← Back to News List

WT/SP2024 Courses Created in Blackboard on November 29, 2023

Blackboard course shells for WT2024 and SP2024 were created on November 29, 2023.

The Ultra Course Preview setting is enabled in WT/SP2024 courses, which allows faculty to preview OR convert a new Original course to Ultra. The recommendation, however, is to create a new course to optimize the design.

Many departments have opted into Ultra into Ultra to ensure a consistent approach for their students, which means those courses will start with Ultra by default rather than Original -- please check with your department as this list has grown.


  • For consistency of instructional technology support, WT/SP2024 courses created in Blackboard on/after January 1, 2024 will be created in Ultra by default.
  • The last day we will support Blackboard Original is December 31, 2024.

Tool Updates

Several third-party integrations have planned updates for the end of FA2023. Instructional Technology recommends holding off on adding these tools to your courses until after December 22, 2023. Improvements to the integrations often provide deeper synchronization and support for content, assessment, and grading. These tool updates include:

  • December 21: Panopto, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, Vista Higher Learning
  • January 2: Aktiv, Lumen Learning, WileyPLUS

Accessibility & AI

Plan your accessibility and Universal Design for Learning strategy before students begin working with course materials. Ally, an accessibility tool, is enabled in all course shells. Ally automatically scans uploaded and created course content, then performs a series of steps to make that content more accessible. Please review the Ally FAQs for more information about the accessibility indicators on course content and alternative formats, or attend a training session.

The AI Course Design Assistant Tools will be available in Ultra courses for WT/SP2024 as of December 13, 2023. These tools are limited to the instructor role in an Ultra course. All capabilities are opt-in and the instructor is always in control of the content generated. Learn more at an upcoming preview session, join the Ultra AI Tools workshop or review the documentation.

Online Teaching & Learning

For faculty who will be teaching hybrid or online, the instructional technology team would like to share several resources to support online course development and instruction.

  1. Choose from our PIVOT Solo lessons to refresh or enhance your online teaching preparation. Five key topics cover course organization, active learning, community building, assessment, and supporting students. 
  2. Explore our Panopto folder for a wide variety of recorded webinars on various instructional technologies available at UMBC.
  3. Learn about the Quality Matters Impact program, a new initiative to formally recognize courses that meet Quality Matters standards and demonstrate exemplary online/hybrid course design.
About Course Creation

Bb shells for WT/SP2024 are available for all courses (designated as lecture, lab, field or discussion) listed in the UMBC Schedule of Classes (SOC), provided that there is an instructor of record listed. As new course sections and/or instructors are added to the SOC by Department Scheduling Coordinators, corresponding Bb shells are automatically generated overnight. 
  • If you are an instructor, and your name is not associated with the course you are teaching in the SOC, please see your Departmental Scheduling Coordinator to resolve the issue. Once you are listed in the SOC, your Bb course shell will be created automatically. 
  • If you and your Department Scheduling Coordinator believe you are correctly assigned as the instructor of record in the SOC and you do not see your course shell in Blackboard, please submit a Request Tracker (RT) ticket via my.umbc.edu/help.
  • If you need a Bb shell for a research or independent study course, please submit a new course request.

Split/Merge Requests: Instructors who teach multiple sections of the same course will find those enrollments merged into one Bb course shell. These sections may be split upon request by an RT ticket, which we recommend submitting at least one week before the semester starts, if not as soon as courses are created in Blackboard.

Student enrollment in Bb mirrors the official registration in SA and updates hourly. However, courses are not accessible to students by default until the instructor of record makes them available.

Connect with Instructional Technology

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

Posted: November 30, 2023, 9:08 AM