We have partnered with Blackboard as we felt they are, with their new products and enterprise partnership ambitions, the leading technology company to support Northumbria to deliver an innovative and dynamic student learning experience.

Prof. Peter Francis of Northumbria University
Professor Peter Francis
Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Northumbria University

Reason for moving to the Ultra experience: 

“We needed a platform able to fulfill our ambition and vision as well as a platform to meet all the requirements our teachers and students deem necessary to succeed; and we needed to implement it without disruption, effectively and with clarity of purpose.”

Transition timeline:

  • September 2015 – Rolled out Collaborate Ultra 

  • October 2017 – Renewed with Blackboard after extensive re-evaluation

  • August 2018 – Moved to SaaS with Ultra Base Navigation from Managed Hosting

  • September 2018 – Rolled out Ally 

  • January 2019 – Select use of Ultra Course View

  • October 2019 – Full rollout of the Ultra Course View planned

Perspective on Learn Ultra:

“When re-evaluating VLEs, we prioritised partnering with an organisation that shares our vision, who we can count on to be there when needed, and one where we challenge each other to be the best we can be.”

“Moving to SaaS was straightforward as Blackboard promised. For the Ultra Base Navigation, we carefully communicated the update to our staff and students and there was not one ticket logged asking about the change.”

“The beauty of Ultra is that once on SaaS, we could move at the pace and ambition that suited Northumbria. This has allowed us greater control over the rollout and has eased the demands on our academic staff.”

“We have several new programmes including degree apprenticeships using the Ultra Course View. Our Technology Learning and Development team has trained 50% (to date) of our 1,400 academic staff on Learn Ultra and we expect a full Ultra Course View rollout as of Autumn 2019.”