March 7, 2024

More context and collaboration: Further expansion of AI capabilities in Blackboard Learn Ultra

Anthology continues to set the standard for the ethical and innovative use of AI in EdTech. The AI Design Assistant, powered by Microsoft and exclusive to Blackboard® Learn Ultra, recently added features to inspire authentic assessment tasks, with AI-generated suggestions now available for instructors when creating assignments, discussions, and journals.



Since launch last September, the AI Design Assistant has contributed to more than 130,000 learning tasks, with 95% of instructors saying that it saves them time. Headlining the list of 315 fantastic global institutions to enable AI capabilities in Learn Ultra is the University of Leeds, who participated in our AI Advisory Council to develop the AI Design Assistant and have been delighted with the added efficiency it has provided to their faculty. We were proud to join the teams from Microsoft and the University of Leeds at the recent Reimagine Education event, to present a detailed case study on how collaboration between EdTech, institutions, and AI can drive great results in higher education.

“Blackboard Learn Ultra’s AI Design Assistant has taken a task which might have taken me a full day down to a few minutes. This has given me more time in the classroom with my students and allows me to give them the experience that I would like them to have.” 

Dr. Steven Montagu-Cairns, Associate Professor in Law at the University of Leeds 

And there’s more. As announced and previewed in our recent Blackboard Learn Ultra roadmap webinar series, in the coming months our AI offering will expand further to allow extra context for AI suggestions. The aptly (and, we concede, unimaginatively) named AI Context Picker provides instructors with the possibility to select particular content pieces—such as Learn Ultra docs and other uploaded material—to inform AI suggestions, thus narrowing the parameters for the task and eliciting the best possible prompts from the AI Design Assistant. This will be a staggered roll out starting with Learning Modules. Stay tuned to roadmap presentations and the Anthology Community for the specifics on release dates.

Our AI Advisory Council remains at the forefront of our development plans. This too continues to grow—with current partners complemented by institutions from outside Anthology’s network, ensuring the full breadth of education is represented—and we’re inspired by the sector’s increasing knowledge of (and appetite for) AI innovation. Recent sessions have spanned a wide range of areas, such as the development of institutional policies (including in relation to academic integrity), opportunities to further streamline production tasks for instructors, and the potential for AI to be used as a direct aid to pedagogical best practices. All these areas and more form considerations for our future plans, with major announcements to come across 2024. (Hint: if announcements are your kind of thing, you’ll want to book your ticket for Anthology Together in July.)

Want to try the AI Design Assistant for yourself? Click here to learn more and access a FREE 30-day trial of Blackboard Learn Ultra.

Ben Burrett headshot

Ben Burrett

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Ben has more than a decade of marketing and advertising experience spanning Australia, Europe, North America, and Latin America. Based in Bogotá, Colombia, Ben is passionate about the role of technology in advancing education and works closely with Anthology’s product management team and subject matter experts to support the positioning and promotion of our Student Success services and Blackboard Learn.