Beginning with Fall 2024, new courses in the University of South Carolina Learning Management System (LMS) will be created in Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View. Based on a comparison of student activity in Ultra v. Original courses, this change has the potential to improve student engagement, increase student activity, and lead to greater student success.

The infographic below shows differences between student activity in Ultra and Original courses in Fall 2023. Significantly more students in Ultra courses spend more active hours (21 or more) in courses, turn in more course submissions, and interact with course materials than their peers in Original courses.

When it comes to students who never submit any work (tests, assignments, quizzes, or discussion posts), only 2.3% of students in Ultra courses had never submitted any work to the course, while 27.9% of students in Original courses had never submitted any work in the course. It is important to note that some face-to-face classes may not require students to turn in work through the LMS, but this alone would not account for an order of magnitude difference in student submission rates.

Already, 27.5% of all Spring 2024 online and hybrid Blackboard courses at 20% of all USC Upstate courses overall are being delivered in Blackboard Learn Ultra. The evidence from student activity and performance data suggests that faculty efforts to make this transition are likely to have a positive impact on student learning outcomes in the future.