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Our new Virtual Learning Environment, Learn Ultra, is here!

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This academic year, as part of the University 2020-2027 Digital Strategy, we bid farewell to our old Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) duo, and we welcome the new Learn Ultra.

As the University implements our new Digital Strategy, the 2021-22 academic year will see the introduction of Blackboard Learn with the Ultra experience, more commonly known as Learn Ultra, being launched across all teaching and learning. From now on, all new teaching will move from duo and take place on Learn Ultra.

Learn Ultra delivers a simpler, more powerful teaching and learning experience that is needed to support our Education Strategy going forward.

For new students who may not be familiar with a VLE, Learn Ultra is where all University teaching and learning takes place. On Learn Ultra you can access course material from your lecturer, submit your assignments, take part in group discussions, as well as access additional support like the Careers Service or library services.

For students, Learn Ultra is the go-to place for your course teaching and learning materials such as presentations, notes, reading lists and class handouts. You will have access to Learn Ultra and all of the modules you study throughout your programme until you graduate, so you can use it as a revision and reference tool.

For students who have previously used duo, you will now use Learn Ultra but will continue to have access to duo too until you graduate. As such, there’s no need to download old course material onto your device as you’ll have access to duo for reference and revision.

The benefits of Learn Ultra

Learn Ultra delivers a simpler, more powerful teaching and learning experience that is needed to support our Education Strategy going forward.

The browser and app version features a modern, intuitive, and fully responsive interface that allows better engagement with students, and reduces the administrative effort associated with teaching and learning.

Duo was the University VLE for over 20 years, but as well as being our VLE, it was used for a host of other things. This means that over the years it became complex, difficult to manage, and maintenance required significant downtime.

Unlike duo, Learn Ultra is hosted in the cloud which will give us more flexibility to scale up as required, and to implement regular software updates without the need for lengthy downtime.

This will benefit both students and staff as we move into the new academic year.

Learn more about Learn Ultra

For staff who are new to using Learn Ultra and want to get to grips with setting up your courses on the new system, you can make use of the wide range of learning materials on our Learn Ultra website. It is packed full of useful guides and webinar recordings, as well as a really useful quick start guide which is helpful when setting up your Learn Ultra courses.

The DCAD team is running a series of webinars throughout the term, so make sure you sign up to attend one if you have any questions or want to progress your understanding.

For students, there is also a range of information on our Learn Ultra website that will be useful to you, including Student Information and Student Quick Start Guide.

A special thanks

This move to Learn Ultra has been made possible by the efforts of teaching staff and support staff from across the University. Many thanks to everyone who has spent hours updating course content and transferring it to Learn Ultra. Your hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated.

And a special thanks to the pilot programmes who tested this technology and paved the way for us all to move across to Learn Ultra. Your ongoing support, challenge and enthusiasm throughout this project has been outstanding.



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