Four exciting updates come to Ultra for winter courses. Grading enhancements for journals, test feedback release settings, an updated content editor, and support for HTML content are new features for Ultra courses.
Journals - Instructors can clearly see when students post new journals and comments, and can view a single submission. Instructors can also use Ultra’s grading tools, including feedback and rubrics, to create and post grades. Both participation and submission views link to the gradebook. By default, students will be allowed to delete and edit their journal entries and comments, but instructors can also now choose to disable this permission.
Tests - Instructors can enable more granular controls on when and what type of feedback is given to students when taking an assessment. Set up timed release to automated question feedback, correct answers, and question scores. Select when to show feedback: after submission, after due date, at a specific date, or after the assessment is graded. Students will see if and when feedback will be available for a specific assessment after they submit an attempt.
Gradebook - In the Student List View, instructors will receive additional search capabilities, column sorting options, and enhanced page controls for both large and small devices.
Formatting tools - Format content in a variety of different ways, including font colors, font sizes, and font style. A redesigned tool base provides a secondary bar that displays additional options, which is helpful on smaller screens. Students and faculty will see these changes everywhere they encounter the rich text editor in Ultra courses. (available January 7, 2021)
HTML Content Block in Ultra Documents
- Instructors can create, edit, and delete custom HTML/CSS code blocks in Ultra course documents. Instructors can select Add HTML when creating a document to add their own HTML and CSS and fully customize the appearance of their Ultra course documents. See example 1 and example 2. NOTE: Use of this feature requires 1) knowledge of HTML to create this type of content and 2) back-end creation on supporting systems, which are in development on UMBC's Blackboard site. We expect this functionality to be available for SP2021.
Finally, a new feature for support will deploy in early January, allowing users to provide critical information to DoIT staff in the event a technical issue must be escalated to Blackboard. Currently, there isn’t an easy way to capture what a user was doing at the time an issue occurred. With this update, users will now be able to capture their most recent session data -- the last 30 actions the taken in Blackboard -- and send it to DoIT staff, which can be used to identify root issues or escalate to Blackboard support. This feature will be available in the Support Panel as well as anywhere the “Oops! Your name is not on the list” message can occur.
Faculty who are interested in test driving new features before they are released to production should open an RT ticket to request early access.
As always, if you have any questions about teaching, learning, and technology at UMBC, please consider the following options: