1. Home
  2. Preparing content for Blackboard Ultra courses

Preparing content for Blackboard Ultra courses

In preparation for the start of the 2023/24 academic year, staff are advised to evaluate the content in their current course and identify what needs to be moved to Ultra. With a bit of planning, most content from an Original course can be reused in an Ultra course.

Considerations for reusing content

Some differences between Original (‘old’) and Ultra (‘new’) courses have implications for reusing content between the course types. These include changes to content type availability and functionality, reduced nesting of content and course content displaying differently in Ultra.

Course templates

Blackboard courses for the 2023/24 academic year will use the new course template which is based on the Hull York Medical School Standards. These have a pre-built overall structure ready for staff to populate with learning content. To reuse content, you should retain the overall template structure, but adapt the structure within sections to meet your programme/module’s needs.

Unavailable content types

Some Original content types are not available in Ultra.  For example, Blogs, some Test question types (Jumbled sentence, Either/Or, File Response, Opinion Scale, Likert, Ordering, Quiz Bowl, Short Answer), Wikis and Surveys. To reuse this content, alternatives are required.

Content nesting

Original allowed unlimited nesting, but Ultra is restricted to two levels of nesting. To reuse nested Original content, you’ll need to restructure this to fit the new Ultra structure. The new Ultra template will help you do this.

Content display

Original displays simple site content like text, images, uploaded files and embedded items directly on the same page with folders and more complex content. Ultra displays this simple content in separate Document items that users must open to view the content. To reuse content, Original content may need restructuring to display appropriately in Ultra.

Prepare Original Content

  1. Identify the content in your current Original course that you would like to use in the 2023/24 academic year. You can get a comprehensive list of resources on a Blackboard course by following these instructions:
    • In the course menu, click on the folder icon (called Display Course Menu in a Window). This will open the course menu in a new window.
    • In the top right-hand corner of the menu, click the plus (+) symbol. This will expand the menu and display the course structure.
    • Right-click on the window and from the menu click Print.
    • Save the document as a PDF.
  2. Make sure this content is all up to date, accessible and relevant to the 2023/24 block/module.
  3. Reusing Original content is much easier with the prebuilt course template. The template structure will work well for most courses, but if you need to adapt it or add more Folders or Learning Modules you can do.

Transferring content from an Original course to an Ultra course

For most simple course content, we recommend building content directly in a Document in the relevant Ultra course location. We recognise this sounds like more work than using the Copy Content tool, but we’ve compared the methods and generally find it quicker and easier to build this content directly in Ultra.

We have devised a traffic light approach to copying content from an Original course to an Ultra course.

The best (and most time effective) approach to transferring content from an Ultra course to and Original course is to download content from an Original course (if it’s not stored somewhere in your cloud file storage) and reupload it to Ultra. This will ensure that you only transfer across the learning content that is required. It also means the content will be available to users in the most accessible format.  We will go through this process in the Ultra training session delivered throughout the Summer.

Amber - Proceed with caution

You can copy individual resources from an Original course to an Ultra course. However, please be aware that resources may not be displayed in the most accessible way for students in an Ultra course (as discussed above under considerations for reusing content).

For example, copying an Item (text with an associated document) from an Original course will be converted to a Document in Blackboard Ultra. This means a user will have to click to access the Blackboard Document and click again to access the resource that is attached. In this instance, it would be better to use the recommended approach above to download the document from an Original course and then uploading to the Ultra course.

Red - Not recommended

While it is technically possible to copy content in bulk from Original to Ultra course, it usually results in several issues. Copying content in bulk requires a lot of restructuring and ‘fixing’ to make the site usable, which can be extremely time-consuming and fiddly. We’ve tried it, it’s painful. We strongly recommend you do not use this approach.

After copying, check that the content is as you expected and address any issues. Copied content is also hidden from students by default, so you will need to make this content visible.

Updated on 16/03/2023

Was this article helpful?