A Better Blackboard Learn - May 2019 Upgrade to Learn Ultra

See What's Better

Blackboard Learn, the course management system utilized by Northern Illinois University faculty, staff, teaching assistants, and students, continues to be an important platform for facilitating teaching at learning at NIU, with over 97% of students and 95% of teaching faculty using the system during Fall 2018. 

This year, we are moving to the Blackboard Learn Ultra Experience! 

The upcoming upgrade will occur over Memorial Day weekend in late May and will require a brief outage. In addition to new features to make Blackboard easier to use, this year's upgrade will include moving to a new landing page with a fresh look and feel and introduces the Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View that provides a simple, streamlined course experience for you and your students.

The following is a quick overview of the tools that will become available following the upgrade.

Blackboard Ultra Experience - Navigation

The new Ultra experience is a completely redesigned interface with simplified, intuitive workflows, a modern look and feel, and an improved mobile experience. Everyone will see the new Ultra landing page and navigation. 

Highlights of the new navigation

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Blackboard Ultra institution page

The overall design of Blackboard has not changed significantly in 9+ years. The new look and feel of Blackboard Ultra is clean and contemporary. Through simplified icons and a consistent visual design, the new Ultra experience feels modern and innovative.

Blackboard Ultra on a smartphone

Blackboard Learn Ultra is designed to be fully responsive on a mobile device and to display consistently across devices. That means you can log into Blackboard directly in the browser on your mobile device and have a better experience when accessing most system tools. Note that courses using the Original course view may be only partly mobile-responsive, and using a computer is recommended for submitting assignments or tests in a course using the Original course view.

Blackboard Ultra Institution Page

The Institution Page includes information and helpful links for using Blackboard and other technologies for teaching. The information on this page is customized for your based on your teaching role. Students will see slightly different information to help them be successful in using Blackboard. Learn more about the Institution Page »

instructor profile in Blackboard Ultra

Your Blackboard Profile lets you customize the information students see about you in your Blackboard courses. Edit your profile to add an image to represent you, add contact information, and modify your notification settings. Your profile image appears on course content pages, rosters, discussions, messages, and in the Activity Stream. Learn more about editing your profile »  

activity stream in Blackboard showing important due dates and recent messages

On the Activity Stream, you can see what's new in all your courses and jump directly into course activities from the list! You don't need to dig through the system or miss submissions from students. You see a prioritized list of what's relevant to you, including updates to discussions, recent messages, and new student submissions to assessments. For a student, the Activity Stream also highlights upcoming or past due dates, new content that you have added, and new grades that you have posted. Learn more about the Activity Stream »

courses page in Blackboard Ultra

The new Courses page sorts your courses into a timeline, so that you can focus on the courses that are currently active. You can search for courses by name or filter the view. You can even favorite the courses you access most frequently so that they appear at the top of your course list. You can even make courses visible or hide them from students right from your Courses list. You can no longer reorder your course list; courses are listed in alphabetical order. Learn more about the Courses page »

email notification settings

Stay up-to-date on activity in your courses with updated notifications. You will receive a daily digest of activities in any of your courses, based on your configuration of what notifications are important to you. You can also customize the notifications you receive in your Activity Stream and disable email notifications. Learn more about Notification Settings »  


Learn More

Quick guides, and tutorials developed by Blackboard are also available in addition to workshops from the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.

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Last Updated: 4/9/2019