Blackboard Ultra Course View


The Blackboard Ultra Course View has been available as an option for anyone teaching at NIU since Summer 2019. During that time, Ultra Course View adoption has grown, over 50 additional features have been released, and some of the most requested features anticipated for release in summer and fall 2022. Blackboard has only guaranteed that the Original Course View will remain available through the end of 2023, and we want to provide sufficient time for faculty to make the transition to the Ultra Course View.

BCM will plan for full migration to Ultra Course View no later than Dec. 31, 2023. It is recommended that faculty plan to teach their Fall 2023 courses in Ultra Course View. All Spring 2024 courses will use the Ultra Course View. 

As a result of the 2020-2021 comprehensive Learning Management System (LMS) Review, Blackboard Learn was selected for renewal for another 5-year contract term, through August 2026. The review was predicated on the assumption that renewing with Blackboard would result in a transition to Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View.


Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View to Date

  • 2017: Blackboard Ultra Experience released
  • May 2018: BCM moves Blackboard to cloud-hosting
  • Spring 2019: BCM conducts pilot of Ultra Course View
  • Summer 2019: Ultra Course View available to all NIU faculty; Original Course View remains available
  • Spring 2020: Emergency pivot to remote teaching and ongoing support interrupt implementation plans
  • Fall 2021: Blackboard merges with Anthology and announced increased investment in development of Learn Ultra

Feature Parity Between Original and Ultra Course View


When the Ultra Course View was first released, it had limited features available. Since that time, Blackboard has released over 50 additional features or enhancements in their monthly updates. This still leaves a number of notable gaps in functionality between Original and Ultra Course View. For many courses, these are not a limitation, but faculty who are power users of Blackboard Learn may find it difficult to manage the transition.

Some notable limitations and targets for availability (note that these are anticipated but subject to change):

Content and Collaboration

  • Copying materials within a course: April 2022
  • Additional level of folder depth: Summer 2022
  • Internal course links: End of 2022
  • Blogs: Fall 2022 or Spring 2023
  • Improvements to Messages: Fall 2022 or Spring 2023


  • Display one question at a time: April 2022
  • Calculated numeric questions: April 2022
  • Download test results: April 2022
  • Create and edit question banks (currently import only): Summer 2022
  • Hotspot questions: Fall 2022 or Spring 2023
  • Surveys: Fall 2022 or Spring 2023

Grading and Analytics

  • Instructor view of submission receipts: April 2022
  • Point-based grade calculation: Summer 2022
  • Send assessment reminders from the Gradebook: End of 2022
  • Grade by question: Fall 2022 or Spring 2023 
  • Delegated grading by group: Fall 2022 or Spring 2023

Ultra Course View also includes a number of innovations not available in the Original Course View with additional features planned for development:

  • More accessible interface that is also fully-responsive for use on mobile devices
  • Integration with Microsoft OneDrive and Teams
  • Progress Tracking (currently available for students; instructor view of progress planned for Summer 2022)
  • Advanced test designs, such as pagination of questions
  • Student-defined pronouns and name pronunciation

Support for Faculty Adoption of Ultra Course View


The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning provides extensive support for faculty looking to adopt the Ultra Course View, including:

  • Regularly-scheduled workshops on moving to Ultra Course View and recorded, on-demand workshops
  • Thorough documentation on the Teaching & Learning with Blackboard website, including written instructions, FAQs, and video tutorials
  • Individualized consultation
  • Ongoing partnership for course migration or development
  • Optional and editable course templates

BCM Timeline for Migration to Ultra Course View


Considering there is no guarantee of ongoing support from Blackboard for Original Course View beyond December 2023, and given the accelerating development for new features in the Ultra Course View as a result of the merger between Blackboard and Anthology, NIU will plan for full migration to Ultra Course View no later than Dec. 31, 2023. It is recommended that faculty plan to teach their Fall 2023 courses in Blackboard Ultra.