What's New in Learn Ultra

Monthly Release Highlights

March 2020 Update Preview
March 2020 Release

The highly-requested Calculated formula question type for Ultra Courses is now available! Plus, this release is packed full of many small, but meaningful changes that will positively impact usability for all — administrators, instructors and students alike.

On March 5, 2020, the Learn SaaS release v3800.4.0 was released to Production environments.

Highlights of the release include: 

Ultra Base Navigation 

  • Course ID displays with Course Name – The Course ID now appears along with the Course Name on the Courses page of the Ultra Base Navigation, in the Calendar, and when copying course content.
  • "Edit course image" option moved – The “Edit course image” option has been moved to the overflow menu at the top-right corner of the course tile.

Ultra Course View 

  • Calculated formula question type – The highly-requested Calculated formula question type has been added to Ultra assessments. Instructors can convert existing Calculated Formula questions from their Original Courses, or can create new ones within their Ultra Course.
  • All "Create Item" panel options display by default – To make options easier to find and access for instructors creating new content on the Course Content page, all options in the “Create Item” panel will now open by default rather than just the “Course Content Items” options. 
  • Discussion conversion improvements – Now converting an Original graded Discussion to Ultra is even easier, requiring little to no manual intervention.
  • Option to make Messages read-only for students – Administrators can choose whether students are able to create and reply to messages.
  • Eliminated overdue notifications for submissions collected offline – Students will no longer receive overdue notifications for Ultra Assessments that use the “Collect Submissions Offline” setting.
  • Text editor word count – When instructors create documents and students respond to essay questions, they will be able to take advantage of the new word count that has been added to the text editor.
  • Text updates that increase usability and clarity – We’ve updated the text prompts around adding YouTube videos, creating and answering Matching questions, and activating the Ultra Base Navigation to improve the experience for all users.
  • Ultra Extension Framework updates – These updates to the Ultra Extension Framework add capabilities for banners, modals, and notifications. Partners can dynamically create banners within the Ultra UI to display data to the user while the user is within a course. We also added the ability to notify users in a course through blocking modals, dynamic guidance messages, and notifications.

View all the details in the Learn SaaS release notes

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Screenshot of group details in Learn Ultra
February 2020 Release

Your instructors will be especially thrilled to see the new enhancements to student groups introduced in this release. Improvements like these continue to help make teaching and learning better.

Learn SaaS release v3800.2.0 was released in stages to Production environments beginning on February 6, 2020.

Highlights of the release include: 

Ultra Base Navigation 

  • Java 11 JDK and Building Blocks – This release uses a new version of Java, Java 11 JDK.
  • Blackboard’s Privacy Statement and Terms of Use links – These links now appear at the bottom of the global navigation bar.

Ultra Course View 

  • Group self-enrollment enhancement – Now students can change self-enrollment groups themselves within the instructor-specified enrollment period.
  • Group counter enhancement – The “Number of groups” drop-down menu has been replaced with a counter that tracks the number of groups.
  • Expanded Ally support for accessible content – Students and instructors now have access to Ally’s alternative formats and accessibility indication for content directly in the Ultra course outline. Ally’s accessibility indication is available in Ultra Assessments for content embedded in the rich text editor.
  • Pearson's MyLab and Mastering (MLM) Partner Cloud integration – MLM can now be used in Learn Ultra courses via the MLM Partner Cloud integration.

View all the details in the Learn SaaS release notes

 

 

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Course level group sets screen capture
December 2019 Release

The ability for robust group work just got even better with this release as instructors are now able to create group sets and align them to discussions, tests, and assignments. Plus, you’ll like seeing the additional functionality added based on community feedback.

On December 5, 2019, Learn SaaS release v3700.16.0 was released to Production environments. Highlights of the release include: 

Ultra Course View 

  • Course-level group setsTo further enhance the Groups work space, instructors can now create course-level group sets and align them to discussions, tests, and assignments.

  • Grade pill color now optional: The grade pill color offers students and instructors a visual color representation of performance. Now, you can select to turn off the grade pill color in the Ultra Course View. While effective in many instances, we’ve received feedback from some Ultra adopters that grade color can have an adverse effect on student well-being.

  • Text update for Multiple Answer questions: Based on feedback from the community, we've made the text prompt consistent across Multiple Choice and Multiple Answer question types.

View all the details in the Learn SaaS release notes

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Notification Settings screen capture
November 2019 Release

While this release is packed full of enhancements that will make teaching and learning using Learn Ultra easier, the biggest addition you’ll love is the added ability for administrators to be able to manage and control notifications at the system level. We’ve heard your feedback about notifications and are thrilled to deliver this functionality in this release.

