Blackboard Ultra Experience

About Blackboard Ultra

Blackboard Ultra is the next generation of the Blackboard Learn learning management system. Bb Ultra is built from the ground up, focusing on a mobile-first design. The design highlights layers of content and cross-course information.

The Ultra Experience is more personalized, proactive, and intuitive for faculty and students, providing a new navigation and activity stream with:

  • Quick access to the most critical information to easily stay updated and take action
  • Cross-course perspective to eliminate the need for educators and learners to dig inside individual courses for information (e.g. an activity feed, grades, calendar, messages, etc.)
  • Fast access to other resources “outside the course” (e.g., organizations, system announcements, tools, etc.)

The Ultra experience is consistent in design across the learning management system itself, Blackboard Ultra Courses, Blackboard Collaborate, and the Bb Student mobile app.

Why Blackboard Ultra

In July 2015, Blackboard announced the The Ultra Experience (UX). Since 2000, UMBC has maintained the Original Experience environment using Bb Learn 9.1.  Tools have been added, upgraded, or retired over the years, with the exception of Blackboard Collaborate, which was deployed in the Ultra Experience to all courses in WT2017.

During the Summer 2017 term, DoIT announced the transition to Blackboard’s cloud-based architecture to update our system with little to no downtime, increase the scale the system in response to load, and increase services when demand is high. The transition to Blackboard cloud was also a technical requirement to evaluate and subsequently migrate to Blackboard’s future systems using the Ultra Experience.

The Ultra Experience is the first completely cloud-based system from Blackboard, representing a new focus on improved workflows and deep integrations to support teaching and learning. Whether a design aesthetic or intuitive tools, the Ultra Experience provides a clear, personalized interface to focus on the learning process. Embedded analytics keep students informed about their progress and tell quantitative stories about learning. The new interface provides a more seamless transition between mobile and desktop, allowing students to move between app and browser. Each month, Blackboard releases new tools and improvements to the Ultra Experience, allowing faculty to quickly innovate. Although the original experience we currently use will be supported in the near future with some modest development, the future of Blackboard is in Ultra.

We’re very excited to introduce the Ultra Experience to you over the next 18 months. We hope you will join us at an Ultra roadmap or demo, or attend a training session. As you explore the new interface, redesign your content, or take classes, please tell us how you use Ultra to enhance and improve the way you teach and learn.