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Flexible Rollout of Blackboard Learn's Ultra Experience Gains Momentum Across the Globe
More than 170 clients are now benefiting from the next generation user experience

AUSTIN, Texas, July 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- BbWorld -- Blackboard Inc., a leading education technology company for teaching, learning and student engagement, announced that more than 170 institutions across the globe are now using Blackboard Learn with the Ultra experience (Learn Ultra)—the next generation of the Company's flagship Learning Management System—in production. Over the past year, client adoption of Learn Ultra has nearly tripled, underscoring its continued momentum. The announcement was made at BbWorld 2019, Blackboard's annual user conference that brings together educators, administrators and thought leaders.

Blackboard Logo (PRNewsFoto/Blackboard Inc.)

"The path to Blackboard Learn Ultra can look different for each of our clients," said Jim Chalex, Blackboard's VP of Teaching & Learning Product Management. "It's critical that we support our clients in designing tailored Learn Ultra rollout plans that align to their unique institutional goals. We recognize the importance of flexibility when introducing change and we're committed to helping our clients identify the best approach to meet the needs of educators, students, and staff."

Earlier this week, Blackboard launched the "Learn Ultra" website, a resource hub designed to help current clients better understand and plan their path to Learn Ultra. This path begins with migrating to the Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model. The cloud-based solution limits disruption to students and instructors as a result of the continuous delivery release model, now the highest-adopted release by Blackboard Learn clients. Following deployment of SaaS, institutions have the option of turning on the Ultra Base Navigation and choosing their desired Course View – all Original courses, a mix of Original and Ultra courses, or all Ultra courses. These options allow clients to embrace the Ultra experience at the pace they desire to best meet their institution's needs.

Throughout the week, Blackboard is convening Learn Ultra clients from around the globe at BbWorld in Austin, Texas. In honor of the host state, Blackboard is celebrating the numerous Texas institutions that are paving the way in the region with their individual approach to rolling out Learn Ultra, including:

  • Angelina College, Lufkin: Angelina College is a comprehensive community college that enrolls approximately 4,800 students. Following its migration from Managed Hosting to SaaS in 2016, Angelina began offering courses in Ultra Course View earlier this summer as part of its plan to improve the learning experiences of online students. Angelina worked with Blackboard to devise a multi-pronged change management plan that prioritized the needs of faculty and students in the move to SaaS and built upon that plan to guide the institution's transition to the Ultra Course View. Today, the institution has a mixed course environment—with all courses slated to shift to Ultra in Fall 2020.
  • Baylor College of Medicine, Houston: Baylor College of Medicine is a premier academic health science center serving nearly 1,600 students. As a research institution on the forefront of innovation, the college was looking for a digital learning environment that wouldn't interrupt medical students' and researchers' hectic schedules. As a result, the college moved to the SaaS deployment in 2016, benefiting from the continuous delivery release model that enables students and instructors to experience the newest enhancements as soon as they are available and continue their studies with no downtime. The institution enabled the Ultra Base Navigation in 2018 and has begun gradually rolling out the Ultra Course View.
  • El Paso Community College, El Paso: El Paso Community College is a two-year, Hispanic Serving Institution with approximately 29,000 students. With nontraditional students forming a majority of the population, the institution was looking to implement an integrated digital learning environment that would offer a seamless learning experience from desktop to mobile and the option to access translated course content. The college deployed SaaS in 2016, followed by the Ultra Base Navigation in 2018 for a seamless user experience. The institution is transitioning to the Ultra Course View this year, as well as implementing Blackboard Ally—Blackboard's accessibility solution which translates course content, among other capabilities—to meet the needs of its native Spanish speaking population.
  • Houston Baptist University, Houston: Houston Baptist University is a private institution serving 4,000 fulltime students, roughly a third of whom are enrolled in online courses. With plans to launch new on-campus and distance learning programs, the institution was looking for a seamless digital interface that would meet the needs of instructors and students. The flexibility to rollout Learn Ultra and Collaborate Ultra on a tailored timeline drove the decision to deploy SaaS in 2018 and ultimately transition to the next generation user interface. This academic year, online courses will begin to shift to the Ultra Course View with the launch of Houston Baptist University's new Online EdD program—a dedicated Ultra program. The institution credits Blackboard's solutions and on-going partnership as an integral part of the University's strategy for growth.

For more information on Blackboard Learn's Ultra experience, please visit Follow @Blackboard and #BbWorld19 on Twitter for updates on BbWorld.

About Blackboard

Our mission is to partner with the global education community to enable learner and institutional success, leveraging innovative technologies and services. With an unmatched understanding of the world of the learner, the most comprehensive student-success solutions, and the greatest capacity for innovation, Blackboard is education's partner in change.

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