of folders to ensure students can more easily navigate your course regardless of device and don’t get lost. If you have deeply nested folders, you will need to reorganize this content.
How much content do you plan to change or update?
The answer may affect whether you convert your entire course to Ultra, copy some parts and rebuild others, or rebuild the whole course from scratch. Converting Your Course to Ultra reviews the converting options
Step 3: Create Your Transition Plan
Timeframes for converting to Ultra can vary widely depending on the amount of content you plan to update and your course delivery mode. For example, if you teach in-person and mainly upload your syllabus and reading, you may be ready to teach your Ultra course in a week or two. However, if you teach a fully online, asynchronous course and plan to make significant changes, it may take 8-12 weeks.
This table will provide some general guidelines, but your mileage may vary. Converting Your Course to Ultra describes each option in more detail.
|Good Options if…||Estimated Time|
|Convert||In-Person, Virtual Synchronous, Hyflex||Content is mainly uploaded documents and links to websites
Content is organized with few nested folders
Few or no unsupported tools or features
No significant changes to course content.
|Copy||In-Person, Virtual Synchronous, Hyflex, Hybrid, Online Asynchronous||Some content will be redesigned or reorganized
Some content will be reused from a prior course and new content will be created
Content will be reused from more than one prior course.
|Create||In-Person, Virtual Synchronous, Hyflex, Hybrid, Online Asynchronous||Significant amount of content will be redesigned due to pedagogy or Ultra features
Folder organization is heavily nested
Accessibility issues need to be addressed
Many assignments use unsupported tools
Which is the best approach?
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Allow yourself as much time as possible to prepare your course for Ultra, no matter which path you choose. Preparing to teach any course often takes longer than we expect and the unexpected always happens.
It is highly recommended that you meet with eLIS to review your plan. They can help review your course for areas that will need attention and provide training and resources for both you and your future Ultra students.
Real World Scenario: If you are trying to get the first couple of weeks uploaded and then work on it as you’re teaching, please allow at least 1 – 3 Weeks of prep time and contact eLIS as needed.
Step 4: Attend Training and Practice with Ultra
Both eLIS and Blackboard offer monthly training webinars. There are also many tutorials available. View Ultra Tutorials to find links to both live and on demand options.
Meet with someone from eLIS for a consultation or request custom training for a group of faculty.
Convert your ‘my space’ course in myLesley to Ultra. Your ‘my space’ is a digital sandbox course that only you are enrolled in. You can practice using Blackboard Ultra, experiment, and create content to copy to your future Ultra course.
Step 5: Implement your plan/Build Your Ultra course
Start creating or copying your content in your Ultra course. It may help you to create a calendar item each week to work on your course.
Regularly review your course in Student Preview to fully understand how your students will experience it. This will also help you catch details around navigation you had not noticed before.
Step 6: Prepare your students for Ultra
This will be a new experience for your students. Create an announcement letting them know that this course will be in Ultra. Link to the Ultra Student Quickstart Guide to provide tutorials for key Ultra tools. Reassure them that Ultra is intuitive and easy to use and that everyone will be learning together.
Step 7: Teach your Ultra course
Your course content is up and your students are accessing the course. Now you just need to teach it.
- Communicate with your students using Announcements and Messages.
- Create and share videos using Kaltura media.
- Manage online discussions including responding, searching, and grading.
- Grade your students’ work and track their progress in the course.