The University and Blackboard have worked together for more than 12 years. As part of the VLE Review and Implementation Project, a Partnership Agreement was put in place to enable both parties to work more closely together to help achieve objectives which are mutually beneficial and outside the scope of a standard institution/vendor contract. Partnership meetings take place annually, to discuss the University’s priorities in terms of Digital Learning, and how we can work together to achieve these priorities.

The phased move to the Ultra Experience, which started with the introduction of the Ultra Base Navigation in July 2018, and continues with a phased move to the Ultra Course View, has enabled the University to contribute to the Blackboard Learn Ultra Roadmap as, from a UK perspective, we are early adopters.  The move to Ultra provides an opportunity to reflect on how we use the VLE to support the student learning experience and how we can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of academic administrative processes. To support our move to Ultra, Blackboard have shared details of their long-term roadmaps for Learn Ultra as well as their Original to Ultra comparison documents as and when requested. Please email CAD if you would like access to the latest versions of these documents, which are provided to us under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).

As part of our work with Blackboard, we have regular meetings (monthly, and sometimes bimonthly) with Blackboard Product Development Managers, Solution Engineers, Developers, Customer Success Advocates, during which we discuss our feature requests and requirements, upcoming new features and the timescales involved.  In December 2019, Blackboard appointed a Consultant to work with the eLearning Team to ensure they had detailed information regarding our requirements for Ultra, moving forwards, based on the experiences of the early adopter Schools.  A detailed spreadsheet is available, listing our features and requirements requests and providing an overview of the areas we are working with Blackboard Product management. If there areas of functionality that are not highlighted in this document, please contact CAD so that we can arrange to meet with you to discuss your use-case in detail. The eLearning team are also working closely with third-party applications that we use and who also partner with Blackboard such as Turnitin and Panopto, to enhance the integration of these applications, as well as with internal teams, to enhance the integrations with applications such as the SRS, MyTimetable.