On November 7, 2019, Learn SaaS release v3700.14.0 was released to Production environments. Highlights of the release include: 

Ultra Base Navigation and Ultra Course View

  • System administration Notification Settings: Clients have shared that having the institutional ability to control the notifications is critical. In response, we have created system administration controls via the “Notification Settings” option in the Administrator Panel. For every available notification type and source, administrators can select whether notifications are “on” or “off” by default. Administrators can also decide whether users can change the default setting in their individual preferences.

  • New icons: Based upon client feedback, we've adjusted the icon set. Most notably, the new icons are darker and appear more prominently.

  • Account lockout: By default, Learn Ultra will now lock user accounts after five failed login attempts. Administrators can disable or edit the feature by selecting “Account Lock Settings” in the Administrator panel.

Ultra Course View 

  • Description field for Ultra documents: To improve the student experience, instructors can now provide students with high-level details about an Ultra document, as they are able to with most other Learn Ultra content. Instructors can open the “Document Settings” panel in an existing document to add a description. Students see descriptions on the Course Content page.

  • Ally updates: The Ally integration for Learn Ultra has been improved to show the alternative formats and instructor feedback indicators for attachments in Ultra documents and tests.

  • Assessment settings panel button update: As a continued effort to make Learn Ultra as consistent as possible, the “Done” button on the Assessment Settings page has been replaced with “Save” and “Cancel” buttons.

  • Error messages when deleting assessments with externally referenced questions: Instructors are unable to delete question banks, folders, or assessments that contain questions used in question pools in other assessments. To eliminate confusion, detailed messages have been added to explain why.  

View all the details in the Learn SaaS release notes

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Learn Ultra Question Pool
October 2019 Release

Check out the new grading and assessment features. Downloading assignment files in bulk, adding decimal point values to grades, and advances in the management of question pools are just a few things in this release that will simplify the management of courses.

On October 3, 2019, Learn SaaS release 3700.11.0 was released to Production environments. Highlights of the release include: 

Ultra Course View 

  • Bulk download submissions: Instructors can now easily download all or selected student assignment file submissions at one time. A ZIP file with selected assignments will be generated for quick download.

  • Decimal point values for assessments: To offer greater grading flexibility, instructors are now able to enter decimal values in the Points field for individual questions and in the Maximum points field for assessments that don't contain individually graded questions. Instructors can use values with up to two numbers after the decimal.

  • Regrade questions in question pools: Instructors can now regrade individual questions within a question pool. Questions within pools can be regraded from a student’s submission or from the assessment panel. When regrading, a message informs the instructor if a question is used in other course assessments. Question updates made while regrading affect all instances of that question in the course.

  • “Select all” and “Clear all” questions for question pools: To make adding questions to a question pool easier in Ultra, instructors have the options to “Select all” and “Clear all” question choices on the “Add Question Pool” page.

  • Delete copied course attendance data: When copying a course that used the attendance tool, instructors can easily delete the copied attendance gradebook columns within the new course. In the Ultra Course View's gradebook list or grid view, open the menu for the extra attendance column and select “Delete.”

  • Additional attendance data handling improvements: We’ve made multiple improvements in how attendance data is handled during course copy, archive/restore, and export/import.

View all the details in the Learn SaaS release notes

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Needs grading filter
September 2019 Release

Grading is even easier now that a “Needs grading” filter has been added. Plus, instructors can create groups that students can self-enroll in and can pre-schedule Collaborate sessions even before the course is available to students.

On September 5, 2019, Learn SaaS release 3700.9.0 was released to Production environments. Highlights of the release include: 

Ultra Course View 

  • Group Self-enrollment: Instructors can create self-enrollment groups for students to join to complete group assignments and discussions. Instructors choose the number of groups, can set the maximum members per group, and may allow students to view other members of the groups before they choose a group.

  • Filter students by grading status: In order to help instructors locate submissions and begin grading more quickly, the “Needs grading” filter has been added to the submissions list for individual assessments.

  • Collaborate Ultra in private mode: Instructors can now pre-schedule Collaborate sessions in their Ultra courses any time—even before the course is available to students.

  • Integrations with LTI Advantage: For both Original and Ultra courses, tools integrated with LTI Advantage that report submission and grading status show this information in the Original Grade Center or the Ultra gradebook. Upcoming due date or overdue notifications for students are dismissed if the tool indicates the student submitted the assignment. In Ultra Course View, tools integrated with LTI Advantage behave more like standard Learn assignments. Reported grades aren’t displayed to students until they are posted by the instructor.

