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Academic Technologies | blackboard collaborate T&L


For faculty members/ moderators
For students/participants
Get started with Blackboard Collaborate with Ultra View Get started with Blackboard Collaborate with Ultra View

Blackboard Collaborate is a state-of-the-art, powerful set of web-based collaboration tools that provides videoconferencing, audio-conferencing, application sharing, interactive whiteboards, web touring capabilities, file transfers/sharing, mobile collaboration, polling, breakout rooms and more.

With Blackboard Collaborate, you can:

  • Flip your classroom (and do so from anywhere around the globe!) -- that is, you can offer your students the ability to watch recordings of any PowerPoints that you've created -- complete with your accompanying video, audio, annotations and PPT slides
  • Give your students the ability to record their own presentations
  • Poll your students
  • Invite remote students, other faculty members, and/or guest speakers into your classrooms
  • Host virtual committee meetings or departmental meetings
  • Offer virtual office hours, group study sessions, web-based tutoring
  • Create and participate in professional development opportunities
  • Lower Calvin's environmental footprint
  • Collaborate online via interactive whiteboards, shared applications, web tours
  • Establish and build upon your worldwide communities of practice
  • Significantly reduce travel costs while enjoying free communications* -- worldwide!
  • Distribute files to live attendees and even to those folks who will be checking out your recordings later on!
  • View rich media and travel with your students on the web via the web touring capabilities
  • Separate your online classroom into breakout groups/rooms
  • And more...


Blackboard Collaborate support, documentation, resources


Collaborate with the Ultra experience opens right in your browser, so you don't have to install any software to join a session. Let's say that again! You don't have to install any software to join a session that uses Blackboard Collaborate with Ultra View (i.e., the most recent version of Bb Collaborate). You will enjoy a nice user experience and a cleaner interace -- one that is more akin to using Skype or Google Hangouts.

Here are the steps to take in order to try out this new version:

  1. Log into Moodle and go into your desired class
  2. Click on the "Turn editing on" button
  3. In the appropriate section/module/week, click on the Add an activity or resource link
  4. Select the Collaborate item and complete the settings screen as desired


What are the differences between Bb Collaborate Version 12.6 (the older version) and the new Bb Collaborate with Ultra View? Which features are not yet available in the new version?


An important note when using Ultra View (i.e., the newest version):

To insure that all of your students can be seen and heard, post chat messages, and use the interactive whiteboard, be sure to go under the Collaborate panel > Session Settings and turn those functionalities on:



Other notes:

  • With Bb Collaborate Ultra View, you can do course backups and restores or exports and imports from semester to semester and things work very well. This is not the case with Bb Collaborate Version 12.6, where it is recommended to make MP4's of the recordings, and then post those MP4s to your future courses. (You can also work with URLs for recordings made previously with Bb Collaborate Version 12.6 (see Daniel Christian for assistance)).

  • When using Collaborate with the Ultra experience, an Application Share session can only be started/hosted using Google Chrome. Flash browsers, such as Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, support viewing the Application Share session only. Flash browsers do not have the ability to start the Application Share feature. A Blackboard Collaborate Chrome "Desktop Sharing" extension is required in order to Application Share using Chrome. First time users should be prompted to install the extension automatically upon starting an Application Share session. If for some reason the Chrome Desktop Sharing Extension does not install automatically, the extension can also be downloaded directly from:

  • Guest Access links are available in both versions of Collaborate. For Ultra View, when you are creating or editing a session, there will be a checkbox titled "Allow Collaborate guest access," you want to be sure that the checkbox is, infact, checked.

    After that box is checked, simply access the session and there will be a box labeled "Collaborate guest link."

  • Avoiding a Tunnel Effect when Sharing Applications in Collaborate with the Ultra Experience
    When sharing an application or screen in Collaborate with the Ultra experience, it is possible to inadvertently produce a tunnel view, or infinite-window effect. This will occur when the screen or browser that is selected for sharing is displaying the Collaborate with the Ultra experience session at the time.

