VLE Review

After a thorough and robust procurement exercise, we are pleased to announce that our new Virtual Learning Environment will be Anthology’s Blackboard Learn Ultra.

This is a new version of Blackboard and provides a modern, intuitive course environment for both staff and students. The course areas are very different from our current version of Blackboard and we will be working closely with course teams over the course of the coming year to provide training and promote best practice in the use of Ultra.

The project team will be working hard over the coming months to get the new environment set up and running with all the associated integrations ready for training to start in the new year.

It is anticipated that all courses and modules will be delivered on the new system from the 24/25 academic year. In the meantime, we are looking for volunteers as early adopters for Ultra from Semester 2 23/24.

If your course is starting in semester 2 or you have a stand alone course or module running anytime from January 2024 please get in touch and we can discuss the possibility of being an early adopter. If your course has already started, we recommend staying on the current system until the new academic year to avoid any confusion for students.

If you require any further information or have any questions about the project please contact Libby Symonds, Head of the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit e.symonds@worc.ac.uk.

Will the new VLE look different?

Yes. Blackboard Ultra presents a significant change to the way courses are displayed and navigated, with a modernised and streamlined approach. 

Will I be able to copy my existing module over?

Whilst we can provide you with access to your files outside of the VLE, due to changes in course structure, you’ll need to populate your module areas again. However, this is an ideal opportunity to rethink your course content and start afresh. Blackboard Ultra offers lots of new opportunities to restructure and redesign your course, and we strongly encourage you to engage with training, so that you can get the most out of the new system. 

Will there be training available?

Yes, the TEL Unit will be providing training sessions, so all staff will be aware of the important changes and how to take the best approach, to ensure courses are well designed using the Ultra system.

Will I need to attend training sessions? 

Yes. Although we are still using the same software provider, the Blackboard Ultra system is substantially different and offers a number of advantages over Blackboard Learn. In order to get the most out of the system it is highly recommended that you attend a training session. 

Will you be providing training for course teams? 

Yes. This is a model of training that has proved to be very effective, and is particularly beneficial in helping teams adopt a course-wide approach.  Please get in touch if you would like a session for your course team. 

Can I be a champion for my department? 

Yes. Please email TEL if you are interested: tel@worc.ac.uk

When will we be able to use the new VLE?

It is hoped that early adopters will be able to use the VLE in Semester 2, 23-24. All staff and students will use Blackboard Ultra in Semester 1, 24-25, going forward.

Can I be an early adopter?

We will be running trials of the new VLE during Semester 2, this academic year. We welcome applications from staff who are considering being an early adopter.