  • Question pool enhancements: There is now a more accessible button structure as well as clearer error and confirmation modal messages.

View all the details in the Learn SaaS release notes

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Ultra organizations in the Learn Ultra UI
August 2019 Release

You can now create Ultra Organizations, which have the same functionality and workflows as Ultra Courses. Plus, instructors can create Question Pools in the Ultra Course View to help build assessments quickly and encourage academic integrity.

Learn SaaS release 3700.7.0 was released to Production environments on August 14th.  Highlights of this release include: 

Ultra Base Navigation 

  • Ultra Organizations: Administrators can now create Ultra Organizations, which have the same functionality and workflow as Ultra Courses – you can choose to create Original Organizations, Ultra Organizations, or let users choose. 

  • Branding Updates: We’ve updated the brands listing page to include the ability for administrators to filter brands by roles or host names and view which brands were just added – we also included a notification if a custom login is specified but won't be visible to users based on brand associations. Similar to the base navigation, Administrators can choose to allow the navigation logo area to be filled with a theme color. 

Ultra Course View  

  • Question Pools: Instructors can now create question pools in the Ultra Course View to help build assessments quickly and encourage academic integrity – they can add questions from all existing tests, assignments, and question banks in their courses and students receive different sets of questions to answer. In the Ultra Course View, question pools replace the Original Course View's random blocks and question sets. 

  • Assessment Enhancement - Options to Show Answers: In Ultra assessments, instructors can now decide if students see the answers to questions that were answered incorrectly; they may also hide answers until all students complete their submissions. 

View all the details in the release notes here. 

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Upload from cloud storage in the Learn Ultra UI
July 2019 Release

Building on previous functionality, institutions who leverage Office 365 or G Suite now have the ability to select their preferred solution and allow users to access their institutional cloud storage account from within their profile or directly upload content in the Ultra Course View.

Learn SaaS release 3700.5.0 was released to Production environments on July 11, 2019.  Highlights of the release include: 

Ultra Experience 

  • Building on previous functionality, institutions who leverage Office 365 or G Suite now have the ability to select their preferred solution and allow users to access their institutional cloud storage account from within their profile or directly upload content in the Ultra Course View 

  • To ensure privacy, only instructor names—not instructor usernames—appear to students throughout the Ultra experience 

  • Administrators can now see a brand’s host and role associations from the Brands page 

View all the details in the release notes here. 

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A screenshot of Learn Ultra
June 2019 Release

Administrators can now create their own domain and role specific Ultra brands, providing a sense of personalization for instructors and students. Office 365 and G Suite are now integrated, plus external calendars can be synchronized, resulting in a connected, seamless experience for users. Parallel grading has also been introduced in the Ultra Course View.

On June 6th, Learn SaaS 3700.3.0 was released to Production environments. Highlights of this release include:

Ultra Base Navigation

  • Institutions can now create their own domain and role specific Ultra brands, providing a sense of personalization for instructors and students through a customized login page, navigation and login logo, color selection, and Institution Page for a brand
  • Building on previously released capabilities, users can now synchronize external calendars with Learn, resulting in the ability to access both personal and academic events all in one place
  • The Organizations and Courses pages in the Ultra Base Navigation have been updated with the ability to add images and view these pages as either a list or a grid; plus, we've brought the Ultra design language to the Organizations page and it now contains the same functions and workflows as the Courses page

Ultra Course View

  • Instructors can now enable parallel grading and select non-student course members to act as graders and reconcilers; they can also hide student names in order to prevent unintended bias
  • Office 365 and G Suite integration is now available, enabling instructors and students to add files directly into their courses from their institution’s cloud storage account (prior to this release, users could only add files from their personal cloud storage accounts)
  • View all the details in the release notes here

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Student preview in the Learn Ultra user interface
May 2019 Release

Instructors can now filter their gradebook view based on child courses that have been merged, directly import question banks, provide feedback for individual members on group assessments, and experience their course exactly as their students do with Student Preview.

On May 3rd, Learn SaaS v3700.0.0 was released to Production environments. Highlights include:

Ultra Course View 

  • Filter their gradebook view based on child courses that have been merged, reducing the administrative burden of working in the gradebook
  • Directly import question banks, including question pools that have been exported from Original courses or purchased from a publisher
  • Provide feedback for individual group members on graded group assessments
  • Experience their course exactly as their students do with Student Preview, allowing them to be confident that their courses are well designed and functioning as intended

View all the details in the release notes here.

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