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]

Read More

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

Blackboard Ultra Project Update

The big news since our last update on the Blackboard Ultra project is that we have started departmental training sessions. It’s been great getting to meet staff and demonstrate the basics of using Ultra. To date 200 people have attended a session, and we’ve got more sessions lined up over the summer.

If you’re not able to attend your departmental training session, then we’ve got a number of centrally organised ones for you to join.  

In addition to this, and to make sure that colleagues have access to full Ultra functionality, we’ve got the following sessions scheduled (available in Welsh and English): 

  1. E-learning Enhanced: Using Tests
  2. E-learning Enhanced: Designing Wiki Alternatives
  3. E-learning Enhanced: Using Discussions
  4. E-learning Enhanced: Using Journals
  5. E-learning Enhanced: Designing Blog Alternatives

You can view our sessions and book your place on the course booking page.  

We’re also working behind the scenes on our integrations with other tools. At the moment, we are working on making it easier for you to find the correct academic year Panopto folder when you create recordings. We think that this is going to make things much easier when teaching starts again. Keep an eye out for news on this.

We’re looking forward to welcoming colleagues from Anthology / Blackboard and Bangor University to the annual learning and teaching conference. We’ve got a whole day of Ultra-related events on 4th July. If you haven’t booked your place at the conference, you can do it on our conference webpages.

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

External Speakers at this year’s Learning and Teaching Conference: Part 1: Blackboard

We’re delighted to welcome a number of external speakers at this year’s Learning and Teaching Conference.

View our full programme and book your place online.

On Tuesday 4 July, we’ll be joined in person by colleagues from Blackboard.

Colleagues will have the opportunity to hear about future developments, work on and enhance their blackboard ultra modules, and provide feedback to the company on enhancements.

Please see below for our speakers’ biographies.

Read More

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.