Collaborate Ultra - Tunnel Effect

There are a number of ways to avoid this behavior, such as:

  • Prior to sharing the browser that hosts the Collaborate session, open a new browser window -- or preferably a different browser -- to use for shared content.
  • If two or more monitors are available, ensure that the window hosting the Collaborate session is moved off of the screen that will be shared prior to initiating a screen share.
  • Share an individual application as opposed to the entire screen.
  • If multiple browsers are available, use one to host the session, and one to host the shared content.


For further information about Blackboard Collaborate with Ultra View, see:




* NOTE: To take part in free communications using Bb Collaborate, you need:

  • A headset or a set of speakers <-- a headset provides optimal audio performance
  • A USB-based webcam <-- if you want to be seen
  • The Blackboard Collaborate Launcher <-- only for the "Classic Version" (i.e., Version 12.6); this launcher is NOT necessary with the latest version of Collaborate (i.e., Blackboard Collaborate with Ultra View)



Recent enhancements/changes to Blackboard Collaborate with Ultra View:

  • Collaborate Update -- May 2017
    The May 2017 release is a maintenance release. In this release we focused on resolving issues to continually improve your experience.
    Based on direct feedback from the Collaborate community, we've made a few enhancements.
    We made it easier to show you agree or disagee with something in the session.
    If you want to remove the detached Participants panel, you can now drag it back into the collaborate panel.
    Your browser remembers where the Participants panel is and keeps it there for next time.
    We changed the chat transcript file extension to .TXT to make it easier to open.
  • Collaborate Update -- April 2017
    In this release, Blackboard introduces real-time feedback and in-product tutorials. To get a better feel for the virtual room, moderators and presenters can get a sense of how participants are reacting to the session with real-time feedback. All users can change their status to show their reaction to what is being presented. Feedbacks appear with a user's avatar on the main stage, in the Participants panel, and in Chat. After 30 seconds the feedback disappears. Further details here. >>
    You can sort the participants by feedback in the Participants panel. For example, if you want to know who is happy about what was said, select Happy under the Participants heading. Only those who are happy appear.
  • Collaborate Update -- March 2017
    In this release, Bb introduced the detachable Participants panel. We can now leave the Participants panel open all the time. Chat with others and see everyone in the session at the same time. We can tell who is away, has their microphone on or is having network connection trouble...all while chatting and participating in the session.
  • Collaborate Update -- February 2017
    In this release Blackboard focused on including chat in the recording player. Open the Chat panel to see the complete chat history of the recorded session. As the recording plays the chat messages posted highlight so you can see what was being said during that moment. You can also navigate to a specific location in the recording by selecting a chat message time stamp.
  • Collaborate Update -- January 2017
    In this release Blackboard focused on supporting WebRTC in Firefox, increasing session sizes, and there's also a new recording player with this release. Enjoy the benefits of WebRTC using the Firefox® browser. With this addition, Collaborate now supports the WebRTC experience in both Google ChromeTM and Mozilla Firefox and the Flash® experience in Microsoft Internet Explorer® and Apple Safari® browsers.
  • Collaborate Update -- December 2016
    The December 2016 release is a maintenance release. In this release, Bb focused on resolving issues to continually improve your experience.
  • Collaborate Update -- November 2016
    The November 2016 release is a maintenance release. In this release, Bb focused on resolving issues to continually improve your experience. They also turned on HTTP playback for recordings.
  • Collaborate Update -- October 2016
    In this release Bb focused on giving moderators the ability to mute participants. They also focused on making improvements to the Participants panel and Breakout Groups.
  • Collaborate Update -- September 2016
    Load content before class, and keep it in session. Now moderators can prep for class at the beginning of the week, or even at the start of the semester. After creating a session, moderators can open it any time and load the files they want to share. These files stay in the session until deleted by a moderator.
  • Collaborate Update - August 2016
    Enhancements to breakout groups, user experience updates. Also, MP4 recordings are now available for you to download!
    The following content is available in an Ultra recording:
    • Room Audio
    • Content Sharing/Whiteboard OR Active Speaker Video if no content sharing is occurring.
    • Captioning, only one track will be shown in the recording if there are multiple tracks.

Recordings will be available shortly after the session is completed. For complete instructions on how to record your Collaborate with the Ultra experience, please review this documentation.