New and Improved Features in Blackboard Ultra – Jul 2023 Update

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

Formative label and Gradebook filter 

When creating an assessment, instructors may indicate to students if it is formative by going into the Assessment settings panel in the Formative Tools section. This will display in these areas: 

  • Course Content page 
  • Assessment panel before starting an attempt 
  • Assessment Details & Information panel during and after an assessment 
  • Assessment header when viewing a submission 
  • Gradebook 

Note: In the Gradebook grid view, instructors can filter assessments by formative or summative type (if formative setting is not selected). 

Partial and negative credit improvements for the Multiple Choice/ Multiple Select question type 

Instructors can now turn on partial and negative credit for each answer when building a multiple choice or multiple select question. This option allows instructors to: 

  • Define a positive percentage value to award credit for a correct answer(s) 
  • Enter a negative percentage value to subtract for an incorrect answer(s) 
  • Allow a negative overall score for the question 

Tab navigation for Assessments 

For improved access to the different sections of the Assessments page, the following sections are now organized into easy-to-navigate tabs: Content and Settings, Submissions, Student Activity, and Question Analysis.  

Exceptions panel updates 

The exceptions panel now includes course, assessment, and student names to help instructions ensure the accuracy of the exception. 

Reminder: The option to grant exceptions for anonymously graded assessments is available from the Student Overview page in the Gradebook. 

File deletion in the course also removes the file from the Content Collection 

In the past, if an instructor deleted a file from an Ultra course, the file remained in the Content Collection. Now, the deleted file is also removed from the Content Collection when it is not used in other courses or another place in the same course. This improvement was made to simplify file and storage space management. 

Manage course duration in course settings panel 

Course users with the correct privileges can modify the course duration settings for their Ultra courses in the new Course Settings option found in the top right corner of the course. The course duration can be set to the following: 

  • Ongoing – no restriction 
  • Restrict by Dates – course can only be accessed within set dates and times 
  • Restrict by number of days from enrollment – course can only be accessed within specified number of days from course enrollment 
  • Restrict by the start and end dates of the associated Term (only appears when a Term is defined for the course) 


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