Creating Blackboard Tests for Online Exams in Ultra

Test settings have changed in Blackboard Ultra and the arrangements for conducting an exam have also been updated this year.

These are the main changes:

  • Only one random access code may be generated prior to the test. This code is automatically generated in the form of a 6-digit numerical code when you check the ‘Access code required’ option, which will be the case for ALL online in-person Exams using BB tests.
  • Module coordinators will attend the face-to-face examination for their module (for the first 30 minutes). If it is not possible to attend, arrange a substitute. Being physically present for the examination enables the Module coordinators to generate a second access code 30 minutes after the exams starts and to circulate this code with the exam team.
  • Module coordinators can liaise with the exams office via prior to exam day to discover which invigilating staff will be in attendance during their exam and collate their names and usernames.

We have prepared new guidance which explains these changes fully: Blackboard Tests for In-person Exams Guide. It’s an idea to set aside enough time to prepare the test and read the new guidance.

Due to these changes, the E-learning team will be offering additional training sessions on ‘Preparing for Online Exams’ on 5 and 11 December. Register for the training on: CPD Staff Training.

There is also an updated FAQ on Blackboard with more information on creating Blackboard tests for online exams. If you require further assistance with your test, the E-learning team are available on Teams Sessions. Contact to to arrange a session.

The E-learning team will be available to check yout test settings before the exam period between 4-20 December 2023. Remember, we are unable to check your test settings without a confirmed date or time.

Contact us if you have any queries regarding Blackboard tests on

The Ultra Essentials Playlist

If you’re a busy bee preparing your courses before the students arrive and don’t have any time to attend training sessions, how about visiting our new bite sized training video clips on how to work in Blackboard Ultra.

We’ve created The Ultra Essentials Playlist to help staff to familiarise themselves with the exciting new features in Ultra. The playlist is comprised of 15 short videos (2-8 minutes) with a longer first introductory video Introduction to Blackboard Learn Ultra.

If you’re unsure about how to do something specific in Ultra or just need a quick refresher then take a look at our bilingual training videos. Here’s a breakdown of the individual video clips:

  1. Navigating your Ultra Course
  2. Creating a Link to your Reading List
  3. Creating a Link to all Panopto Recordings
  4. Creating a Folder and Learning Module
  5. Creating a Document
  6. Copying content from previous years
  7. Link to individual Panopto recording
  8. Creating a Turnitin Submission Point
  9. Creating a Blackboard Assignment
  10. Creating a Blackboard Test
  11. Creating a Link
  12. Creating a Collaborative Document
  13. Creating a Discussion
  14. Creating a Journal
  15. Creating an Announcement

We are still providing online training sessions in English and Welsh and you can book and view other sessions on the booking page.

If you have any questions about Blackboard Learn Ultra then email:

Parent-child modules 2023-24

Now that the 2023-24 modules are available to staff, we can link them together at the module co-ordinator’s request. This process is known as parent-childing. Linking modules together is an effective way of dealing with separate modules with the same content so you don’t have to upload materials to two or more different modules.

This process makes one module the parent, whilst the other module(s) become a child. There’s no limit on how many modules you make a child but there can only be one parent. The parent-child facility works in the same way with Blackboard Ultra.

If you’d like to parent-child your modules, and you’re the module co-coordinator, contact with the module codes for the parent and child modules.

Examples from Aberystwyth

Many members of staff are currently using parent-child modules across the institution. Some examples are:

  1. Modules are taught the same content but there’s a module available for different years.
  2. Modules that bring together different degree schemes and have different module IDs, for example dissertation modules.

Essentially, any module that shares the same content is ideal for parent-childing.

What do students see?

Students will see the name of the module that they are enrolled on (even if it’s the child module) when they log into Blackboard but they will see all the content placed in the parent module. Instructors will not be able to place content in the child module.

Things to consider

Now, before the start of term and whilst module content is being built, is the perfect time for linking your modules. Whilst the linking of modules does save time in the loading of materials, there are some things to consider:

  • All content is able to be viewed as soon as the modules are merged (as long as students are enrolled on the module). In addition to PowerPoints, lecture materials, this also includes Announcements and other interactive tools on your parent module.
  • Historical student interactions on a child module (such as using blogs or posting in discussion boards) won’t be available once the modules have been merged.
  • Any submission points created on a child module before the merge takes place will no longer be able to be viewed. We would advise creating these again in the parent module.

How do I control content so that it is only viewable to a module cohort?

Whilst all content is automatically visible once the modules are merged, you can use groups and adaptive release if you only want the content to be visible to a specific module cohort. This might be useful, for example, if you have a 2nd year and 3rd year module merged but your students on the different modules have separate assignments. You can use groups – 1 for the 2nd year students and one for 3rd year students and limit who can see the assignment information and submission point. Follow our guidance on creating a group and adaptive release (known as ‘release conditions’ in Ultra) if you wish to do this.

Parent-Child Grade Book

Once the merging takes place, all students will appear in the Grade Book (previously known as Grade Centre in Blackboard Original) of the parent module. You can, however, determine whether they are enrolled on the child module as this information displays against the student in the Grade Book columns. 

If you’d like further information on this process or have any specific questions then please contact us (

Branwen Rhys: LTEU’s latest recruit

I joined the LTEU team just after Easter this year as a part-time E-learning Support Officer. I previously worked as an Academic Registry Officer supporting the innovative Nursing Team and their first cohort at the University.

Originally from Anglesey, I moved to Aberystwyth in 2005 to take a Graduate Trainee Librarian post with IS Services and to complete my distance learning Information and Library Studies qualification at DIS (at somewhat less of a distance).

In my mind, this was a temporary move down south with a view to returning to north Wales. However, I’m still here 18 years on, happily married with 2 children, 2 guinea pigs, an eighty year old tortoise and no plans to relocate!

I left the University after a year and worked for the next 15 years or so at the National Library of Wales. I undertook various roles within the Digital Developments Unit working on and leading projects such as ‘Cylchgronau Cymru’, David Lloyd George’s Online Exhibition, Portraits Online, ‘From Warfare to Welfare’ and more recently, the ‘History of Medicine and Health in Wales before the NHS’ project.

Outside of work, I enjoy all sorts of arts and crafts, music, and going for walks with the family. Professionally I am an educator who enjoys empowering others with the information and skills needed to work more efficiently. I am pleased to return to IS to a post closer to my librarian roots and look forwards to becoming an established member of the LTEU Team.