Is your content visible to students?

Now is a good time to check whether the content in this year’s Blackboard courses is visible to students. With our move to Blackboard Learn Ultra, any materials copied from previous years’ courses are hidden from students by default.

Screenshot of hidden content

You can change the visibility of individual items (see Blackboard help site for making items available). You can make them visible immediately or use the Release Conditions (date/time, specific students / groups, student performance – see Blackboard help site for Release Content guidance for further information).

If you have a lot of hidden material, don’t forget that you can use the Batch Edit tool to make multiple items of content visible all at once (see Blackboard help site for using Batch Edit). Be careful not to make the External Examiners folder available.

When you use Batch Edit to make a folder visible it will also make all the content items in the folder visible.

Remember that you can use the Student Preview tool (see Blackboard help site for using Student Preview) to see how your course and content looks to students.

See our Ultra webpage for further support materials or contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit (

Ultra Courses 2023-24

When you come back for next academic year, your new courses in Blackboard will look a little different. From September 2023, all new courses in Blackboard will be Ultra courses.

We’ve been using Ultra Base Navigation (UBN) in Blackboard since January 2023, and we know that many of you have found it easier to use – especially on mobile devices.

Ultra courses have the same accessible and mobile-friendly design as UBN – here’s what an Ultra course looks like:

Screenshot of a Blackboard Ultra Course

Because of the way it’s designed, an Ultra course never has more than two levels of folders – this makes it much quicker and easier to find your course materials and assignment submission links. And there’s also a search tool inside every course.

We’ve also redesigned our course template to make sure it uses the language that the course is taught in. If your module is taught in Welsh, your course template will now be in Welsh. And bilingual modules have a bilingual course template.

There’s lots of information about Ultra on the Blackboard website, including an introduction to navigating your way round an Ultra course (note – the video on this page is on an external site and only available in English).  

All your previous years’ courses are still available – so if you need to look back at old course materials, you can do that too.

Can I access old courses and materials after the move to Ultra?

Blackboard Ultra icon

Previous year courses will remain available (in line with the university’s retention policy). You will be able to access old courses, and course materials using the Courses dropdown menu.

Please note that access to Turnitin submissions from before summer 2022 has changed – read our guidance on downloading Turnitin submissions made before summer 2022.

Your Fellowship Records

Do you hold any category of HEA Fellowship (awarded by Advance HE)?

This may be Associate Fellow (AFHEA), Fellow (FHEA), Senior Fellow (SFHEA) or Principal Fellow (PFHEA).

If so, many congratulations! Your fellowship “demonstrates a personal and institutional commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education.” (Advance HE, Fellowship

As part of our annual data returns, we need to make sure that we have records of all categories of fellowship holders. You can do this yourself by updating your ABW record. If you gained fellowship in another institution, you should also update your records with Advance HE to reflect your current post at Aberystwyth University.

Update your ABW record

Make sure that your ABW correctly records the category you currently hold. Remember to update your record if you are awarded a new category of fellowship.

  1. Login to Aber Business World (Aber People) using your normal AU login details.
  • Make sure you are on the Your employment tab from the menu on the left.
Screenshot of ABW with Your employment highlighted

  • Go to Personnel Information in the Your Employment column.
Screenshot of ABW with Personnel information highlighted

  • Go to the HESA tab.
Screenshot of ABW with HESA tab highlighted

  • Once there, scroll down until you reach a series of fields labelled as Teaching Qualification.
Screenshot of ABW with Teaching Qualification boxes highlighted

  • Click on the downward arrow on one of the Teaching Qualification fields.

A dropdown list will open that includes several options that begin with Recognised by Advance HE as a….

Select the appropriate fellowship category.

Screenshot of ABW with fellowship category listing highlighted

  • Do not forget to click the Save button at the bottom of the screen.
Screenshot of ABW with Save button highlighted

My Advance HE

If you gained fellowship at another institution and have moved to AU, update your My Advance HE record to show your new Employer Relationship with Aberystwyth University.

  1. Login to My Advance HE with your Advance HE username and password. If you don’t know your password, you use the link on the login page to reset it
  2. Click on My Profile
  3. Click on Update Profile
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Create new employer relationship
  5. Add the details of your new job at Aberystwyth University
  6. You can also edit the details of any previous posts (eg to add an end date) by clicking on the downwards arrow next to that post and selecting Edit.
  7. Click on Submit

And of course, if you are interested in applying for another fellowship category, you can apply for AFHEA, FHEA and SFHEA through the ARCHE scheme.

Students: share your views of digital learning

Researchers at Swansea University want to know what students across Wales think about digital learning. And we’re encouraging students at Aberystwyth to take part in the research.
All AU students are invited to join other students from across Wales in a Zoom focus group discussion. The focus group will be a chance to talk about your digital learning experience over the past year. What has worked well for you and what you need now, to keep learning effectively?
To take part (and receive a £20 Amazon voucher) email Full details of the research will be provided to everyone taking part.

Why and how we manage Blackboard enrolments

One of the most common queries we get is from people who aren’t enrolled on modules in Blackboard. Our standard answer is that staff and students should be enrolled on the module in the module record in AstRA. Once this is done, it takes about an hour for that enrolment to make its way to Blackboard.

But we know that there are still times when students and staff are added manually to modules. We’d like to reduce this as much as possible, so we need to understand when and why it happens. Our short survey will help us do this. The results of this survey will help us to see if we need to make changes to our processes to make it easier for everyone who needs to be on a module can get access quickly and easily.

