New and Improved Features in Blackboard Ultra – Aug 2023 Update

Here are the highlights of this month’s new and improved features in Blackboard Ultra. For more details, please follow the links below:

Flexible grading

Now with added grading capabilities, instructors have more options for grading assessments:

  • Grade by question or student, and filter by grading status
  • Navigate between students and multiple submission attempts
  • View both the attempt and final grade for each assessment
  • Provide feedback with or without a rubric, and grade inline using Blackboard Annotate
  • Collapse side panels to view more of the student submission
  • Post all grades when ready

Gradebook improvements

In grid view, cells without submissions will display a single dash “-“ whereas those with new submissions will display the New Submission label. This change was made to remove the pre-existing “Grade now” label which has caused some confusion when viewing the grading status of submissions.

Instructors can now also reorder gradable items in the gradebook list view to align with the course structure:

  • Select the corresponding Move Item button (up/down arrow) of the gradable item
  • Drag and release to its new location

The new order will also be reflected in the grid view and in the students’ view.

Bulk download of anonymous submissions

Instructors can now download submissions in bulk for anonymous assessments in the gradebook grid view. Click on the icon of the anonymous assessment item (top row of the grid) and select ‘download submissions’ to generate a ZIP file. Once ready, the instructor will be notified via the Messages section of Blackboard with a link to download the file.

Improvements in editing Rubrics

Previously when editing rubrics, selecting text outside an editable area would save edits made and automatically exit out of edit mode. Now, if users select text inside the rubric edit box and navigate out of the edit box, the edit mode remains open.

Replace files in course content

To help manage storage space, replacing a file within the course no longer creates a new file version. Now, the new file replaces the pre-existing file completely to free storage space.

Students with alert flags in the Course Activity Report

Instructors can now identify students at risk using alert flags based on:

  • Number of days a student is inactive in a course
  • A student’s overall grade in the course is below a specific percentage

Instructors can filter alerts for all students, students with alerts, and students without alerts. Students with alerts are also highlighted in the course activity chart (Analytics section) and in the CSV download.


The full list of August updates is available on the Blackboard Help Center website.