The new features in Blackboard’s November upgrade will be available from the morning of Friday 3rd November. This month’s upgrade includes the following new features to Ultra courses:

Ability to change ‘Mark using’ option without updating the Turnitin assignment due date

A source of frustration with Turnitin and Ultra courses has been that once the assignment due date has passed it is not possible to change the ‘Mark using’ option. This means that if the UnderGrad Letter or PostGrad Letter schema has not been selected when setting up the assignment, it cannot be selected during the marking process without moving the due date to the future, which in most cases is not an advisable course of action. This has meant that in cases where the correct marking schema has not been selected, a mapped Gradebook item has to be created to show the numeric grades as letters. This restriction has now been removed, and ‘Mark using’ can be changed without changing the due date.

• View of the Ultra gradebook showing the same assignment with marks displayed first as numbers and second as letters

Staff can update the ‘Mark using’ option in the gradebook by selecting the assignment in the column header and choosing ‘Edit’.

• Editing an assignment’s options via the Ultra gradebook

Please note that once the desired ‘Mark using’ option has been selected and saved, the gradebook will continue to show the original mark until the page is refreshed.

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Improved image insertion tool

Following November’s upgrade, the Ultra rich text editor will have a dedicated button for image insertion. Previously, images were inserted using the attachment button. As well as being more intuitive, the new image insertion tool will allow images to be zoomed into, and to have the aspect ratio adjusted prior to insertion. Once inserted, images can be resized by using the grab handles on the inserted image.

• New image insertion tool in the Ultra rich text editor
• Options to zoom into and adjust the aspect ratio of images using the new Ultra image insertion tool
• Resizing an image

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Improvements to matching questions in tests

Building on last month’s upgrade, which improved multiple choice questions in Ultra tests, the November upgrade improves matching questions in tests.

When using matching questions, the options to select partial and negative credit and to allow a negative overall score are now easier to select. Partial and negative credit is on by default, and credit is automatically distributed equally across the answers.

• Improved matching questions in Ultra tests

Additional answers (i.e., answers for which there is no corresponding prompt) has been renamed ‘Distractors’ to more accurately reflect its function in matching questions.

• Adding distractors (previously called additional answers)

In the above example, students would have seven possible answers to match to four prompts, and would score 25% of the total value of the question for each correct match.

Please note that images, video, and mathematical formulae can also be used in matching questions, as well as in most other types of question in Ultra tests.

More information about using matching questions is available at: Blackboard Help – Matching Questions

More information about setting up tests in Ultra courses is available at: Blackboard Help – Create Tests

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Improvements to journals navigation

After the November upgrade, the ‘Marks and Participation’ option in Ultra journals will be available via the tab navigation on the left-hand side of the screen, providing consistency of navigation with Ultra discussions and assignments.

• Journals in Ultra courses – old view (top) and new view (bottom)

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More information

As ever, please get in touch with your learning technologist if you would like any more information about the new features available in this month’s upgrade: Who is my learning technologist?