We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Computing and Information Services

Blackboard Learn Ultra

We're getting a new Virtual Learning Environment!

In September 2021, we will be moving to a new platform for teaching and learning: Blackboard Learn Ultra (Ultra).

This Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will replace the teaching and learning parts of the existing Blackboard Learn system, better known as Duo.

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

Duo has been our University-wide VLE for over 20 years, and like other home-grown systems, it's been used for many things not just teaching and learning. As such, it is complex to manage and requires significant downtime periods for maintenance and updates.

Ultra will ensure we meet our strategic aim of having a "First-rate digital learning environment on par with the best in the UK". Ultra is hosted in the clous which will give us more flexibility to scale up as required, and to implement regular software updates without the need for lenghty downtime.

It also has a modern, intuitive, fully responsive interface that allows us to better engage with students and reduce the administrative effort associated with teaching and learning.

While the plan is to move onto Ultra for all teaching and learning from September 2021, Duo will still be available as a reference for both staff and students wishing to access materials. This read-only version of Duo will eventually be phased out over the coming years, giving people time to migrate content to the new platform.

More information

Over the coming months, we will be in touch to share updates from the pilot programmes and to give you more information about the University-wide roll out. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Steve Leggetter, Programme Manager at And if you'd like to learn more about Blackboard Learn Ultra software, you can visit