MyAberdeen Ultra Courses - You Said, We Did

The Ultra Course View is a simpler and more modern course experience for staff and students than the Original Course View. The VLE Project Board opted to move to the Ultra Course View in a phased manner, moving 5 Schools in August 2019 and the rest in August 2020. This enables the experiences of the ‘early adopters’ to shape the University’s approach to supporting learning through MyAberdeen. This page outlines the feedback received from the early adopter Schools and how this is being addressed. The early adopter Schools are Business, Education, Law, Psychology and Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture.

Import CSV files containing tutorial memberships

You Said

In Ultra it is not possible to import csv files containing tutorial memberships, which were downloaded from MyTimetable, in order to create groups in Ultra to support tutorial activities.

We Did

We organized a meeting between senior Blackboard developers and our internal development team, the Academic Applications team, to discuss how we can push tutorial memberships from MyTimetable directly to Ultra courses. The Academic Applications team has delivered a prototype of this workflow for use by the early adopter Schools from January 2020 onwards. Currently the workflow involves Schools requesting a push of tutorial memberships for specific courses but the next iteration of the tool will enable School admin teams to do this directly from MyTimetable.

Two different types of groups

You Said

It is confusing to have two different types of groups, the Course Groups under the ‘Details & Actions’, which support the Turnitin workflows and messaging only, and the groups that are created as part of Blackboard assignment and discussion workflows which involve group work.

We Did

On the 5 December Blackboard applied an update to MyAberdeen that now enables staff to use groups created in Course Groups as part of Blackboard workflows involving discussions, tests and assignments. This is currently limited to a maximum of 20 groups within a group set but we are working with Blackboard to remove this limitation.

Self-enrol option for groups

You Said

The self-enrol option for groups was a feature you valued, and one which was not available in Ultra.

We Did

On the 5 September Blackboard applied an update to MyAberdeen that enabled the self-enrol feature in groups that form part of Blackboard group assignments and discussions and are working on providing the same functionality in Course Groups in the first quarter of 2020.

School Admin role

You Said

Staff with the School Admin role need to be able to easily differentiate students in the class register by being able to see their username and student ID when selecting a user.

We Did

In September we delegated permissions to staff with the School Admin role that enabled them to see students’ username and student ID in the class register and in Gradebook Grid Views.

Error message received when changing a user’s role

You Said

The erroneous error message received when changing a user’s role in a course was confusing, as it implied that it had not been possible to change a user’s role though the role change had been successful.

We Did

Worked with Blackboard to alter the permissions associated with the ‘School Admin Support’ role in courses so that this erroneous error did not display to users.

Delay feedback for automatically graded online tests

You Said

The inability to delay feedback for automatically graded online tests (e.g. tests with multiple choice questions) meant that many staff did not want to use Ultra tests to deliver summative tests.

We Did

We identified all Course Coordinators that used tests in previous years and proactively contacted them to alert them to the inability to delay feedback as well as the lack of options available for how to present the questions in a test. We offered to work with Course Coordinators to review their Tests, to see if they were suitable for delivery in Ultra. If Ultra was not suitable we migrated tests to specially created Original Course View areas where options to delay feedback were available. At the same time, we communicated our disappointment with Tests in Ultra to the Chief Executive Officer of Blackboard, and their Chief Client Officer. Their Chief Client Officer subsequently assigned a Blackboard Consultant to work with us to ensure they capture our feedback effectively and communicate with us in terms of how they are addressing the issues we have highlighted. This work is on-going. In addition, the regularity of meetings with one of their Senior Product Managers, our Senior Account Executive and senior members of the eLearning team has increased to every 2 – 3 weeks, to ensure we are kept up to date on their development plans and that they have a good understanding of the functionality we require.

Question banks

You Said

The workflows for using question banks in online tests was not efficient.

We Did

On the 3 October Blackboard updated MyAberdeen with functionality that provided staff with the options to Select All and Clear all question choices on the Add Question Pool page. In addition, they enabled staff to regrade individual questions within a question pool.

