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In the spring of 2024, as part of our mission to improve student success, USI began the process of transitioning our LMS to Blackboard Learn Ultra. As part of the project process and in accordance with our desire for transparency, this page will serve as a timeline for the transition and a resource for members of the project team and faculty.

Why move to Blackboard Learn Ultra?

Supports teaching workflows, making it easier for instructors to teach and improve student outcomes
Simplified navigation
Data-driven learning analytics
Intuitive mobile-friendly experience.
Created in collaboration with real-life instructors and students

Ultra Transition Core Project Team

Shannon Hoehn, IT Project Manager
Juzar Ahmed, Director of Endpoint & Academic Technology
Walter Fisher, Senior Applications Administrator (LMS Lead Admin)
Laurie Wilson, Senior Applications Administrator (LMS Admin)
Kyle Tharp, IT Business Manager (Business Analyst, Website Lead)
Dr. Brian Crose, Director of Online Learning

Proposed Timeline – Development to Full Adoption


Three Groups
  • IT Led (Scheduled & Drop-in Sessions, Website)
  • Online (OCDP, Online Training)
  • Super Users (Self-Taught)


  • Same development opportunities as Fall 2024
  • Fall 2024 and SPRING 2025 developed courses taught in Spring & Summer


  • All course shells for Fall 2025 provisioned in the Ultra Course Experience
  • All faculty teaching on Ultra course experience

Active Project Timeline

Project team, lead by Shannon Hoehn, presented initial proposal and solicited feedback from Faculty Senate.

A common concern raised about making the transition to Blackboard Learn Ultra is why not start the process of moving to another learning management system (LMS), such as Canvas or D2L.

  • USI has significant history and experience with Blackboard Learn as its enterprise LMS, transitioning to Blackboard Learn Ultra offers a smoother, more organic migration path, allowing users to leverage their existing knowledge while benefiting from advanced features
  • This will also allow USI to maximize its return on investment by leveraging the current infrastructure and familiarity with Blackboard
  • The comprehensive features of Blackboard Learn Ultra may create cost-benefits over time as we may be able to decrease the additional tools or software needed
  • We still have three years left on our existing contract, so moving to a new LMS would be premature at this time.
  • The continuity Blackboard Learn offers enables uninterrupted teaching and learning, as students only access one system, even if they see two different course experiences.