The new features in Blackboard’s April upgrade will be available on Friday 5th April. This month’s upgrade includes the following new/improved features to Ultra courses:

Anonymous discussions

Following feedback from staff, April’s upgrade will allow staff to set up Ultra discussions to allow students to post and reply to posts anonymously. After the upgrade, the option to allow anonymous responses and replied will be available in the ‘Discussion Settings’ panel.

• Discussion settings with ‘Allow anonymous responses and replies’ highlighted

Please note that selecting ‘Allow anonymous responses and replies’ does not mean that all replies and reponses will be anonymous; rather it means that students and staff can choose to post anonymously if they want to. To post anonymously, the ‘Post anonymously’ checkbox will need to be selected. Once posted, the anonymity of a post cannot be changed – i.e., an anonymous post cannot be de-anonymised by the person who posted it, and a non-anonymous post cannot be changed to anonymous.

• Discussion post prior to posting with ‘Post anonymously’ selected

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AI Design Assistant: Select course items/context picker enhancements

Following last month’s upgrade which introduced the context picker (the ‘Select course items’ tool) for auto-generated test questions, April’s upgrade introduces the option to select course items when auto-generating learning modules, assignments, and discussion and journal prompts.

The purpose of the ‘Select course items’ tool is to allow staff to specify exactly which resources should be used when auto-generating content. If ‘Select course items’ is used, the auto-generated content will be based only upon the items selected. Where no course items are selected, auto-generated content will be based upon the course title.

• AI Design Assistant tool with ‘Select course items’ (context picker) highlighted

You can find out more about the AI Design Assistant and how to use it it at: Learning Technology Team: AI Design Assistant

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Duplicate test/form question option, plus change to default test question value

The April upgrade introduces the ability for staff to duplicate test and form questions. Additionally, following the upgrade the default point value for newly created test questions will be changed from 10 points to 1 point.

• Test question with ‘Duplicate’ option selected

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Likert form questions includes options for 4 and 6, as well as 3, 5, and 7

The February 2024 upgrade introduced the ‘Forms’ tool to Ultra courses. One of the question types available in forms is a Likert question; however, the original release only included options for staff to select Likert scales with 3, 5, or 7 points. April’s upgrade will add options to choose scales with 4 or 6 points.

• Form with Likert question and scale range selected

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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?