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NEWS: Elearning leads soft launch of Ultra Course Experience

NEWS: Elearning leads soft launch of Ultra Course Experience

By Marissa Contreras
Bridge Staff Podcaster
Published Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

New features are here for Blackboard. Some professors have already opted in for the soft launch of the new Ultra Course Experience, which began this semester.

The new features are intended to help faculty and students utilize and learn more about the resources TAMIU offers. The Ultra Course Experience is planned to go into full swing this summer.

Elearning Team
Submitted photo
The OIT Elearning team poses for a group photo.

In preparation for more than a year, the new Elearning software went through many stages for the transition, which officials hope will be seamless.

Spring 2023, Blackboard went through a change called Base Navigation, which changed the way students see the Blackboard home page.

“The idea was that people would start to get a feel for what was coming,” Director of Academic Technology Pat Abrego said.

The program’s team gathered a board of undergraduate and graduate students to talk about their concerns with Blackboard, to ask them what features they would like to see and what could be improved to make Ultra a better software for students.

“We need as much information and feedback as possible so we can improve all the resources we have,” Instructional Technology and Distance Education Services Instructional Designer IV Carlos Vallarta said. “So, we will be ready for the [launch] in the summer and fall.”

In the new experience, students should be able to access a more user-friendly interface to find their courses, as well as resources, and see tasks they have either not completed, completed or are still in progress. A calendar allows students to see due dates at the beginning of the semester to better prepare.

As of Spring 2024, the Ultra Course Experience went through a soft launch to allow professors the option to continue using the recent Blackboard or switch to the new Ultra Experience.

“We had planned to have about 20 faculty members that had registered for the soft launch, but we found out there are actually about 70 faculty members [who] decided to move to Ultra,” Instructional Technology and Distance Education Services Instructional Designer IV Julio Tovar said.

Interested persons may learn more about the Ultra Course Experience, by visiting the Office of Instructional Technology and Distance Education in the Sue & Radcliffe Killam Library Room 259 or email them at elearning@tamiu.edu.

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