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Getting started with Organisations

Blackboard Organisations are used for supporting student engagement and learning that goes beyond a particular RISIS module. Please see our guide Blackboard Organisations for further information on how Organisations are used at the University of Reading.

Blackboard Organisations moved to Blackboard Learn Ultra at the start of the 2023/4 academic year.  If you had an older Organisation and had not created a Blackboard Learn Ultra Organisation by the 11th September 2023, students will no longer see your Organisation. Create an Ultra Organisation quickly using the steps below. Once you have the essential information up and available to students you can see our further guidance on Building Content in Blackboard Learn Ultra.

For all new Organisations requests please follow these quick steps to get started.

Quick Steps

Step 1 –  Request an Ultra Organisation

Please complete the request form to create a new Ultra Organisation: Request an Ultra Organisation.

Step 2 – Add Content

Your Ultra Organisation will be created from one of two templates:

Note: In each template there is a Learning Module called Blackboard Learn Ultra – Example, Help & Resources, containing examples of content you can add to your Ultra Organisation.

Template option A: Blank Ultra Organisation

With the Blank Ultra Organisation, start by creating a Learning Module for each content area you will need to organise the material. Start with the most essential information students will need.

Learning Modules are similar to folders – you can fill them with content for the students, which they can reveal and hide.  Learning Modules can also:

  • Contain Folders
  • Contain Ultra Documents (similar to Items in original)
  • Have an image and description for students
  • Be set to Forced Sequence, which will force the student to view the materials in order.

Create Learning Module

a) In the Course Content area, hover under the hidden content until a purple line with a plus sign icon appears:

screenshot of standard template with add content menu

b) Click on the purple plus icon, this will reveal an add content menu.

c) From the add content menu select Create. The Create Panel will open on the right-hand side of the screen.

d) Select the first option on the create menu “Learning Module”.  This will change the panel to the create Learning Module panel.

screenshot of create Learning Module panel

a) Change the name of the Learning Module.

b) You can change the student visibility here or change it to visible once you have added materials to the Learning Module.

c) Add a description of the Learning Module, this text will appear directly under the Learning Module name.

d) You may wish to skip adding an image for now, the Learning Module icon will appear on the Course Content.  You can return and add an image when the Organisation is up and running.

e) If you turn on Forced Sequence, students will only be able to view the material in the order in which they are placed in the Learning Module.

f) Save.

The new Learning Module will appear in the Course Content area:

screenshot of newly created Learning Module.

You can open the Learning Module using the chevron on the far right.  To add content hover until you see the purple plus sign icon and click for the add content menu.

You can add your materials using Copy, upload and create Documents or Folders.

When you have uploaded your essential information go to Step 3: Make your Organisation available to students.

Template Option B – Student “briefcase” style

Screenshot of departmental template

A student briefcase template (or blank Ultra Organisation) will be provided with all the items hidden from student view. Add the essential material for students.

Add Content

From the departmental template identify key information, such as Programme Handbooks, that students will need immediate access to.

Populate these key areas with your department’s information by uploading new materials and/or copying from your current organisation.

screenshot of course content with add content menu open

a) Open the top layer (the learning module) to reveal its contents.

b) Open the second layer (the folder) to add content.

c) Hover the cursor over the area where you wish to add content until a purple plus sign icon appears.

d) Click on the icon and select copy or upload from the add content menu when it appears.

Copy files from original Organisation

If you have content on another course or organisation that you would like to reuse it is possible to copy it directly into your new Ultra Organisation.

Click on the purple plus sign icon and select Copy Content from the menu.  In the Copy Items screen select whether you are copying from a Course or Organisation, by clicking on the relevant tab in the top navigation bar.

a) When Organisations is selected all the Organisations you are enrolled on will be listed.

screenshot of copy items screen.

b) Select the Organisation you wish to copy from.

c) The Organisations content areas will appear as a list, select the one you wish to copy from.

d) The items in the content area will appear as a list, check the box of each item you wish to copy.

e) The items selected to copy will appear on the right-hand panel, select Start Copy when you are ready.

Upload new material

To upload files you can use the Upload option on the add content menu or simply drag and drop files from your file manager.

screenshot of drag and drop files on to Course Content

Items are now Documents

Previously known as an Item, in Blackboard Learn Ultra you can now create a Document by adding text, images, links, and embedded media. Documents are slightly different to Items but the purpose is the same.

When copying content from your original Organisation Items will appear in Ultra with a Document icon.

Screenshot of items copying into Ultra as documents

Some content in the original Item may not copy correctly into the Ultra Document. You can check the copied Ultra Document by selecting Edit from the three dot menu for that item.

screenshot of Ultra document on course content with three dot menu open.

Any embedded media should copy into an Ultra Document in place. You may need to edit the media size:

screenshot of items converted to Ultra documents - editing media items

Organising Materials

For a quick set up use the template as much as possible.  Once you have the essentials up and available to students you can look at further Ultra guides to build up your Organisation.

Step 3 –  Make Available to Students

Once you have some basic information for students on your Ultra Organisation you can make the completed items visible to students while you continue to build your Organisation.

Hide or Replace the Banner

Before releasing your new Organisation to students update the template banner. Blank templates do not have a banner.

If you have a suitable banner image you wish to use you can replace the template banner, if you do not have an image to hand turn off banner image for now and replace it at a later point.

screenshot of template course banner and how to replace or turn image off.

a) Click on the pencil icon to replace the banner image.

b) To change the settings select Organisation Image from the left-hand menu.

c) In the Organisation Image panel change Organisation Banner from On to Off by clicking on it.

Make content visible to students

All items will copy or upload to Ultra as “hidden from participants”, you will have to change this to visible to students for those items that are ready to go.

Select “visible to students” from the drop down menu.

screenshot of item availability options.

If you are happy to make a number of items available to student you can use Batch Edit to save time. See our guide on Ultra: Batch Edit – Visible to Students.

Open your Ultra Organisation

When you have the basic information ready you can Open to Participants.  Go to the Details and Actions menu on the left-hand side of the screen and select the section which states “Organisation is private“.

A pop-up window will prompt you to click on Open to Participants:

screenshot of open to participants screen.

Once you have the essential information up and available to students you can see our further guidance on Building Content in Blackboard Learn Ultra.

Guide last updated on January 11, 2024

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