Fractional grade points

You Said

Staff need the flexibility to assign fractional grade points to online test questions in order to fully use the benefits of the CGS.

We Did

Blackboard applied an update to MyAberdeen on the 3 October that enables staff to assign fractional grade points to test questions.

Needs Grading

You Said

The Needs Grading functionality in Original Course View was useful to identify which students had submitted work that needs to be graded.

We Did

Blackboard applied an update to MyAberdeen on the 5 September that introduced a Needs grading filter to the submissions list for individual Ultra assessments.

Download multiple assignment submissions

You Said

For Blackboard Ultra assignment submissions, it was not possible to download multiple assignment submissions at once as a ZIP file.

We Did

Blackboard introduced the functionality to bulk download Ultra assignment submissions when they applied an update to MyAberdeen on the 3 October.

SafeAssign and Turnitin

You Said

For both Blackboard SafeAssign and Turnitin assignment workflows it is important that students see a notice that states ‘By submitting your assignment you accept that your work is your own work and does not breach the University of Aberdeen Code of Practice on Student Discipline regarding plagiarism and cheating’. This was previously achieved using the Review function in Original Course View. In Ultra areas, the equivalent can be achieved by using performance based conditional release and a test. Both the previous workflow in Original and the workaround in Ultra are not ideal.

We Did

We have provided feedback to both Blackboard and Turnitin about the importance of institutions being able to place a notice in relation to plagiarism and cheating within assignment workflows. We are therefore working with Blackboard, Turnitin, and internally, in terms of our current practices, on the best way to address this, with the aim of having clear guidance on this for August 2020.

Turnitin assignments with 10 groups

You Said

For Turnitin assignments that involved more than 10 groups it was not possible to filter student submissions appropriately.

We Did

We escalated this with Turnitin and provided a temporary workaround. Turnitin resolved this issue on the 29 October.

Pending

You Said

Students were finding the term Pending, which reflected the fact that their submission was waiting to be graded, confusing.

We Did

Following feedback from staff and students, we changed the term Pending to Submitted. This change took place on the 28 November.

Overall course grade and course grade point

You Said

The names of the items for the overall course grade and course grade point were difficult to differentiate. There is also a mixture of different terms used for grading workflows, such as marks or marking instead of grades and grading.

We Did

On the 28 November we changed the naming of the item Course Grade To Date to Overall Grade To Date which made it easier to differentiate from the item named Course Grade Point To Date. The language for all Ultra course areas will be reviewed to ensure references to marks, marking etc are changed to grades, grading etc. This will be done in early January 2020, prior to the start of teaching on the 13 January.

School Admin Support role

You Said

Staff with the School Admin role need to be able to easily differentiate students in the class register by being able to see their username and student ID when selecting a user.

We Did

In September we delegated permissions to staff with the School Admin role that enabled them to see students’ username and student ID in the class register and in Gradebook Grid Views. These changes are currently being reviewed as updates in MyAberdeen that took place in December 2019 have restricted the use of these permissions.

Switch off the grade pill colour

You Said

The colours of the “grade pill” used in the Ultra Experience did not align with common understanding of a green – red rank indicator. While green indicated good grades, reds were shown for equivalents of second-class degree classification grades, which was not helpful for students.

We Did

On the 5 December Blackboard applied an update to MyAberdeen that enables us to switch off the grade pill colour. The grade pill colour will be switched off on Tuesday 17 December, once exams have finished and communications are in place.

Personalize notifications

You Said

The ability for the end user to personalize notifications is useful but it would be good to have greater control over which notifications are ‘On’ by default.

We Did

Blackboard applied an update to MyAberdeen on the 7 November which enables the eLearning team to manage notifications by selecting which notification are ‘On’ or ‘Off’ by default. A consultation exercise in the first half of 2020 will help shape the best approach to the management of notifications.

Late submission notifications

You Said

Some students reported getting late submission notifications for Turnitin assignments.

We Did

This has been fed back to Blackboard and Turnitin and we are working with Blackboard and Turnitin to ensure this issue does not arise again.