self-scheduled learning activities in Ultra
Learning activities (or self-scheduled learning) include a combination of independent activities such as readings and guided screencasts/ videos, alongside practical activities, reflective writing, participation in asynchronous discussion and quizzing.
What activities are available in Ultra?
The core tools that Blackboard Ultra provides for Learning Activities are the:
Journal – a reflective activity that prompts students to make a series of entries over a chosen duration. It can include text, images, video, and file attachments. This makes the tool simple in concept but broad in usage, facilitating reflective entries on lab work, reading, research, or could be used to create a portfolio of artefacts. Though it can be used as a learning activity, it could also be used for formative and marked summative assessment.
Discussions – a collaborative activity that can facilitate discussion between teacher and students (including peer discussion). Discussions can be started within a Learning Module or Folder to be situated in context with a student’s weekly learning sequence. Discussions require a prompt for students to think and reply to, and function most effectively when actively engaged with online and in the classroom, to consolidate key points, themes, and application to further learning. Discussions can have a marking component when used for summative assessment.
Tests – a benchmarking activity that allows students to gauge their own understanding of their learning through answering questions. Tests are completed individually, and when used as an activity are best used an unlimited number of times to see if they can improve their performance after filling in gaps in their knowledge. Tests can also be used for formative and marked summative assessment.
Achieving success with Ultra Learning Activities
A common concern amongst educators is that unless there is a marking component to self-scheduled activities, that it is difficult to get students to engage with them, as they may choose to prioritise certain activity over others, e.g. high stakes summative assessment.
Blackboard Ultra simplifies the construction of learning sequences and deployment of activities, which gives educators more time to plan progressively deeper learning experiences, without the worry of administrating and setting up complex technical tasks.
In practice this means aligning learning activity to the Learning Outcomes of the module, communicating the value and purpose of the activities, whilst being present in the students learning both in the classroom and online.
These resources provide some additional context that may help you plan to engage and scaffold your students through their learning activities.
- Engaging students with your digital practice
- Course communication and analytics
- Assessment volume and distribution
What other learning activities are in blackboard ultra?
The list below provides links to further information and available support for technologies in Blackboard and other university systems. If you’re planning to use technology listed as ‘third-party’, see considerations when using third party tools/services in teaching and learning.
Blackboard – supported by CQSD TEL
- Blackboard Tests
- Blackboard Groups for student collaboration
- Formative assessment tasks
- YuJa Videos
Microsoft 365- supported by DTS
- Microsoft Whiteboard
- Microsoft Forms
- Teams spaces for student collaboration
- O365 co-authoring tools
(collaborative O365 docs and OneNote)
Other (third-party) – contact provider for technical support