Getting Started with Ultra Base Navigation in Learn Ultra (How-to)

A Better Blackboard Learn LMS Coming August 2020

Blackboard Learn is the learning management system (LMS) used by Drake faculty, staff, and students for face-to-face, blended, and online courses. 

We are making some major upgrades to Blackboard Learn Ultra, which we refer to going forward as Learn Ultra.  

The changes that will take effect this year will have minimal effect on the functionality of courses or the availability of features within courses. Instead, they will focus primarily on the look and feel of the LMS landing page and its navigation and will make Learn Ultra more user-friendly on all devices. Your courses and course content will remain in their current state with a few minor changes for the Fall 2020 semester.

Below is an overview of the new features and changes you'll see with the upgrade.  

Learn Ultra Base Navigation

With the Learn Ultra Base Navigation (UBN) update, the landing page for Learn Ultra will undergo a major change. Navigation around the system becomes more accessible on multiple devices and is more user-friendly overall.

NOTE: We are continuing to use the Original Course View until the next upgrade. Courses using the Original course view may be only partly mobile-responsive, and using a computer is recommended for submitting assignments or tests in a course until the upgrade is complete.

Learn Ultra Base Navigation Image showing the new it moves to the left side of the screen.

New and Improved Features

Institution Page

The Institution Page is the go-to resource where you'll find resources, useful links, and other important campus content.


In your profile you can decide what you want to be called, share your academic interests, add a profile picture, and edit your personal information.

Activity Stream

You can see what's new in all your courses and jump directly into course activities from the list. You see a prioritized list of what's relevant to you. Many notification features have been combined to help you find the targeted information you need. Over time, our system will get even smarter and help you understand which items are most time-sensitive or critical.

  • Follow student discussions as they happen, including the latest submissions.
  • Take note of how many submissions are ready to grade. You can also access new submissions from the stream. See an example.
  • Receive reminders about personal events and meetings.
  • Enjoy a bird's eye view of course activity and direct access to course items.
  • Use the Filter menu and choose to show all, see assignments and tests, grades, or feedback.


You can choose the types of notifications you receive and how they're delivered to you via the Activity Stream. On your Activity Stream page, select the Stream Settings icon to open the Notification Settings panel. You can also access these settings from your profile page.

You can choose to receive a daily digest of activities in any of your courses, based on which notifications are important to you. You can customize the notifications you receive in your Activity Stream, enable and disable email notifications, and update the push notifications that come through the Blackboard App. Learn more about Notification Settings.


The new Courses page sorts your courses into a time line so that you can focus on active courses. You can also search for courses by name or filter the view to hide or show them right from your Courses list. You can also mark courses as favorites to make it easier for you to access the courses you use most frequently. NOTE: Courses are now listed in alphabetical order an you you can no longer reorder your course list.

Once you click on a course in the Original Course View, the course menu appears on the left side of your window and is the key organization and navigation for your course. You create links on the course menu to present tools and materials to students. The area after the course menu is the Control Panel. NOTE: Students don't see the Control Panel.

You can also access the Grade Center and your file repository, and choose which course tools are available to your students. Your content appears in the main window to the right of the course menu. You use the functions above the main window to add content, such as Build Content and Assessments. More on the Original Course View


Access the organizations that you lead or belong to. Organizations behave like courses and house tools that let group members to communicate efficiently. You can post information, have discussions, and share documents. Groups that might use organizations include academic departments, study groups, and extra-curricular activities.


View events and due dates for all your courses. From the global calendar, in the list where your name appears, you can see all your upcoming due dates and meetings across your courses and organizations together. Office hours and due dates will be added to the calendar automatically when they are added to a course. NOTE: Calendars within courses will now only show you calendar events for that course. To see all calendar items, use the global calendar from the main menu.

You can also connect your Learn Ultra calendar to an external calendar, which will show all course events one year forward and one year back. Learn more about adding your Learn Ultra Calendar to an external calendar


View and send messages, not email, in all of your Ultra courses. Course messages are private and secure text-based communication within your course among course members. You must be logged in to a course to read and send course messages as they remain inside the system, but you don't have to worry about inaccurate email addresses.


See your grading tasks on the global Grades page from the main menu. Select any title to open. Choose a submission and start grading or reviewing feedback, all organized by course. No need to navigate to each course to see what's ready for grading. 


From Tools you can access global functions that are outside of your courses such as portfolios, Follett Discover, LockDown Browser, or the Content Collection.


Article ID: 110818
Thu 6/25/20 7:24 AM
Thu 7/9/20 11:24 AM