Make Blackboard Learn Ultra Courses more visual with Learning Modules, Course Images, and Unsplash Images

Some of the feedback that we’ve received regarding Blackboard Ultra Courses is that they are not as visually customisable as Blackboard Original Courses. Ultra is created with accessibility in mind which means that some of the features that we previously had, such as textured or coloured backgrounds and text that could result in low colour contrast are no longer available.

In this blogpost we’ll give you some tips that might help make your Blackboard Ultra Courses more visually appealing, including some brand-new features that arrived in the September release.

Learning Modules

Learning Modules work similarly to folders and can be placed on the top level of the Content Page. You can use these to arrange your Learning Materials. One of the developments that arrived recently is the ability to upload images to Learning Modules.

To create a Learning Module, click on the + and Create > Learning Module:

Learning Module editor with Add image highlighted

From there, you can Add image to upload an image from the file explorer. Select the image from the File Explorer that opens and upload. Alternatively, you can drag and drop your image into the Learning Module editor. Once you’ve added an image to a Learning Module, it will display as below:

Learning Module with image attached and Weekly folder

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Panopto Assignment Workflow in Blackboard Learn Ultra

In our previous blogpost we outlined some of the changes to Panopto with our move to Blackboard Learn Ultra.

In this blogpost we’ll outline the changes to using Panopto for Assignments. Panopto Assignments are used for students to submit a recording or presentation.

As part of this change, we recommend that you:

  1. Create a Blackboard Assignment
  2. Students submit via Blackboard Assignment and upload via the Panopto submission tool

The advantages to this new workflow are that:

  1. The workflow for submission and marking is easier
  2. Marks and feedback automatically go into the Gradebook
  3. Students receive an email receipt for their submission

To support staff with this process, we have a Panopto Assignment guide that takes you through setting up the assignment, student submission, and marking on our Lecture Capture webpages.

We’ve also got a FAQ for staff and students.

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

Welcome to new staff joining Aberystwyth University

We’re the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit. Based in Information Services, we work with staff across the university to support and develop learning and teaching. We run a wide range of activities to do this.

All the information that you need is on the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit webpages. Our Supporting your Teaching webpages will help you with various teaching solutions.

We write a blog full of the latest updates, details on events and training sessions, and resources.

If you need to get in touch with us, you can do so using one of two email addresses: (for pedagogical and design questions, or to arrange a consultation) or (for technical queries regarding our e-learning tools listed below).

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Blackboard Learn Ultra Gradebook

In this blogpost we’ll be taking a specific look at the Gradebook feature in Blackboard Learn Ultra. The Gradebook is the new name for Grade Centre.

It is used to hold all student marks on a Blackboard Course.

The Gradebook is located on every course from the top menu.

Ultra Course with Gradebook highlighted

Students enrolled on the module automatically appear in the Gradebook.

When you get into the gradebook, you can toggle your view.

Default is a list of markable items on one tab and students on another:

List view of the Gradebook

You can toggle your view so that you can see the markable items and the students in one view.

Grid view of Gradebook]

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Blackboard Learn Ultra Student Guidance Available

Support materials to assist students with Blackboard Learn Ultra are now available on our webpages.

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit have produced a Student Guide specifically for Ultra which can be downloaded.

Students were notified of the change to Blackboard before the end of last academic year.

As part of the move to Ultra our FAQs are in the process of being updated.

Blackboard Ally

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce that Information Services has procured Blackboard Ally as part of our move to Blackboard Learn Ultra.

Blackboard Ally integrates into our Blackboard Learn Ultra environment and focuses on making digital content more accessible.

For colleagues creating content you will be able to amend the accessibility of your content. This means that your content will be more accessible to assistive technologies, such as screen readers.

Another benefit of Blackboard Ally is that content can be downloaded in multiple formats. This means that your lecture notes, PowerPoints, and other documents can be converted into many different formats, including:

  • Immersive readers
  • Audio files
  • Electronic braille

There’s nothing that you need to do to enable Ally on your course. It will automatically be enabled on Monday 11 September on 2023-24 Courses onwards and Organisations.

For more information on using Blackboard Ally, take a look at our staff or student FAQ.

If you want to know further information about creating accessible learning materials, take a look at our resources.

Changes to the Vevox PowerPoint Add-in

Vevox, the University’s supported polling tool, has updated its PowerPoint Add-in.

From September 2023, colleagues making use of the Add-in should use the updated version.

Please see our FAQ for how to use the new PowerPoint Add-in.

In our recent blogpost, we wrote about the new AI question generator.

If Vevox is new to you then take a look at our support materials and our previous blogposts.

We’ve also got a training session taking place on Monday 18 September, 14:00-15:00. This session is run by colleagues from Vevox. Book your place online.

Vevox is a great way to make your teaching interactive and further student’s learning.

August 2023 Blackboard Learn Ultra Update

One of the benefits of moving to Blackboard Learn Ultra is the increased enhancements to the virtual learning environment.

In this blogpost, we will outline some of the new functionality available in this month’s update.

1.   Groups

The location to manage the Groups feature has changed. You can now access this directly from the top menu of your course:

Screenshot of menu item with groups highlighted.

See groups guidance for additional information.

2.   Images for Learning Modules

You can now add images to Learning Modules.

Image of a Learning Module with an image

Learning Modules offer a way for you to organise your content. For further information, see Learning Modules guidance.

3.   Ultra Accessibility Checker

To ensure that your content is as accessible as possible, use the accessibility checker.

image of a document being created with the accessibility checker score highlighted

As you create your content, your accessibility score will be generated to alert you to any changes that you might want to make.

4.   Flexible Test grading

When it comes to grading tests, you can now grade by question or student in Ultra. See Blackboard’s test guidance and flex grading for further information.

For other updates this month, take a look at Blackboard’s Release notes.

If you’ve got any questions about using any of these features or Blackboard Learn Ultra, contact

2023-24 Ultra Courses

On 1 August Information Services roll their systems over to prepare for the next Academic Year (2023-24).

Blackboard Courses are now no different. On the 1 August, the term dates for 2023-24 become live.

This means that Courses 2023-24 are no longer listed as Private but are now available. It also means that they will not display in Upcoming Courses.

2023-24 Courses can now be accessed from the homepage. If you wish to only see your 2023-24 courses, use the toggle at the top or filter by courses.

Alt-text: Courses menu with Cyrsiau 2023-24 Courses highlighted

You can favourite your course so that it appears at the top of the page by clicking on the star:

Course with star highlighted to favourite

Students won’t come onto your course until they have completed their registration.

If you’ve got any questions about Ultra, please contact

AI Generated Questions now available in Vevox Polls

In the latest update to Vevox, our polling software, an AI Question Generator has been added. Colleagues can now create questions using the AI Question Generator.

Further information (including how to use it) is available on Vevox’s webpage.

As with all AI generated material, checking for accuracy and editing content is key before releasing it to students. See LTEU’s Generative AI support materials for further information.

There are also a number of blogposts focused on AI that you can take a look at.

There is another change coming to Vevox. The PowerPoint add in has been updated. We will be contacting all colleagues who make use of the PowerPoint add in via email before the start of September.

If Vevox is new to you, we’ve got a whole host of support materials on our Vevox webpage.