This page contains a comparison of features and terminology currently existing on Learn Ultra and Learn Original. 


Learn Ultra vs Learn Original Highlights

A lady checking progress between two system windows with a green checkmark

We are providing this comparison of features and terms in both Learn Ultra and Original. Our goal is to support as you explore what Learn has to offer for teaching and learning. We consulted several pages made by interested and proactive Learn users to create this reference. We have added additional information, research, designs, and development roadmaps.

For more information see also: 

More on Learn Instructor Original Experience | More on Learn Instructor Ultra Experience | Blackboard Release Notes for Learn SaaS | Blackboard Learn 9.1 release notes | Blackboard Learn SaaS release schedule | Previous Ultra vs. Original table comparison

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Filter the list of features to ease your research.

Achievements - Badgr Spaces

Available with limitations

Achievements versus Badgr Spaces
Original Ultra Details and comments
Achievements Badger Spaces

With the new Badgr integration in Ultra Course View, you can issue digital badges that recognize student achievement and allow them to granularly share their skills outside of Blackboard.
Access the integration from Books & Tools > Details & Actions panel by selecting the View course & institution tools link, then the plus (+) icon next to Badgr.

You cannot create and issue certificates using the Badgr integration, but participants can print their badge as a certificate via Badgr.

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Adaptive Release - Release Conditions

Available with limitations

Adaptive release versus Release conditions
Original Ultra Details and comments
Adaptive release Release conditions

Items can be made available based on date and time, performance (such as a grade on another item), and by individual or group membership.

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Anonymous Grading

Available

Anonymous grading
Original Ultra Details and comments
Anonymous grading Anonymous grading

You must choose this option for each individual Assignment and Discussion you create.

You cannot grade tests anonymously.

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Announcements - Course Announcements

Available

Anouncements versus Course announcements
Original Ultra Details and comments
Announcements Course announcements

To create an announcement, select your Ultra Course > Details and Actions > Announcements. Announcements can be scheduled in advance. Announcements appear in a pop-up box when students enter the course and cannot include any formatting (plain-text only).

Announcements in Ultra can also be sent to students via email.

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Attendance

Available

Attendance
Original Ultra Details and comments
Attendance Attendance

Access Attendance by selecting Details and Actions > Attendance in your Ultra course. Functions and features are identical to Original Course View.

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Blogs

Anticipated in 2023

Blogs
Original Ultra Details and comments
Blogs Not yet

Not yet developed, but planned for Ultra Course View and still available in Original Course View.

Use Discussion Board in Blackboard or an external blogging platform like Wordpress.

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Calendar

Available

Calendar
Original Ultra Details and comments
Calendar Calendar

Select the Calendar icon at the top of an Ultra course to access. Additional capabilities are planned.

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Collaborate

Available

Collaborate
Original Ultra Details and comments
Collaborate Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate course room and scheduler are available in the Ultra course > Details and Actions area. When a session is in progress, the Collaborate link will flash purple for all users.

Collaborate sessions are also integrated with Assignments designated for Group submission, so that group members have a space to meet.

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Contacts

Discontinued

Contacts
Original Ultra Details and comments
Contacts --

Not available in Ultra and not planned.

Use Profile feature to add a photo of yourself and update who can view. your profile information. Full name and email address are automatically updated. To share additional information within each individual course, you can create a Document (page) with information you would have included in your Contacts profile. Information about office hours can be added to the Calendar.

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Content Collection

Available

Content collection
Original Ultra Details and comments
Content Collection Content Collection

To access the Content Collection, select Tools in the left-hand menu on the Blackboard landing page. Additional capabilities are planned.

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Content Editor

Available

Content editor
Original Ultra Details and comments
Content Editor Content Editor

The content (text) editor in Ultra includes the ability to format text, add images, embed YouTube videos, and build equations.

It does not include the ability to directly edit the html code, to ensure the text is accessible and mobile-compatible.

