Gradebook filters, progress tracking, badges ready for Ultra

New course navigation & other enhancements coming in August

This upcoming FA2021 semester features new development in the Ultra gradebook, starting with gradebook filters. This function allows faculty to view data and content in the gradebook by multiple variables including individual student names, groups, gradable items, and categories. Faculty can bookmark their filters to reuse. Ultra gradebook filters mark an important feature parity with the smart view in an Original course's grade center.

New Ultra gradebook filters

Progress tracking is a brand new enhancement to Ultra courses, allowing students to manually mark and track their progress. This feature is especially helpful when learning modules are used in Ultra courses, providing students with both visual cues to identify where they are in their consumption and manual task to mark complete for course activities. As this is the first phase of progress tracking, this feature can only be enabled if the course has no activity. Please review the FAQ to enable this setting.

The achievements tool in Original courses allows instructors to designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both badges. The new Badgr integration for Ultra and Original courses replaces the achievements tool and provides a platform for faculty to reward and motivate students for project completion, skill proficiency, experience levels, and more. Watch for updates about an upcoming webinar later in August to learn more about this exiting new tool.

Other new features coming to Ultra include a redesigned navigation menu. The top menu has featured icons since Ultra launched several years ago, and lacked any contextual information. The new menu will be completely text based and relocated to the left side of the page, where it is more responsive for mobile access. Moreover, this location is sticky -- that is, the menu remains at the top even if you scroll down the page, allowing you to easily change your tool and page view. The Student Preview tool will also change its location to the top right corner, which is more consistent with Original courses.

Example of new Ultra navigation bar

The next update to our test environment will take place on August 10, 2021. Faculty who are interested in test driving new features before they are released to production should open an RT ticket to request early access. Please watch the FAQs and myUMBC for additional information about Ultra or join our What's New in Ultra Courses for Teaching & Learning webinar on August 18.

As always, if you have any questions about teaching, learning, and technology at UMBC, please consider the following options:

Posted: July 27, 2021, 8:50 AM