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Messages and Emails in Ultra courses

Messages is a function in Blackboard Learn Ultra that can be accessed via the main Blackboard Menu or inside an Ultra course. This function is set as Read-only for students at the University of Reading. You will be able to use the tool to message your students but they cannot use it to reply to or write messages.

Sending Emails in Ultra

There are two ways to send emails from an Ultra course via Announcements or Messages.


When using the Announcements function you can send your announcement to students via email.

screenshot of create Announcement page

When sending an email copy of an announcement:

  • Messages will only be delivered to enrolled people with active email addresses.
  • Announcements can only be sent to all enrolled users (you can not select groups or individuals)
  • If you scheduled an announcement to display in the future you will NOT have the email option.

See our guide Ultra: Announcements for further details.


As the Messages function has been set up so that students can only receive messages it acts in many ways like the email function in Blackboard Learn original.

screenshot of Ultra Messages page

Messages tab

The Messages tab is in the navigation bar at the top of an Ultra course.

All messages sent from the course will appear here. Emailed announcements will not be listed here.

For each message on the list there will be:

  1. Message details (sender, recipients and title)
  2. Date and time of message.
  3. Option to delete message from list.

Sending a Message

Click on the new message icon or button, which will open the new message screen.

A warning message appears at the top of the screen stating “Students can view your messages, but they aren’t allowed to reply or create messages”. This message appears because the University of Reading has set this function to read-only for students.

There are two compulsory sections Recipients and Message.


Once you place your cursor into the Type a name field in the Recipients section a list of pre-set groups and individual students will appear.  The pre-set groups are:

  • All course members
  • All instructors
  • All students

Alternatively you can start typing the name of the student or staff member you wish to contact or use the scroll bar to move down the list to find them.

screen shot of message recipients


The message writing section is a text box with the Blackboard text editor.  You can use a variety of formatting tools plus the options to insert a link, file or image.

screenshot of message text box

You have the option to send this message so that it appears in the recipients Messages area or to send an additional emailed copy to the recipients.

Please note that using the email option will also send an receipt of each individual email to your email address.

Click on Send to send the message and email copy of the message (if you have checked this option).

Where on the course can message be sent from?

Messages can be sent from a few places on an Ultra course.

Messages tab

When sending a message from the message tab click on the new message icon in the top right-hand corner (circled plus sign).


With the Blackboard assessment tools Bb Assignment, Discussions, Tests, and Discussions there is a Message button available in the Submissions or Marks & Participation page.

This is not the case for Group Assignments or Journals.

Screenshot of Assignment Submission page with Messages button

On the Blackboard Assignment gradebook submissions page it is possible to use the filter Student Status to find a subset of students, such as those with no submission.  You could then select the filtered group and use the Send Message button to send a reminder for them to submit.

Student Overview

It is possible to access the student overview via Class Register, Gradebook, Messages, Discussions or Course Activity report. There are elements to the student overview that will allow you to message the student.

  1. Marks tab
  2. Progress tab
  3. Student Activity page
Screenshot of Student page

With all three screens there is a Send Message button or icon (envelope) to send a message to that specific student.

Guide last updated on April 22, 2024

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