You can create HTML content blocks in a Document.

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Course Banner - Course Image

Available

Course Banner versus Course Image
Original Ultra Details and comments
Course Banner Course Image

When a Course Image is set, it is displayed as the Course Tile on the Courses page in the base navigation. It can also be toggled on to be displayed as a course banner.

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Course Menu

Discontinued

Course Menu
Original Ultra Details and comments
Course Menu Course Content page

In the Ultra Course View, there is no course menu. All of the content is listed on a single page, to make it easier for students to navigate, and links to course tools are organized in the Details and Actions area or along the top right of the page. Content can be organized using folders and learning modules, which open and close.

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Course Reports - Student Activity

Available with limitations

Course Reports - Student Activity
Original Ultra Details and comments
Course Reports Student Activity

The Ultra Course View does not include the same course reports as the Original Course View, but other reports are available.

The Student Activity report summarizes student activity on an Assignment or Test. Access it by selecting the three dots next to the Assignment or Test and choose Student Activity from the menu. This provides information about whether students have opened the assessment, how long they had it open, and their grade. Select the three stripes above the list of students to reveal date opened, started, time from start to finish, and grade. You can also download the student activity details as an Excel spreadsheet.

There is currently no way to view information on when or how often students have accessed the content in the course. This feature is in development as part of a larger project related to tracking course progress and is anticipated in summer 2022.

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Date Management - Bulk Edit

Available with limitations

Date Management versus Bulk Edit
Original Ultra Details and comments
Date Management Bulk Edit

Date Management has been replaced with the Bulk Edit tool in which you can bulk edit content due dates and visibility. You can also delete multiple course items from Batch Edit. Additional capabilities are planned.

You can only edit within a single folder at a time; you cannot bulk edit items within and across folders at the same time. You can, however, edit all top-level folders, learning modules, and course materials at the same time.

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Delegated Grading - Parallel Grading

Available with limitations

Delegated grading versus Parallel grading
Original Ultra Details and comments
Delegated Grading Parallel Grading

Currently, parallel grading allows for two (2) non-student course members to grade the same student submission and for a separate individual to reconcile the grades. Additional capabilities are planned.

There can be only 2 graders specified, graders cannot be assigned subsets of students (anticipated in 2023), graders cannot also be reconcilers, graders cannot see the rubrics/scores or feedback submitted by other graders, and students can only view the rubric/store and feedback submitted by the reconciler.

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Discussions

Available

Discussions
Original Ultra Details and comments
Discussions Discussions

Discussions can be created on the content page, such as in a folder or learning module, or they can be created directly on the Discussions page. Discussions have been flattened to reflect more modern discussion tools commonly used across the web. In the Ultra Course View, discussions with grading enabled have a detailed Discussion Analysis feature that provides insight on the level of complexity and critical thinking of a student's posts compared to their classmates. Additional capabilities are planned.

You cannot prevent students from editing or deleting their posts, but replies are not deleted when posts are deleted. Subscriptions are not available, but discussion posts are included in the Activity Stream and daily notifications. Discussions cannot be set to be anonymous.

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Edit Mode

Discontinued

Edit Mode
Original Ultra Details and comments
Edit Mode --

You are always in edit mode unless you have entered student preview.

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Embed Media or Mashup - Embed Media

Available with limitations

Embed Media or Mashup versus Embed Media
Original Ultra Details and comments
Embed Media or Mashup Embed Media

Images and web-based videos can be embedded within a Document (page) in the Ultra Course View.

Video can only be embedded from select sources, including YouTube and Vimeo. For other platforms, such as social media or news sites, you will need to simply create a link to the video or paste the embed code into an HTML block in a Document.

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Files - Upload or insert local files

Available

Files versus Upload or insert local files
Original Ultra Details and comments
Files Upload or insert local files

Upload files from desktop or cloud storage. Files can also be dragged and dropped into your course.

