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Blackboard Ultra Navigation: Introduction

Introduction to Ultra Navigation in Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Ultra Navigation

Screen Shot of Blackboard Ultra Base NavigationBlackboard Ultra Navigation

On May 15th 2018 Blackboard Learn at Loyola was upgraded to activate Ultra Navigation. This changes how users log in and find their courses in Blackboard, but makes only minor, cosmetic changes to the structure or content of courses.

Ultra Navigation is one step, but not the final step, toward implementing Blackboard Ultra Experience here at Loyola. The Ultra Experience is a new version of Blackboard with a completely new look and feel that will impact the structure and content of all courses. The change made in May much smaller in scope. 

What Changed in May 2018

Users who were familiar with Blackboard Learn screens prior to May 15th will notice the following differences:

1: The login screen ( will has different appearance. However, it still asks for a username and password, and provides a link to help for Blackboard users.

2: The Landing Page (first screen after logging in) is now the Activity Stream page, identifying upcoming and recent events in the user's active courses. The Activity Stream reminds students of upcoming due dates and feedback from instructors. It reminds instructors of submissions needing grading, messages from students, and the like. 

3: A new Navigation Panel on the left-hand side of the screen provides options for accessing individual courses, the Blackboard Calendar, My Grades, and other Blackboard tools and university resources.

4: A new Courses Page lists all courses in which the user is enrolled. The list can be customized by hiding courses, and instructors will have the option of marking courses as private (unavailable to students) or completed (students can see content but can't submit any kind of work).

5: There is a new Institution Page, with links to selected university resources.

6: Within each course there are only small differences in the appearance of text and/or buttons in the course menu, and in the standard icons that identify different types of course content (tests, documents, assignments, links, etc.).

What Won't Change (Until Later)

The organizational structure of each course, including content files (PowerPoint slides, Word Processing Documents, Links, Videos, etc.), remains unchanged. Course functions such as the grade center, "needs grading," discussion boards, online tests, and submission of written assignments, work the same way and largely look the same as now. 

For Additional Information

CLICK HERE to watch a 6-minute video explaining Ultra Navigation.

CLICK HERE to see or download a PDF of the same presentation as a slide show with a script.

CLICK HERE to watch a 2-minute video about the Activity Stream page on Blackboard TV (YouTube)

CLICK HERE to visit Blackboard's help for the Courses page (for instructors).

CLICK HERE to visit Blackboard's help for the Courses page (for students). 

Sample Activity Stream Page

Activity Stream in Ultra Navigation (Screen Shot)

Sample Courses Page

Screen Shot: Blackboard Courses Page in Ultra Navigation

Managing Your List Of Courses

On the courses page, all the courses in which you are enrolled will be listed in alphabetical order by course title. For some users with older courses, the screen might be split up, so you'll need to click on right or left arrows near the top of the screen to find older or newer courses. This might seem unwieldy at first, but there are ways of managing the list to make it easier to find the course or courses you want:

Students and Instructors can both:

  • Be aware that the list of courses always includes both the course title and course ID number, and that the ID number usually starts with a semester designator such as "18M-". The semester designator can help distinguish between courses that have similar titles. 
  • Type any text in the "Search your courses" box, to limit the courses that appear on the list. The text you type is automatically matched to both course titles and course IDs. 
  • Mark selected courses as "favorites" by clicking on the star icon to the right of a Course Title. Starred items will appear near the top of the list until the star is removed by clicking on the icon again.
  • Use the Filter options to list open or completed courses separately (if there are courses on the list that have different status categories).

Instructors have additional options, available by clicking on the "extras" icon (three dots) to the far right of each course:

  • You can hide a course, which moves it off the main list onto a separate list of hidden courses. A course you mark as hidden is still visible and accessible to enrolled students and other enrolled users.
  • You can mark a course Private (this used to be called "unavailable"). Courses marked Private go onto a separate list of courses. Private courses are invisible and inaccessible to enrolled students.
  • You can mark a course Completed. Completed courses go on a separate list. Completed courses are visible to enrolled students, but they can't make any changes or submissions. 
  • You can use the Filter options to switch between lists of Open, Private, Completed, or Hidden courses.

Screen Shot of the Blackboard Courses Page, with red circles highlighting the box for searching courses by text, the filter selection, star icon, and 3-dot "extras" icon.


If you are enrolled in a large number of courses, be aware of the counter near the top right, circled in red here:

Screen Shot: Blackboard Ultra Courses page, with red circle around counter of courses and pages.

The counter reminds you of the total number of courses that are included on this display. By default, the web page will list a maximum of 50 courses at a time, so if you have more than 50 in the same category, it might be necessary to click on the left or right arrows to page through them. Clicking on the small, black, down-arrow will bring up options to change the number of courses that can be listed on a single page. 

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