Ultra Course - Documents

The "Document" item provides Instructors the ability to create multimedia content and resources for their students. 

Ultra documents are designed to support smooth integration of text, image, video, hyperlinks, and other multimedia elements. While file attachments, links, etc can be added to the course content area as independent objects, as a general guideline embedding these objects within an Ultra document will give you more options for tracking and managing student engagement with the course materials.

Creating a Document

To create a new document, open the course content area and scroll to the location where you want the new document to appear. Hover your cursor near the center of the line until the purple plus (+) "add content" icon appears, then click "(+) Create" from the menu and select "Document" from the pop-out panel that appears on the right.

using the cursor to select the add icon, Create option, and selecting the Document item form the side panel that appears.            

Formatting the Document

When "Document" is selected, a blank template will appear. At the top (from left to right) you will find an editable text field to title the document, a dropdown menu to adjust student visibility of the document, and the document settings (indicated by the gear icon).

When a document is first created, three options will be presented:
"Add Content": (More information will be provided on this below)

"Upload from Computer": This option gives you the option to upload a file that students can view and/or download

"Upload from Cloud Storage": This option allows you to attach files that may exist within your Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc. These uploads can also be marked for viewing and/or downloading by students in the course.

Whereas older versions of Blackboard only allowed attached files to be downloaded for viewing, Blackboard Ultra allows students and instructors to view attached files within the embedded frame if "View Only" or "View & Download" is selected upon uploading. 

a blank Document template with options to Add or Upload content.

Text/Content Editor

When "Add Content" is selected, a text editor field will appear that provides text formatting option.

Text is not the only content that can be added here, however. To the far right of the text formatting, four additional options appear to add content (indicated by numbered arrows on the image to the right):

  1. The link icon allows you to create a hyperlink within the text area.
  2. The paperclip icon allows you to attach a file that will be embedded in the course (can be designated for viewing and/or downloading).
  3. The picture icon allows you to embed an image file.
  4. The "+" icon displays a dropdown menu that provides a list of other content options including Math Icons/Formulas, Images from URL, YouTube videos, Cloud Storage, Content Collection, and any integrations from the Content Market (such as Kaltura).

This text/content editor interface also appears when creating discussions, assignments, or anywhere else that text, media, or attached files can be added in an Ultra course. A more detailed overview of all the text and media formatting options can be found on this dedicated Answers page

The text editor field that appears when Add Content is selected. Numbered arrows 1 through 4 identify different multimedia options.

Developing a Multimedia Document

Some instructors may have several different files/sources/readings in different information mediums that they wish to share on a single subject. Documents can be used to consolidate items that are meant to be read together into one multimedia document for simpler viewing and a more cohesive learning experience. 

Once text, attachments, and/or content items have been added to the text field, select the black "Save" button in the lower right hand corner. This will save all added text/items as a section of the document.

By hovering the mouse above or below the section, a purple + icon will appear. Selecting this icon will add another text field with all the same formatting and media options. Instructors can continue to add sections in this way to create multimedia documents for their course.

a cursor hovering below a document section to select the add icon, displaying a new text field.

Document Settings and Description

The Ultra course view is designed to make scrolling through content faster and more intuitive than original course view. To do this, Ultra limits the visual size of each item within the layout of the content area. By default, an Ultra document displays only a title and header icon when viewed in the course content list. This is a significant change from how items were viewed in original courses, where the entire contents of an item were displayed within its parent folder. In Ultra courses, documents must be opened to display their full contents. You can add a short text description to display in the document header by using the gear icon in the upper right to edit the document settings. The description is limited to 750 characters of plain text - paragraph breaks, bulleted lines, etc will not display properly.

The document settings also include the option to enable class conversations. This option creates a limited, ungraded discussion attached to the document. Users will see a purple alert icon next to the document title in the content list to indicate that conversations are enabled. This is a useful tool for allowing students to leave questions or comments about a reading, lecture, file, etc that is shared within a document. This document has conversations enabled - click the speech bubble icon in the top right to view and respond to the conversation.

The "Goals & standards" feature is a program/curriculum-level planning tool and is not in active use by any college or department at SU.

document settings, including the option to add a class conversation and to add a description to the document.

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