PDF files that are uploaded directly to the Course Content stream will open in a new tab, but all files that are uploaded as part of a Document do not open in the browser and must be downloaded and then opened from the computer.

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Folders

Available

Folders
Original Ultra Details and comments
Folders Folders

Folders organize content within the course outline, and open and close to make it easier for students to find specific files or Documents. Folders can have short descriptions to tell students what content is inside. Folders can be made visible or hidden to affect all of the content inside the folder.

In the Ultra Course View, folders can only be nested two (2) levels deep, but additional levels of folders are anticipated to become available in late-2022.

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Glossary

Discontinued

Glossary
Original Ultra Details and comments
Glossary --

Not available in Ultra and not planned.

As an alternative, you can create a web link to an external subject-matter glossary or upload the terms and definitions as a file.

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Goals

Available

Goals
Original Ultra Details and comments
Goals Goals and standards

Assessments can be aligned to specific Goals, including Assignments, Tests (including individual questions), Discussions, and Rubrics.

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Grade Center - Gradebook

Available with limitations

Grade Center - Gradebook
Original Ultra Details and comments
Grade Center Gradebook

Most grading functions are available in the Gradebook, which is accessed by clicking the icon of a paper and pencil in the upper right of the course. Additional capabilities are planned.

The default Gradebook view is a list of the graded items, and there is a grid view that is similar to the Grade Center in the Original Course View. Only in Ultra Course View, you can automatically assign zeroes (0) for assessments that are not submitted by the due date.

Grades are not visible to students by default in the Ultra Course View; you use Post when you have grades ready for your students to see. Overall grade now supports weighted, points-based overall grade calculation and advanced calculation in the upcoming 3900.46.0 release.

The Needs Grading view is discontinued. We now provide grading indicators in the Activity Stream and on the list view of the Gradebook.

Columns can't be sorted by clicking on the headers.

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Groups

Available with limitations

Groups
Original Ultra Details and comments
Groups Groups

Groups can be created manually or generated randomly. They can be created in three different places within a course and can be used for any of the following purposes:

  • Course Groups: Created in the Details & Actions area, these groups allow you to send Messages to a subset of students. These groups can be used for Discussions and Assignments and can be used to filter the Gradebook.
  • Discussion Groups: Created in the settings for a Discussion, these groups allow you to limit students to viewing and interacting in discussion only within their group. These groups can be used for Assignments but not for filtering the Gradebook.
  • Assignment Groups: Created in the settings for an Assignment, these groups allow students to make a single Assignment submission on behalf of their group and assigns the same grade to each member of the group (which you can override individually if necessary). With Course Conversations enabled on a group assignment, students can have asynchronous conversations or launch a Blackboard Collaborate session to work together on the assignment. You can use Assignment Groups for Discussions but not for filtering the Gradebook.

Students cannot see the other members in a Course Group; they can only see the other members of their discussion or assignment groups; enhancements to groups to support collaboration are planned.

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Item - Document

Available

Item versus Document
Original Ultra Details and comments
Item Document

The term "Document" refers to a page in Ultra that resembles a web page. Documents can include images, text, uploaded files, and HTML content. If you only need to add a file without accompanying text, use the Upload option instead.

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Item Analysis - Question Analysis

Available

Item Analysis versus Question Analysis
Original Ultra Details and comments
Item Analysis Question Analysis

Run Question Analysis for a single test by clicking the ellipsis (...) button next to it in the Course Content view, or by clicking the pie chart icon in the upper right. Additional capabilities are planned.

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Journals

Available

Journals
Original Ultra Details and comments
Journals Journals

Journals can be created by using the + menu to create content, selecting Participation and Engagement > Journal.

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Learning Modules

Available

Learning Modules
Original Ultra Details and comments
Learning Modules Learning Modules

Learning Modules can contain multiple files, Documents, Assignments, Tests, or Discussions. You can force students to view the content in a Learning Module sequentially by using Release Conditions and selecting the Sequence checkbox. This also allows students to track what they have completed in the module. Additional capabilities are planned.

