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Creating Consistency in Course Sections with Ultra Templates

Templates available for course or department Ultra adoption

Since Fall 2018, the default Blackboard course template has had the Ultra Course Preview setting enabled, which allows faculty to convert a new Original course to see what it looks like in Ultra and adopt Ultra. During the Fall 2021 semester, 735 courses adopted the Ultra Course View, the largest adoption of Ultra courses to date. 

A significant increase in adoption of Ultra has come from individual faculty converting their courses. Though, there are a growing number of departments and program coordinators that are intentionally creating Ultra courses templates which has also increased Ultra adoption. These templates allow instructors to receive a copy of content, materials, and assessments natively designed in Ultra for their specific courses. All sections are created from one template that is updated and maintained by a course coordinator to ensure consistency in curriculum, program outcomes, and course design.

Customized Ultra Templates

English 100:

Beginning in Spring 2022, ENGL 100 courses will utilize an Ultra template that has materials and assessments pre-populated by program coordinators, following an opt-in pilot of the Ultra template that began in Fall 2020. Content includes library resources, grammar tutorials, self-check quizzes, and resources to improve scholarly writing.


Since Fall 2020, IHU courses have employed a Blackboard Ultra template that includes 19 weeks worth of content, including CourseArc modules co-created by campus offices and faculty partners. The shell allows for part-time instructors to choose content that is suitable for their course and utilize pre-made assessments that align with course learning objectives. 


Leveraging open educational resources, the first year of Spanish language courses (101-102-103) uses an Ultra template that integrates content and assessments across several learning modules for students to complete. Likewise, the second year of Spanish language courses (201-202) also uses an Ultra template with content and assessments from the McGraw-Hill Connect platform. 

Department Adoption of Ultra

Even if customized templates may not be of interest, departments can request to receive a default UMBC Ultra template. The Ultra template means that faculty receive Ultra course shells natively, and are not required to complete the steps to convert new Original shells. FREN 101 is utilizing the UMBC Ultra template, and the Theatre Department is the first department to make the switch from Original to the new Ultra template. 

Next Steps

If your department is interested in a customized template or receiving the UMBC Ultra template, please place an RT ticket to get in touch with an Instructional Technology Specialist. Our staff will work with you to determine the next steps and design an appropriate timeline for your department to make the transition. 

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

~ by Mariann Hawken & Collin Sullivan

Posted: December 15, 2021, 1:55 PM