What’s New in Ultra?

Blackboard has recently tripled its development team for Ultra courses. New features and improvements are released every month! Some of these new features are large updates with completely new functionality. Others are small enhancements that improve workflows and your experience teaching and learning in Ultra.

You can view all the details on Blackboard’s “What’s New in Learn Ultra” site.

Recent Highlights We Think You Will Love

Flexible Grading (August 2023)

Flexible grading is Blackboard’s new, more efficient grading experience. It was developed in collaboration with hundreds of instructors to make grading and providing student feedback faster and more intuitive.

Flexible Grading in an Assignment

Flexible grading will allow you to:

  • Grade by question or student.
  • Easily switch between student attempts
  • Keep track of your grading process.
  • View both the attempt and the final grade for each assessment.
  • Provide meaningful feedback, with or without a rubric.
  • Grade student submissions directly within Blackboard. No need to download documents.
  • Collapse side panels to maximize screen real estate.
  • Post all grades when you’re ready.

View a video of Flexible Grading.

Images for Learning Modules (August 2023)

You can now add a thumbnail image to your learning modules. These images will allow you to enhance the visual aesthetics of your course and may aid in content identification.

Sample Learning Module with image

Find out more about creating learning modules and adding your own images: Create Learning Modules.

Access to Groups in Top Navigation Bar (August 2023)

To provide a better user experience, Groups has been moved to the top navigation bar. This improves the visibility of the tool and provides easier access to Groups from anywhere in the course.

Link to Groups in top navigation

Find out more about creating and using Groups: Create Groups.

Resizing Images and Videos (July 2023)

You may now resize most media items in your course. To resize your image or video, simply click on a corner handle and drag it to your desired size. At this time, all media is aligned to the center of the page, though other alignment options may be coming in a future release.

Please note that we do not recommend uploading video directly into your myLesley content. Continue to use Kaltura Media to upload videos (including Zoom recordings).resize images within Ultra content by dragging corner handles

Announcements in Top Navigation (June 2023)

To provide a better user experience, Announcements now appear in the top navigation bar. This improves the visibility of the tool and allows you and your students to easily access Announcements from anywhere in the course.Announcements in Ultra top navigation

Drag and drop desktop folders to upload to the Course Content page (May 2023)

Instructors can now upload an entire folder of files to their course by dragging that folder directly from their computer to the Course Content page.
drag a folder from your computer to your Blackboard Course Content page.

Course Activity Report Improvements (March 2023)

Faculty can now view the number of days since a student last accessed the course, view their preferred pronouns and name pronunciation, and message the student directly from the report.
Course activity report with new features

No Discussion Activity After Due Date (Jan 2023)
Faculty can choose to freeze discussion activity once a due date has passed. Students can still view the discussion, but cannot post or reply. Students with a due date accommodation can continue to submit posts after the due date. Select “Stop discussion activity after due date” in the Discussion Settings to apply.
Instructor view of the

Hot Spot Question Type in Tests that is fully accessible (Nov 2022)
Faculty can create test questions where students must mark a certain area of the image to answer the question… and now in Ultra this question type is accessible using keyboard controls. Watch the video to see it in action.
image of hotspot question

Warnings and Auto Save on Tests for Lost Connections (Nov 2022)
Ultra assessments detect internet connection is lost and will then warn students.
Connection lost. Latest changes weren't saved. Check your internet connection.

Student Progress Report for Course Content (Oct 2022)
Instructors can see if students have engaged with course content and then take action if needed.
image of student progress report

Math Formulas accessible with screen readers (Oct 2022)
Instructors and students who use screen readers can access math formulas when creating, editing, and viewing content.
Math formulas added with the math editor and LaTeX equations read with screen readers