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Deeper Feedback Options & Anon Discussions in Ultra

Improvements to grade calculations with BigFraction update

The April update to Ultra features several enhancements designed to improve the teaching and learning experience. This update, driven by user feedback from UMBC and the broader global community, expands the platform's capabilities to meet the evolving needs of faculty and students. It includes a range of new features such as improved feedback mechanisms, streamlined assessment creation, enhanced course navigation tools, and AI-assisted course design. These changes aim to provide instructors with more intuitive and efficient tools to support their teaching efforts while ensuring students have essential access to course content and assessment outcomes.

Additionally, the software library used to perform calculations in calculated columns and the overall course grade changed to BigFraction. When calculating an average of three assessments, BigFraction will properly calculate whereas the former software library, BigDecimal, would round down. The new software library ensures calculations compute as expected. 

Feedback Improvements
Assessment & Grading Enhancements
  • Instructors can now select Duplicate to quickly copy an existing question within a test, assignment, form, or question bank, eliminating the need for manual duplication.
  • The default point value for test questions is reduced from 10 to 1. Any newly created questions will have a default point value of 1. 
  • The flexible grading interface now displays a single grade pill to provide a more intuitive grading workflow. A single grade pill improves visibility and efficiency, allows instructors to switch between a student's attempts during grading, and prevents accidental grade overrides.
  • The Attempt Log indicates whether a submission is manual or automatic to provide instructors with deeper insights into student behaviors and better track student progress. 
Content Improvements
Last month's update to the AI Course Design Assistant featured a context picker for test question generation, allowing instructors to select content in a course to inform AI generation of test questions. In April, the context picker is extended to other generation workflows including learning module structures and suggested prompts for assignments, discussions, and journals. For example, instructors can select an Ultra document or file attachment and the AI Course Design Assistant will scan the resource before generating a proposed output. In the case of a syllabus, the tools can better propose a structure that aligns to the course schedule by using the instructor's existing content. All AI tools are optional and only available to instructors.

Image 1 Example of context picker workflow where the course syllabus has been selected.
Image 1: Example of context picker workflow where the course syllabus has been selected.

Faculty should see the latest updates in Ultra courses around April 4-5, 2024. The next update to our Ultra test environment will take place on April 9, 2024; release notes are posted to the What's New in Ultra that same week. 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, including the What's New with Ultra pageand myUMBC for additional information about Ultra. 

Connect with Instructional Technology
As always, if you have any questions about teaching, learning, and technology at UMBC, please consider the following options:
Thumbnail-image: New to Ultra

Posted: March 26, 2024, 12:02 PM