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More UMBC students like Ultra and want Ultra courses

86% of UMBC students express satisfaction with Ultra

In a survey of 608 students taking Ultra courses during the SP2021 semester, 86% indicated satisfaction with Ultra, marking a 14% increase compared to the last survey in FA2019. Students again praised Ultra for its clean interface, modern feel, and easy access. When asked to compare Ultra to the Original Blackboard interface, 74% of students said they liked it, which is a 17% increase from FA2019. “Ultra makes everything really easy to find and use,” said one student. “It’s a major step up from the old Blackboard system.”

86 percent of students said they were satisfied with Ultra courses

Figure 1: 86% of students said they were satisfied with Ultra courses.

Nearly 88% of SP2021 students agreed they could find Ultra tools on their own, a 14% increase compared to FA2019. These tools included assignments, tests, discussions, and group work. One student said, “The technology did not hinder [my] education.” 

SP2021 students did observe more course organization in Ultra courses, recognizing many faculty efforts following training over the last year. “The way a course is organized is super important,” said one student. These observations are consistent with feedback from students taking PIVOT courses, which are praised for organization and clear information. Course evaluations and LMS interactions are also higher in courses where instructors have training and consistent structure.

However, as with our previous survey, students did observe challenges with Ultra courses. Some student satisfaction with finding actual course content and files remained relatively the same between FA2019 and SP2019 at less than one percent. “If there are a lot of files and content in each folder,” reported one student, “it takes longer to access and navigate.” 

Over the last academic year, usage increased to more than forty percent of active Blackboard courses. More than 89% of faculty who responded to the SP2021 Ultra survey indicated they would use Ultra again, which was an increase of 21% from faculty who responded two years earlier. DoIT continues to monitor Ultra adoption through the 10th day of each new semester as well as Ultra feature development

As always, if you have any questions about teaching, learning, and technology, please consider the following options:

~ by Mariann Hawken

Posted: August 19, 2021, 9:04 AM