Blackboard Learn Ultra – an improved version of Blackboard Learn

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What is Blackboard Learn Ultra?

Blackboard Learn Ultra is the new, enhanced version of Blackboard Learn, our university Virtual Learning Environment. It retains aspects that you are familiar with but has a more usable and intuitive interface, and introduces new features and functionality – things that we know you have been asking for.

Blackboard Learn Ultra logo

Why are we moving to it?

Blackboard Learn is used extensively by our students, academic colleagues and professional staff to support and enable the teaching and learning experience.  It provides a central hub for materials, resources and learning activities, and for assessment submission, marking and feedback.

The current version we use is no longer being developed and means moving to Ultra is critical to continuing to improve the experience of using Blackboard Learn for you and your students. Many other universities are now moving to Ultra.

How is this being done and when?

A project has started to implement Blackboard Learn Ultra at Reading by the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team in the Centre for Quality Support and Development (CQSD) and Digital Technology Services (DTS).  The project is sponsored by Professor Elizabeth McCrum, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education and Student Experience).

The Blackboard Learn Ultra project timeline is aligned with the implementation of the Portfolio Review Pathway (PRP).  This means that when you are producing your modules ready to be taught in 2024/25, you can also consider the new features and options in Blackboard Learn Ultra. The plan is for:

  • The start of Academic year 2023/24: All Blackboard Organisations (for supporting learning beyond a module) will be using Blackboard Learn Ultra.
  • The start of Academic year 2024/25: Blackboard Courses (for all modules) will be using Blackboard Learn Ultra to correspond with when the new PRP-redesigned modules will start being taught.

What next?

Further information about the timeline and what this means for you will follow over the next few months.

We will keep you updated with regular communications and through our project website, which you will be able to access any time to find out about latest activity and news.

A comprehensive programme of staff development including demonstrations, guidance and training will be available to support and enable you to take advantage of what Ultra has to offer.

  • Vicki Holmes (Head of Technology Enhanced Learning)
  • Elizabeth McCrum (Pro-Vice Chancellor, Education and Student Experience)

*This info was sent out to all Blackboard users on 14 March 2023.