Ultra Updates - September

The past month was filled with updates and new features inspired by users from the Blackboard Community Idea Exchange. If you aren't participating in the exchange yet, we urge you to join and have your voice heard by the Blackboard product development team! It is a great place to connect with other faculty and staff, submit ideas for improvement, and vote on new features. September featured updates to grading, personalization, learner progression, and the mobile app. The biggest update by far though is the AI Design Assistant. We will cover the core AI features in writing here, but if you prefer video demonstrations, check out our AI series in the technology training section of the blog.

Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant

The potential uses of Artificial Intelligence are exciting. As we look to explore the benefits AI has to offer, Anthology is prioritizing lawful, ethical, and responsible use. They have established the Trustworthy AI principles, where they commit to:

  • humans in control,
  • fairness,
  • privacy,
  • security and
  • safety to name a few.

We recommend reviewing the documents linked below as you consider using AI within Learn Ultra. These documents are designed to support your implementation as it relates to AI usage in courses.

  • Trustworthy AI Principles can be found in our Trust Center.
  • Further information on the AI Design Assistant can be found on the help pages.

Module Generation

Creating a course from the ground up can often feel like a daunting and time-intensive task. Some educators might find themselves without access to the necessary resources, leaving them in search of extra support.

Enter the AI Design Assistant—an innovative solution designed to tackle these very challenges. By harnessing the power of advanced AI, this assistant offers a helping hand in structuring your course. Drawing insights from the course's title, description, and contextual information, it effortlessly generates learning modules.

What sets the AI Design Assistant apart is its commitment to putting instructors in the driver's seat. Empowering educators, it allows for the provision of supplementary context, such as descriptive text or keywords. Instructors have the flexibility to add a title prefix—think "topic" or "unit"—infusing a personalized touch. Visual elements can also be seamlessly integrated, amplifying the learning experience.

In a testament to customization, instructors wield the ability to fine-tune the complexity of their content. Additionally, they can precisely dictate the quantity of learning modules to be generated, ensuring a tailored approach to their teaching journey.

Step 1: The option to auto-generate modules will appear in the empty content area of a course.

Step 2: Define your parameters on the left, then Auto-generated modules with an option to select and add to the course will appear.

Step 3: After clicking add, Auto-generated modules will be added to the course content area.

Rubric Generation

Grading rubrics offer a structured framework to assess student work. They ensure both fairness and consistency in grading. Moreover, they furnish students with clear directives to meet desired learning outcomes. However, crafting rubrics can be a time-intensive task. The AI Design Assistant can take the helm in rubric creation, drawing cues from course context. While retaining human-centered authority, instructors can define the rubric. This includes specifying details like descriptions (learning objectives or topics), rubric type (percentage, points, or range), complexity, and dimensions. The rubric remains open to review and refine, guaranteeing the instructor's input at every step.

Rubric generation is an option for all assessments that support rubrics. The following example uses a discussion forum to demonstrate the feature.

Step 1: Generate a rubric from a discussion by using the generate button in the rubric area of the settings panel.

Step 2: Define the rubric using the options panel on the left.

Step 3: Name and edit the rubric to add rows, columns, or change cell descriptions.

Step 4: Finally, add the generated rubric to a discussion using the "Add" option at the bottom.

Test Question Generation

Crafting test questions from the ground up demands a significant amount of time. The AI Design Assistant steps in to offer test question suggestions, helping instructors reclaim valuable time. This resource is beneficial for both formative and summative assessments.

Step 1: The Auto-generate question option will appear in the "+" menu within assessments.

Instructors can refine the suggested questions by adding a description. The description might be learning objectives or topics. Furthermore, instructors can handpick preferred question types. The innovative "Inspire me!" question type suggests a variety of question types that an instructor might not typically consider. The instructor can specify the desired level of complexity and number of questions.

Step 2: Define, select, and add questions to the assessment.

Step 3: After questions are added to an assessment; instructors can edit as desired.

Question Bank Generation

The Ultra Document is a valuable way to present content. It seamlessly blends text and media components, enriching content presentation. With the aid of the AI Design Assistant, instructors can build question banks to gauge comprehension of the text-based elements within an Ultra Document. This streamlined process saves significant time. It also stands as a robust aid in shaping both formative and summative assessments.

Step 1: Generate a question bank from the text content of an Ultra Document using the Generate question bank button. 

Instructors can select preferred question types or use the “Inspire me!” option. The instructor can specify the desired level of complexity and number of questions. After reviewing the questions, it’s a single click to publish the questions to the question bank.

Step 2: Define, select, and add questions to the question bank.

Step 3: Confirmation will appear indicating that the question bank was created. There will be an option to navigate to the bank directly, or you can access all of your question banks from the details and actions menu.

From the question bank, the instructor can filter, search, and edit questions as desired.

Step 4: Locate the generated question bank. Then use the options to filter, search, and edit questions.