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Lesson Plans

Discontinued

Lesson Plans
Original Ultra Details and comments
Lesson Plans --

Not available in Ultra and not planned.

You can use Learning Modules or Folders instead. Then, create Documents that house information that would have been in the Lesson Plan Content Information section (description, objectives, subject area). You can organize the order of items in your Learning Module or Folder however you want, and you can use Conditional Availability to force sequential viewing within a Learning Module. If you are using Lesson Plans as a planning tool only, you can follow the same steps above but keep the content hidden from students.

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Performance Dashboard

Research Stage

Performance Dashboard
Original Ultra Details and comments
Performance Dashboard In research

Blackboard is currently developing capabilities for tracking student progress and monitoring their performance.

As an alternative for now, you can view alerts within your Activity Stream, keep track of assignment submissions in the Gradebook, and view a single student’s grades by going to the Grid view in the Gradebook and searching for the student in the search bar in the upper-right section of the Gradebook under the course navigation icons (select the student’s name from the drop-down after searching and the grid will only show that student’s grades in a single row). You can view when students last accessed the course by switching to the student list view in the Gradebook.

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Publisher Integrations - Content Market

Available

Publisher Integrations versus Content Market
Original Ultra Details and comments
Publisher Integrations Content Market

Most publisher integrations are available in Ultra Course View. You should contact your publisher representative for more information.

If your publisher has not yet developed an integration for Ultra Course View, continue using Original Course View until it becomes available or use the publisher's website directly with the Ultra Course View (in which case you will need to manually enter data to the Blackboard Gradebook).

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Retention Center

Discontinued

Retention Center
Original Ultra Details and comments
Retention Center --

Not available in Ultra and not planned.

Many of the features of the Retention Center have been repurposed through the Activity Stream, where you will receive alerts for students falling behind, absent, and failing. You can no longer create rules for early alert criteria.

See Course Reports and Item Analysis for more information on ways to track student progress. Additional analytics and reporting features are planned.

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Roster

Available

Roster
Original Ultra Details and comments
Roster Roster

Available in the Details & Actions area within an Ultra course. You can view the full student roster, enroll a TA or another Instructor, or add an accommodation for a student (such as extended timers) that apply to all assessments in the course.

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Rubrics

Available

Rubrics
Original Ultra Details and comments
Rubrics Rubrics

Rubrics are available for all assessment types. Additional capabilities are planned.

Rubrics are limited to a maximum of fifteen rows and columns.

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SafeAssign

Available

SafeAssign
Original Ultra Details and comments
SafeAssign SafeAssign

SafeAssign is available for Assignments and for Essay questions on Tests. SafeAssign for Discussions is planned.

Ultra Course View does not include a method for direct submission; instead, create Assignments with SafeAssign enabled.

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SCORM

Available

SCORM
Original Ultra Details and comments
SCORM SCORM

To add a SCORM package in your Ultra course, select the plus sign (+) to add content, select Create > SCORM package > Upload SCORM package or Browse Content Collection.

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Self and Peer Assessment - Peer Review

Available with limitations

Self and Peer Assessment versus Peer Review
Original Ultra Details and comments
Self and Peer Assessment Peer Review

Assignments can now be designated for peer review. Select Peer Review in the Assignment settings, then set up peer review settings, such as the number of reviews per student and the due dates for initial submissions and peer reviews. Peer reviews are entirely anonymous, although the instructor is able to see the review assignments and who provided feedback.

Peer review does not include a mechanism for self-assessment. Peer review currently only allows qualitative feedback, although you can connect it with a rubric to guide the review process. Future capabilities are planned, including quantitative scoring.

