Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a web conferencing/webinar platform designed for use in online teaching. Teaching staff create a virtual classroom and online meeting spaces to share presentation material and communicate with you and the other participants via synchronous audio, video and chat tools. Webinar rooms include a collaborative whiteboard, polling tools and breakout rooms that allows you to interact with peers and your instructor in real-time. Desktop applications and web resources such as multimedia can be displayed directly within the web conference room. An interactive recording can be created for each session allowing students the opportunity to review material following the live online webinar.
- Please check the system requirements!: In a nutshell, the tool is supported and certified in recent versions of Chrome, Firefox (not for mobile), Safari & MS Edge on Windows, Ubuntu, macOS, Android & iOS. DO NOT use with Internet Explorer. Check system requirements if you are using an older device or if in doubt. NB Screensharing DOES NOT currently work on mobile or tablets. Using a certified combination is highly recommended. The tool will also work on older versions of Windows, Android and iOS but minor features may not be available.
- Best Practice: To achieve the best possible live chat experience for yourself and your students, please familiarise yourself with the session best practices.
- Be an early bird: Make sure you join the session at least 15 mins ahead of its start to allow yourself and the facilitators to iron out any technical glitches.
The link to your session will have the following icon: It may include additional information in the title such as the name of the module you are doing, the teaching week or similar. You may find your link at the top of the module page or in the relevant week when your teaching session is taking place. All Collaborate links from a module will take you to the modules session scheduler for Blackboard Collaborate with all the online sessions that have been set up for the module. Alternatively, you will have been sent a direct URL to the session that won’t require you to log in to moodle first.
Accessing the session link through moodle will take you to the BB Collaborate session scheduler. Select the webinar or video conference you are attending from the list. If you have been sent a direct link you will skip this step and will be taken straight to the session.
- At a glance: Get started incl uploading a profile picture
- Get to know the key features & tools: Learn how to fully participate and get the most out of your session. Raise your hand, chat with your fellow learners, share documents, write or draw on the whiteboard.
- Audio & video: Make sure you test your audio and video settings at the start of the session or during a trial run. You might have to change some of your device settings to make it work. NB You will still be able to participate by using the written chat facility if your audio/video let you down.
Bb Collab will monitor the quality of your connection when you’re in a session. If your connection starts to slow at any point, it will change your experience to help you remain functional in the session as long as possible. It may stop showing you other’s webcams in order to maintain a good audio connection, for example. More information: Dynamic Bandwidth Adjustments.
- check the session best practices page if you have not done so already
- switch off video
- try using Mozilla Firefox browser, it is less system-intensive than Google Chrome
- try a different device such as a tablet or phone if possible
- try phoning in – you will need to follow up with your lecturer about this option as they will need to ensure this setting is on
Your lecturer may request that you take part in breakout groups which are separate rooms away from the main online room where all students and staff are initially present. Once breakout groups start you will get a notification that breakout groups are starting and you will then find yourself in a room with other students assigned to your group where you will be able to discuss amongst you the work that has been set. Your lecturer may choose to share some files within your room which you can annotate over (keep in mind annotations cannot be saved on the files). Your lecturer may also provide each group a shared document to work with that you can then share with the rest of the class when the breakout groups have ended and you are back with the whole class.
Joining a group at the request of a lecturer
Your lecturer may also ask you to join your allotted group. In this case, once the lecturer tells you that the breakout rooms have started you will need to navigate to the attendees tab via the collaborate panel. To find the collaborate panel click on the purple tab in the bottom right corner.
To select your group look for the group and click the door icon to enter the room . If you go into the wrong room then you can select another group from the attendee panel (see image below).
Your lecturer may record webinar sessions and make them available for download through moodle by posting a direct link to them on your module page or emailing the class the link.
NB Downloading the recordings is not available on mobile. You may still watch it on your phone or download it from a different device for offline viewing.
If your tutor hasn’t disseminated the recording via moodle, click on the moodle link to the Collaborate session. In the session scheduler where your sessions are listed, click on the menu link (3 horizontal lines) in the top left-hand corner and select Recordings.
Please note! The default view shows only recent recordings which covers recordings from the last 30 days. To see older recordings you will need to click on the filter in the top right hand corner and change the filter from’ recent recordings’ to ‘recordings in a range’. This will give the option to search for a recordings between 2 specific dates.
Blackboard Collaborate has been developed to be both usable and accessible to all users regardless of age, ability, or situation, designed in accordance with the internationally recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA. A third party conducts regular audits of the software to ensure quality expectations are being met and maintained. We have linked to individual guidance from Blackboard Collaborate below but if you need any further assistance please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.