New and Improved Features in Blackboard Ultra – Dec 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:

Authentic Discussion and Journal prompts

The new AI feature can assist in generating a topic and description for discussion and journal if the instructor chooses to do so. Click ‘auto-generate discussion’ when starting a new discussion, then define the discussion parameters. This feature is implemented to encourage instructors to create more engaging and authentic assessments rather than resorting only to typical tests or assignments. While AI can assist, instructors are always in control of editing the content to align with learning outcomes.

Rubric criteria and levels of performance restrictions removed

Rubric criteria and performance levels were limited to 15 in the past, however, due to strong demands from instructors who require more criteria and levels, these restrictions are now removed.

Group assessment due date exceptions

Instructors can now assign a unique due date to each student group to allow for more flexible grading options. From the Group Assessment Submission page, the instructor can select “add or edit exceptions” by clicking the three dots on the right. This opens up the Exceptions Panel, where due dates can be changed. A group with a different submission due date shows the exception indicator as shown below.

Prevent students from earning full credit when selecting all answers choices on a multi-select question with partial credit

Multi-select questions require students to select multiple correct answers from a list. This variation of multiple-choice questions encourages critical thinking. Some instructors may award partial credit to students on this type of questions since partial credit promotes a fairer and more accurate assessment of students’ knowledge.

In the partial-credit grading option, students can receive full credit for a question by selecting all answers, unless instructors explicitly enter a negative score for an incorrect option. With the new feature, partial and negative scores are automatically distributed across both correct and incorrect answer choices. This simplifies the process for instructors to create a fair assessment on multi-select questions with partial credit.

Sorting controls in Students and Questions tab

The sorting-controls feature allows instructors to sort and view submitted Assignments/Tests in ascending or descending order by the following: submission date of the last attempt, first name, last name, or student ID. This feature is available from Students and Questions tab of Grading interface, and the last sorting option applied will be saved.

The feature offers convenience to instructors during the grading process by organizing submissions according to their preferences.

Grid view sorting controls

In the past, instructors could only sort the gradebook by a limited number of options in the grid view. Now, they can sort all the other items including SCORM, Journal, Group Assessment, Group Discussion, Calculations, Attendance, and Discussion.

The full-sorting controls in the gradebook provide a more efficient grading experience for instructors.

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

Need additional support? The IL Support Centre is here to help!