It can be tempting to just manually add someone to a module, especially if you are in a rush or can’t find someone to make the change for you. However, there are reasons why we take all our enrolments from one source:

  1. Who has access to a module is transparent. This is particularly important for staff enrolments as staff have access to marks and student details. If all our records are taken from AStRA we know that someone should have access to the module; their enrolment has been approved. Also, there are checks within AStRA to make sure that only staff IDs can be given teaching permissions to a module. This avoids mix-ups with logins or typing mistakes which could see students accidentally being given access to grades (for example).
  2. Students only get access to modules they are registered to. Although we encourage students to check their student record, they will often go by the modules they are registered on in Blackboard. So, if a student is manually added to a module in Blackboard, but not properly registered in the Student Record, this can cause all sorts of issues. Especially when we reach exam board season.
  3. Enrolments can be re-built if needed. If a problem with Blackboard we can easily rebuild permissions to modules quickly and easily as there is a central source for them. Any manual enrolments will not be included in this process and could lead to delays with access.

If you manually add staff or students to modules (or ask someone else to do it for you) please take a few minutes to complete our survey.

Changes to Teaching Machines

Over the summer, Information Services have made some changes to equipment in teaching rooms:

  • Whiteboard capture with Crestron Airboard cameras
  • PowerPoint Presenter Mode with screen mirroring
  • Interactive whiteboards with CleverTouch screens

These tools are available in a selection of rooms around campus.

Crestron Airboard

Whiteboard capture will project everything you write onto the screen. You can also use it to record your whiteboard notes.

Whiteboard capture is available in:

  • IBERS 0.30,
  • IBERS 0.31,
  • Edward Llwyd 3.34
  • Hugh Owen E3
  • Hugh Owen C22

After you have logged into the computer:

  1. Click on the Crestron Airboard icon on the desktop
  2. There is a Crestron unit on wall near the whiteboard.
  3. When the button on unit flashes blue, press it

The Crestron page will then appear on screen and will display your handwriting on the screen. You can share a link to this page with your students. They will be able to see your handwriting on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

If you want to record the handwriting with Panopto, you will need to make sure that you select to capture the computer screen as well as any PowerPoint you are using when starting your recording. You will need to make sure that the Crestron web page is the main window open on the computer when you are writing on the board.

Presenter Mode

You can use Presenter Mode to show your PowerPoint slides to students, and see the speaker’s notes yourself on from the teaching room machine.

Currently in:

  • Edward Llwyd 3.34
  • IBERS 0.30
  • IBERS 0.31
  • IBERS, 0.32
  • Hugh Owen Language Labs (BA8 and BA9)
  • Hugh Owen C22 (permanently in presenter mode with two monitors)
  • All teaching rooms in Penbryn 5.

When you go into the PC it will default to screen mirroring. This means that the display on the monitor will be the same as the display on the projector screen. If you want to use PowerPoint Presenter Mode (speaker notes on the monitor and slides on the screen):

  1. Click on Extend Display on the desktop
  2. To record the slides but not the notes, set up Panopto to capture Second Screen and not the Main Screen.
  3. You can move windows from your main screen (monitor) to the Second Screen (screen) by dragging it to the left-hand side of the monitor
  4. To go back to normal, click on Mirror Display

Interactive Whiteboards

Currently in:

  • All teaching rooms in Penbryn 5.

To use the CleverTouch boards just as a whiteboard:

  1. Tap the bottom of the screen > choose Lux
  2. Tap left or right arrow > choose Note

This will then open a whiteboard application and you can annotate it. Be aware that it isn’t possible to record these screens with Panopto.

To go back to the PC tap the bottom of the screen and then select HDMI.

To annotate PowerPoint etc on PC (HDMI mode)

  1. Click on the left or right arrow on the board
  2. Click on the pen icon
  3. This will provide an image of the screen that you can’t interactive with, but you can write on it.
  4. To move onto the next slide, click on the left or right arrow on the board
  5. Click on the cross icon

This will lose your annotations. Note that the annotations will disappear when you move to the next screen. Also, annotations aren’t captured with Panopto.

What’s changed with Blackboard Saas?


When you go to you will now see the Login@AU page. Use your AU username and password on this page to access Blackboard.

Welsh Language

If you have set your Language to Welsh in ABW or your Student Record, you will automatically see the Welsh version of Blackboard. If you want to change your language setting have a look at the FAQ.

Blackboard App

If you have problems using the Blackboard app:

  1. Logout and close the app.
  2. Search for Aberystwyth University and click on the name.
  3. You will be told that you are logging in through the AU website
  4. Click Got it
  5. Login with your AU username and password


Blackboard will update at the beginning of every month. These monthly updates mean that we don’t need to take Blackboard out of service for maintenance any more.

Update dates for semester 1:

  • 5 September
  • 3 October
  • 7 November
  • 5 December
  • 2 January

You may notice that things have changed, or new features appear. We’ll try to keep you updated with major changes through the blog. You can also find out more at

Retention and Backup

Blackboard keep deleted material for 30 days. If you have deleted something from Blackboard and you want to get it back, please email as soon as possible. This includes course materials, users and grades.

Dealing with Queries

As Blackboard is now managed in the cloud, e-learning support staff may need to refer your query to central Blackboard support. We may need to:

  • Ask you for more details than normal about the problem – we may need to ask you for a detailed breakdown of the steps you took
  • Give Blackboard support staff access to your module

It may also take a little longer to get a reply but we’ll try to keep you updated on the progress of your query.