With 98% of our students using Learn, it has become a part of our brand. Learn influences students’ perception of our ability to teach them what they need to be successful. Ultra helps us create the modern perception we’re aiming for.

Stephanie Richter
Stephanie Richter
Director of Faculty Development and Instructional Support
Northern Illinois University

Reason for moving to Ultra: 

“Our IT group began taking a cloud-first approach, our hardware was at end-of-life, plus our faculty and students wanted a more modern learning experience.”

Transition timeline:

  • March 2018 – Began planning to move 4TB of Learn data from self-hosted to SaaS
  • May 2018 – Final migration to SaaS
  • May 2019 – Turned on the Ultra Base Navigation and enabled the Ultra course view option for faculty

Perspective on Learn Ultra:

“Our job is to support our faculty—95% of whom are using Learn—today and into the future with solutions that best support their teaching. SaaS and Learn Ultra are the future.”

“Our faculty need technology they can use, can be confident in, and facilitates connections with their students—Ultra is doing a very good job at this.”

“We’ve been very happy with SaaS. Our system has been up and stable with very few outages. SaaS has prompted us to shift from being problem fixers to change communicators.” 

“An Associate Deans shared that dual deployment is the best technical deployment she has ever seen as it gives faculty choice and time to adapt—two things that are critical to a successful transition.”


  • Dekalb, Illinois
  • 17,000 FTE
  • Blackboard client since 2000
  • Blackboard products: Learn Ultra, Collaborate Ultra, and Student Services