Blackboard Ultra Transition Academy

We are accelerating our transition to Ultra Course View with the recommendation that faculty expect to teach in the Ultra Course View for the Fall 2023 semester and planned full migration by December 31, 2023. The Blackboard Ultra Transition Academy is a great opportunity to make that transition now with the ongoing support of a CITL staff member or Ultra Ambassador as your partner! 

Overview

The Blackboard Ultra Transition Academy consists of four components:

  • Three-week online course on how to use Ultra Course View and best practices for creating an intuitive and user-friendly experience for your students
  • Ongoing consultation with a dedicated partner; either a member of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning team or a faculty member serving as an Ultra Ambassador
  • Your commitment to teach using the Ultra Course View in the next semester
  • Membership in the ongoing Teaching with Ultra Community at NIU (via Microsoft Teams)

Faculty who complete the online course, commit to teaching the next semester in the Ultra Course View, and make significant progress in developing their course in the Ultra Course View will receive a certificate and digital badge.

  • Spring 2023 - Dates TBD (unfortunately, the stipend will not be available to participants in spring 2023 because of limited funding)
 
  • Open to all faculty (including tenured / tenure-track, clinical, research, visiting, and instructional faculty), staff who teach, and teaching assistants.
  • Digital badge via Badgr that can be shared to social media
  • Printed certificate of completion for faculty service report
  • Featured on Teaching and Learning with Blackboard website as an Academy Participant

Applications for the fall cohort are now closed. You can sign up to be notified when applications open for the spring cohort.


Ultra Ambassadors

Faculty who are experienced with teaching in the Ultra Course View are invited to become an Ultra Ambassador, which consists of the following:

  • Attend an Ultra Ambassador kickoff session (virtual, recorded)
  • Participate in the three-week online course as a mentor
  • Serve as a partner to 1-2 faculty members through a few in-person or virtual meetings (at the discretion of you and your partner) and email exchanges
  • Record a 3-5 minute course tour video to share how you have taught with the Ultra Course View
  • Membership in the ongoing Teaching with Ultra Community (via Microsoft Teams)

Faculty who serve as an Ultra Ambassador can expect to spend 2-3 hours a week as a partner during an offering of the Academy and will receive a $500 stipend. Pending availability of funding, previous Ambassadors may choose to renew their positions for Spring 2023.

  • Open to faculty (including tenured / tenure-track, clinical, research, visiting, and instructional faculty) and staff
  • Must have taught at least 1 semester (preferably at least 3 courses) with the Ultra Course View in Spring 2022, Summer 2022, or Fall 2022
  • Unfortunately, teaching assistants and members of CITL are not eligible
  • $500 stipend for each cohort served as an Ambassador
  • Digital badge via Badgr that can be shared as social media
  • Featured on the Teaching and Learning with Blackboard site as an Ultra Ambassador
  • Course tour highlighted as part of the Ultra Course View gallery on the Teaching and Learning with Blackboard site
  • Letter of appreciation and printed certificate for faculty service report

Applications are now closed. Pending availability of funding, current Ambassadors will have to option to renew for spring, and additional applications may be accepted at that time.


FAQ

Academy

How much time will the Academy require?

You can expect to spend at least 2-3 hours a week on activities for the online course and additional work on building your course in the Ultra Course View. 

How are participants selected for the Blackboard Ultra Transition Academy?

Everyone who is interested in the Blackboard Ultra Transition Academy will complete a short application form. We hope to have enough room for everyone who is interested in participating, but space is limited. If interest exceeds our capacity, we will be using the following priorities to select participants who are:

  • teaching fully online courses, particularly those in fully online programs
  • teaching high-enrollment courses
  • coordinating courses with multiple sections (where the course is built in Blackboard and copied to multiple sections)
  • teaching gateway courses (a course that a student needs to take within a major or is a course required to complete general studies requirements, as defined for our Higher Learning Commission Quality Initiative)
  • using the Original Course View extensively for their current courses 
When will the stipend be paid?

The stipend will be paid in two installments. You will receive $250 for completing the requirements of the online course and $250 for making significant progress on creating your course in the Ultra Course View. 

The forms for the stipends will be submitted to HR by June 30 for the cohort starting in May and by December 15 for the cohort starting in September.

How do I know whether the Ultra Course View has the features I need?

Blackboard is currently investing significantly in developing new features for the Ultra Course View, particularly features that are available in the Original Course View but currently missing in Ultra. Check out Is Ultra Right for Me? and the Ultra Course View Feature Guide for detailed information on the tools that are currently available. What's New in Ultra? has details on the features coming soon to the Ultra Course View as well as the features recently added to it.

Ultra Ambassadors

How will Ultra Ambassadors be selected?

We hope to select Ambassadors from across the university, so a limited number can be selected from the same college or department.

Ambassadors will be chosen based on their experience level with the Ultra Course View. We will also consider the specific tools the Ambassadors have used in the Ultra Course View (such as discussions, assignments, tests, etc.) to be able to match Ambassadors with their partners. You do not need to have used all of the tools in Ultra to apply for or be selected as an Ambassador, but we do need to have some Ambassadors who have used some each of the tools.

What support will be available for Ultra Ambassadors?
The Ultra Ambassadors will have access to a dedicated CITL team member who will be your primary contact for support. If you are working with a partner and you aren't certain how to answer a question or you experience a technical issue, your CITL contact will be able to offer assistance.


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Get Help

Technical Support and Student Help

Division of IT Service Desk

815-753-8100
servicedesk@niu.edu

Teaching Support and Faculty Help

Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning

815-753-0595
citl@niu.edu

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