Understanding the Blackboard Environment

Ultra Base Navigation

New for 2020, the Ultra Base Navigation is a redesigned way to navigate around Blackboard

It replaces the Original Experience’s various tabs and modules which you see when you log into Blackboard. Instead of things being spread out across boxes on the Welcome Page, they’ve been moved into links on the left hand side.

The Welcome Page has been a part of Aston’s Blackboard for a long time. The UBN replaces this, it also adds new features, such as the Activity Stream, and improves access to others.

You will see the following links down the left hand side of your screen.

Institution Page

Now, when logging into Blackboard, you will land on theInstitution Page. This contains helpful links for staff and students.


View information about your account, and upload a photo, edit your notification settings.


Activity Stream

See up to the minute updates across all of your courses. Unlike the Original Experience, where you would only see a list of announcements made across your courses, you will now see more types of updates, including:

  • You having access to a new course (eg at the start of a term)
  • A new announcement has been posted
  • New content has been added
  • New discussion board posts
  • A mark has been posted

Click an entry in the Activity Stream to be taken to the appropriate place on Blackboard.


View all of the courses you are enrolled on. Courses that have not yet been made available for you to view will be marked as Private. Click the star button next to a course to mark it as a favourite so it will be listed at the top, for easy access.


Any calendar entries added to your courses will be collated here.


  • Instructors see a list of what needs grading (with some exceptions if they are Turnitin assignments).
  • Students see their provisional grades for work submitted to assignments in Blackboard.



Access global functions that are outside of your courses, such as Enterprise Surveys.


If your account has the School Administrator role, you will be able to access your school(s) courses and quick enrol onto them via here.