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 (

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:

Panopto Update for Staff: September 2023

As part of the wider Blackboard Ultra project, our Panopto integration has been upgraded to work with Blackboard Ultra. This has provided us with an opportunity to make some changes and improvements.

Accessing Panopto

You can now access the Panopto server via

Panopto Folders

Panopto folders are now organised by academic year.

Staff have frequently requested that the Panopto folders for their Blackboard Courses are organised by academic year rather than as a long list. The Panopto upgrade work gave us an opportunity to restructure our folders as requested.

Top level year folders will appear greyed out, but you still have access to your Panopto folders within.

When you open the Panopto Recorder in a teaching room:

You can either find the Panopto folder you want to record into via the folders or search for the Panopto folder you want to record into.

To find the Panopto folder you want to record into via the folders:

  • Click the dropdown button in the Folder field.
  • Double-click an academic year folder to expand it.
  • Click the dropdown arrow to the left of the academic year folder to expand it.
  • Select the Panopto folder you want to record into.
An animated gif of accessing a Panopto folder in the Panopto Recorder.

To search for the Panopto folder you want to record into:

  • In the Folder field start typing the module code or name of the Panopto folder you want to Record into
  • Select the folder you want to record into.
An animated gif of accessing a Panopto folder using the search function in the Panopto Recorder.

Sharing Panopto recordings from Previous years.

To share Panopto recordings from previous years Panopto folders, copy the recordings into the current years’ folder of the course. This can be done via This grants all students enrolled on the current years’ course in Blackboard access to view the recordings. See this FAQ.

My Folder

Everyone now has a folder in Panopto called My Folder that they can record into. In the Panopto Recorder it can be found under Quick Access.

My Folder is useful for recordings that staff or students do not want to share with others immediately or when they cannot find a suitable folder to record into.

Recordings can be moved from My Folder into another Panopto Folder later. To copy or move a Panopto recording to another folder See this FAQ.

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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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 (

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.

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

Departmental Training Sessions: Introduction to Blackboard Ultra

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit has now completed their cycle of departmental training sessions for E-learning Essentials: Introduction to Blackboard Ultra.

This training session was designed to ensure that staff had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with Blackboard Ultra and achieve the Blackboard Required Minimum Presence.

Since May, we have trained over 300 members of staff in both in person and online sessions.

For those of you at the first day of the conference you will have seen the exciting features that are coming to Blackboard Ultra over the next few years.

If you haven’t managed to attend one of your departmental sessions or would like a refresher, then we are running the sessions in English and Welsh online.

You can book onto our training sessions and view other sessions on the booking page.

If you have any questins about Ultra then email