Blackboard Ultra Course View

Blackboard Ultra Course View (UCV or "ultra courses") is an entirely re-designed approach to Blackboard courses, both for instructors to create content and students to participate in courses. It is distinct from Original Course View (OCV or "original courses") which is Blackboard's name for courses as they currently exist. It is also distinct from Ultra Base Navigation (UBN), which refers to the new menu structure that was enabled at Syracuse during the summer of 2021. 

ITS and Online Learning Services (OLS) have been working to test and configure ultra courses, create support documentation, design training materials, and develop a rollout plan in conversation with campus partners. We are committed to a diligent rollout that ensures support is in place if and when an instructor converts from original to ultra courses. 

Features

Ultra courses provide a number of usability enhancements for both instructors and students. However, there are some features that exist in original courses that are either not yet available in ultra courses or will not be enabled in ultra course. This document is focused on some key benefits of ultra courses, but is not exhaustive. Instructors should refer to our feature comparison for help in deciding whether their course is a good candidate for conversion from original to ultra.

Please see the feature comparison for more specifics about the differences between individual tools in Ultra Course View and Original Course View.

User Interface Benefits

The following are look-and-feel benefits for ultra courses:

Easier Content Creation and Editing

Ultra courses include workflow improvements for instructors such as:

Communication Tools

Ultra courses enable new ways to communicate with your students or them to communicate with one another:

Student Evaluation

The gradebook in ultra courses has been redesigned to include more options for its display and re-organized workflows:

Access

Access to ultra course sandboxes is now being provided on request. Please email help@syr.edu to request a test course if you are interested in exploring the new features. Keep an eye on this page for more information about ultra course documentation and trainings offered by OLS.

Timeline

The timeline below describes some of the work already completed on the path to enabling ultra courses at Syracuse University and articulates current goals for enabling ultra courses more broadly. It is subject to change based on the findings in each phase.

Instructors interested in exploring Blackboard Ultra Course View should register for the Ultra Course View Orientation created by Online Learning Services

TermDevelopmentImpact
Summer 2018Transition from hosting Blackboard on-campus to a cloud-based version.The transition from self-hosting to a version hosted in the cloud allows for more frequent bug-fixes and updates with less downtime along with the ability to enable Blackboard's newest features as they are released.
Summer 2021Ultra Base Navigation is enabled.This changed the look-and-feel of Blackboard immediately upon login, along with the way that users navigated their courses. This is a required step toward enabling Ultra Course View and introduced new ways of interacting with Blackboard at the top-level. It greatly improved Blackboard's accessibility and the way that it functions on mobile devices. There are additional benefits in this navigation level that are only realized once instructors begin using Ultra Course View. 
Spring 2022Ultra Course View sandboxes are made available by request.Instructors interested in exploring the features of ultra course view can request a sandbox site to experiment in by emailing help@syr.edu. Exploration is welcome but unsupported at present.

Summer 2022

Ultra Course View training is delivered to selected  users.Online Learning Services is partnering with select instructors, primary SITETL alumni, to get feedback on ultra course view settings and training materials. Selected instructors will complete a three-week training program and share their experiences with the new view in preparation for a broader rollout. 
Fall 2022Ultra Course View is used by selected instructors in credit-bearing courses. 

A vanguard group of instructors that have completed ultra course training had their courses converted from original to ultra for their credit bearing courses. They are working closely with Online Learning Services for support. Their experiences will inform decisions about system configuration, priority for support documentation, additional training needs, and the timeline for a broader rollout on campus.