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Send Email - Messages

Available

Send Email versus Messages
Original Ultra Details and comments
Send Email Messages

The updated Messages tool allows you to communicate with students via email. Messages retains a copy of the conversation in Blackboard and includes the option to send the contents to the student via email. To access Messages, select the envelope icon in the upper-right corner of the course or use the Messages link on the left-hand menu on the Institution Page. Additional capabilities are planned for sending messages based on course activity, course role, or group membership.

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SlideShare / Flickr Embed

Discontinued

SlideShare/Flickr Embed
Original Ultra Details and comments
SlideShare / Flickr Embed --

Not available in Ultra and not planned.

As an alternative you can create your slideshow (PowerPoint) or document and upload it to Blackboard directly or upload it to SlideShare and share the link to Blackboard. For Flickr images, search for the image on Flickr, copy the URL, and paste it to “Insert Image from Web” in editor (Document), but all files that are uploaded as part of a Document do not open in the browser and must be downloaded and then opened from the computer.

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Student Preview

Available

Student Preview
Original Ultra Details and comments
Student Preview Student Preview

Access via the Enter student preview mode button in the Details & Actions area within an Ultra course.
Click the ellipsis (...) menu in the upper-right corner to exit student preview.

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Surveys

Anticipated in 2023

Surveys
Original Ultra Details and comments
Surveys Not yet

Not yet developed, but planned for Ultra Course View and still available in Original Course View.

You can use an external anonymous survey site, such as Qualtrics or Microsoft Forms.

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Tasks

Research Stage

Tasks
Original Ultra Details and comments
Tasks Under review

Some use cases are met today with Progress Tracking and Activity Stream notifications. Other use cases are under review for further improvement.

The Activity Stream alerts students about upcoming due dates and assignments, and alerts you about their progress and participation.
Progress Tracking helps students determine whether they have completed course requirements.

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Tests and Pools - Tests and Question Banks

Available with limitations

Tests and Pools versus Tests and Question Banks
Original Ultra Details and comments
Tests and Pools Tests and Question Banks

Tests can include Calculated Formula, Essay, Fill-in-the-Blank (single or multiple), Matching, Multiple Choice (single or multiple correct answers), and True/False questions.
Questions can be reused from other Tests or from Question Banks (which are added in the Details & Actions area in an Ultra course).

Question Randomization: Questions can be displayed in random order for each student, and can be randomly assigned from a pool (e.g., each student receives 5 random questions from a set of 10 questions). Additional capabilities are planned.

Question Types Not Available: Calculated Numeric (available in April 2022), Either/Or (Use True/False or Multiple Choice instead), File Response (Use an Assignment instead), Hot Spot (anticipated in 2023), Jumbled Sentence, Opinion Scale/Likert (Use Multiple Choice instead), Ordering (Use Matching instead), Quiz Bowl, Short Answer (Use Essay instead).

Question Display Options: Questions are displayed all-at-once or one-question-at-a-time (available since the April 2022 release).  Prevent Backtracking is available since June 2022 for one-question-at-a-time display.

Feedback Display Options: After a test, if the test is available, students can see all questions on the test. A setting to prevent students from viewing their submission is available since the April 2022 release.

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VoiceThread

Available

VoiceThread
Original Ultra Details and comments
VoiceThread VoiceThread

Add through Content Market option under the plus menu (+) in Course Content or in the Books & Tools course menu item.

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Wikis

Discontinued

Wikis
Original Ultra Details and comments
Wikis --

Not available in Ultra and not planned.

You can use Microsoft OneDrive for collaborative writing and editing, or try Microsoft OneNote for a shared space for note-taking. Use Google Sites or Weebly to have students create a website, or try a dedicated wiki tool available online.

Additional integrations with OneDrive for collaborative document editing are anticipated in 2022 and 2023.

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The original content and layout idea for this page was inspired by a similar page from the Northern Illinois University website, and recommended to us by one of our instructors from the Ultra Advisory Board.

A person showing a set up checklist

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