Collaborative Documents available in Blackboard Ultra

Icon Blackboard Ultra

One of the great new enhancements that we’ve got in Blackboard Ultra is the ability to embed collaborative documents.

For those of us who did much of their teaching online during the Covid pandemic, you will recall us espousing the benefits of loading a collaborative document in the chat. We’ve now been working to enable this on our Blackboard Courses and we are pleased to say that they are available for you to use on your 2023-24 courses.

This means that your students will be able to collaborate together outside the classroom, on Blackboard in their own time. There are 3 types of document available for students to collaborate on:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint

We’re going to be using the collab docs for blog and wiki alternatives. But, if you want to maybe get your students to mind map, generate ideas, or build on each other’s notes, take a look at the collab docs. You could also use it to get students to sign up to groups. You can use the group feature in Ultra courses to limit the item to a specific student or group of students. 

Want to know how to do it? Take a look at Blackboard’s guidance on Microsoft OneDrive and collaborative documents.

Required Minimum Presence 2023-24: Updated for Ultra Courses

Icon Blackboard Ultra

In preparation for our move to Ultra, the University’s Blackboard Required Minimum Presence has been updated and approved by Academic Enhancement Committee.

We revisit all our policies annually, but the move to Blackboard Ultra has meant that we have spent longer preparing the RMP.

The full RMP 2023-24 is now available on our webpages.

Some of the changes to the RMP are listed below:

  • The Module Information folder should contain:
    • Link to all Panopto recordings on a module
    • Staff contact details
  • An organised location for Learning Materials
    • We have not specified a Learning Materials folder owing to the two-level of folder restrictions in Ultra
    • Colleagues have the option to create a structure that meets their needs.
  • The Assessment and Feedback folder remains the same as before and is pre-populated with:
    • Guidance for students on submitting their work and finding their feedback.
    • Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice
    • Link to the Referencing and Plagiarism LibGuide
    • Link to Past Exam Papers
  • The Aspire Reading List link should be on the content page of the module and no more than 6 folder levels down. If you have questions about your reading lists, please contact your Subject Librarians.

We have now started our Departmental Ultra training programme and hope to see you over the coming weeks. If you can’t attend your session then we are running a series of centrally organised sessions for all staff to join.

If you’ve got any questions about Ultra, please contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (

Weekly Resource Roundup – 1/6/2023

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. Below I’ve listed items that came to my attention in the past week. In the interest of clarity, our policy is to show the titles and descriptions in the language of delivery. 

Online events and webinars



Resources and publications

Resources on Artificial Intelligence

Other resources


  • Monthly series European Network for Academic Integrity, ENAI monthly webinars free open webinars on various topics related to academic integrity.
  • Subscribe to SEDA’s mailing list for email discussions about educational development and emerging teaching practices. This is one of the sources I use when identifying useful material for the Roundup.
  • Follow University of Birmingham’s Higher Education Futures institute HEFi on Twitter for daily posts with links to pedagogical literature and more. This is one of the sources I use when identifying useful material for the Roundup.
  • Join the #LTHEchat on Twitter Wednesday nights for one hour of lively discussion about learning and teaching in HE. I often find out about good resources for the Roundup from the chat.

Please see the Staff Training booking page for training offered by the LTEU and other Aberystwyth University staff. I hope you find this weekly resource roundup useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact our team at You may also wish to follow my Twitter feed, Mary Jacob L&T.

Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

We are looking forward to welcoming you to the 11th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, which is just over a month away, 4-6 July.

This year’s conference theme, Transformative Teaching: Creating Opportunities for Learning, aims to reflect the commitment that AU staff have to enhance the student learning experience.

We’re pleased to confirm our full programme.  We will have 2 days in person (Tuesday 4 July and Wednesday 5 July) and 1 day online (Thursday 6 July).

We look forward to seeing you at the conference, and please remember to register for the conference by completing this online form. 

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.