The new features in Blackboard’s May upgrade will be available on Friday 2nd May. This month’s upgrade includes the following new/improved features to Ultra courses:

Improved gradebook navigation

There are currently three different views of the Ultra gradebook which are available under two gradebook sub-tabs, one of which has a grid/list selector. These views are:

  • Markable items (list view)
  • Markable items (grid view)
  • Students

As this can make navigating the gradebook rather confusing, May’s upgrade will provide each gradebook view with its own sub-tab as follows:

  • Markable items (list view) will become Markable items
  • Markable items (grid view) will become Marks
  • Students will remain as it is
• Ultra gradebook current view (top) and new view (bottom)

Back to top ↑

Supporting multiple performance criteria in release conditions

Staff can currently set performance-based release conditions for items in Ultra courses against only a single performance criteria (i.e, a gradable item for which students have a grade in the Ultra gradebook). For example, if there are three tests in a course and staff want to make an item available only to students who have scored above a certain score in each test, this is not possible. As a workaround, staff can use cascading release criteria, e.g., releasing the second test when the first is passed, the third when the second is passed, and the content item when the third test is passed. However, using cascading release criteria is not always what is desired, and they can be complicated to set up.

Following the May release, staff will be able to set release conditions against multiple performance criteria, allowing staff to selectively release content in Ultra courses to students who have fulfilled multiple conditions. Where staff want to continue using a series of cascading release conditions they can continue to do so, but will no longer have to use them as a workaround. When setting up performance-based release conditions, staff can set content to be released to students who have scored n points/% or higher, or can specify custom ranges.

Release conditions can be especially useful for staff who want to automatically release content to students based upon their assessment scores. For example, releasing one set of content designed to support students who have failed an assessment, another set to students who have passed the assessment, and more challenging content to students who have performed exceptionally well.

• Setting release conditions with multiple performance-based criteria

More information about using release conditions in Ultra courses is available from: Blackboard Help – Content Release Conditions

Back to top ↑

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?