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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 was 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 (loyno.blackboard.com) has a 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. 

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. Users enrolled in many courses may find the list a little unwieldy at first, but see the section on "Managing Your List of Courses," below, for hints on how to make it easier to find the desired courses. 

5. Blackboard actively notifies users about due dates, grades, submissions, messages, and more. These notices are posted on the Activity Stream page, and sent by email. See the section on "Managing Notifications," below, for hints on how to adjust the notifications automatically sent by Blackboard. 

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

7: 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 before. 


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)


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 inaccessible to enrolled students.
  • You can mark a course Completed. Completed courses go on a separate list. Enrolled students can see the contents of Completed courses, but they can't make any changes, posts, 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. 

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). 


Managing Notifications

With Ultra Navigation, Blackboard actively notifies you when things change in your courses. It does this by posting notices on your Activity Stream page, and also by sending notices by email. You can adjust your notification settings to reduce some of these notifications, if you prefer.

To change your notification settings, click on your name on the navigation panel along the left hand side of the screen. Look for the section of the screen labeled “Global Notification Settings” then click on either “Stream notifications” or “Email notifications.”

Screen Shot of the Personal Information Page with a red circle around the entry points for editing Stream and Email notification settings

 

The Notifications Settings Panel will appear, as shown below. On that panel, you can click on the globe icon to change the activity stream notification settings or click on the envelope icon to change the activity stream icon.

To change your Activity Stream Notification Settings, first click on the globe icon. Make sure the boxes are checked or unchecked for different types of notifications as desired, then click Save. The panel reminds you that the Activity Stream will always show students notifications about due dates, grades, or other feedback.

To change your Email Notification Settings, click on the envelope icon. Make sure the boxes are checked or unchecked as desired for different types of notifications, then click Save.  At the top, remember to specify whether you want to receive a singled email per day containing multiple notifications, or a separate email for each notification.

 
CLICK HERE for Blackboard's Help Page on Notifications for Students.
CLICK HERE for Blackboard's Help Page on Notifications for Instructors.

 

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