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U-tad Case Study Guest Blog Post: Leading Educational Innovation with Blackboard Learn Ultra

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“We are a center that always seeks innovation, not only in how or what we impart, but with what we do it.”

Pilar Lopez
Director of Academic Technology

U-Tad or Centro Universitario de Tecnología y Arte Digital is an institution with about 1,500 students and a powerful educational offer that is taught through a face-to-face methodology focused on practice, very innovative in method and didactic strategy.

In pursuit of excellence, they have always tried to have the latest software and technology applied to design and digital art in their classrooms. As Pilar López, Director of Academic Technology, comments, they have also promoted this with pedagogical tools that facilitate the students’ immersion in the learning process.

This was one of the reasons why they initially chose Blackboard Learn to develop the entire university campus. After a period of intensive and satisfactory use, they managed to extend teaching beyond the classroom, and according to Pilar, the campus became a strategic point of convergence and communication between students and faculty.

When Blackboard proposed the possibility of migrating to the new Ultra experience, as part of their commitment to excellence, they embarked on a process that took them 6 months of evaluation and exploration comparing other solutions to consolidate their decision.

After the process, they accepted Blackboard’s proposal. They migrated to the Learn Ultra version, mainly for several reasons: Firstly, the new assessment model, which they found very interesting and with much pedagogical potential. Secondly, the improved content management system, a tool that is widely used and highly valued in the institution. And thirdly, the support provided by eLearning Media gave them security and confidence.

The migration and implementation process took about six months and Pilar describes it as straightforward. The few developments they had needed in the original version were rewritten and adapted to eLearning Media’s new version. The Blackboard team handled the connection and synchronization with Office 365’s Active Directory.

The change management process went through several stages to achieve full adaptation for teachers and learners. For example, Pilar tells how teachers often work in teams in their classes and do so with projects through Blackboard, and to this end, they have been adapting to the new way of doing it in Ultra, which today gives them added value.

From the students’ point of view, the adaptation required specific actions for advanced students, but not so much for new students. Based on this process, in general, the decision was taken to create a specific training plan to raise awareness of the Campus and the methodology. This is currently carried out in the first weeks of the welcome period as an onboarding of the institution,

When they look to the future, they see it in the hands of Blackboard and accompanied at all times by eLearning Media. Pilar envisions a growth strategy that leads them to grow along several lines, and Blackboard guarantees this growth with the multi-brand function. Another added value that stands out is that the ecosystem of applications and tools is expanding year after year with innovative solutions that respond to the current demands of a modern university committed to the latest advances.