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Using Collaborate Ultra

  • Blackboard

Last modified: August 12, 2022

Collaborate Ultra is Blackboard's web-conferencing tool. However, Blackboard is getting rid of Collaborate Ultra, so if you use Collaborate, you need to prepare to move to Zoom or a different tool instead.

Finding your way around

To find the tools available in Collaborate Ultra, click on the purple arrow in the bottom right hand corner of the screen to open the panel.

the arrow that opens the navigation panel

Now you have four icons in the bottom right hand corner. The gear icon leads to settings but the other three open your chat, participants list, and share tools.

the collaborative ultra icons

Chat and participants are pretty standard options for web-conferencing tools, so let's look at the share tools.

the collaborate ultra share options

  1. Share Black Whiteboard gives you the ability to share a whiteboard for you and your students to write and draw on. The whiteboard is downloadable so content shared can be saved for later.
  2. Share Application/Screen allows you to share your screen. Compared to Zoom, the sharing options are limited but adequate.
  3. Share camera gives you access to any attached camera including document cameras or other camera appications.
  4. Share files allows you to share files that can then be downloaded by attendees. If you want to share a file on screen, use the share application/screen option.
  5. Polling allows you to create and share polls. These cannot be created ahead of time.
  6. Breakout Groups sets up small group interactions. See the section below for more information.

Breakout Groups

You have three options for creating breakout groups in Blackboard Collaborate. You can't create them ahead of time; you can only create them during the meeting. The exception to that is if you've created groups in your Blackboard course. In that case, you can use already created groups.
  1. Open the Share Content panel from the Collaborate panel.
  2. Select Breakout Groups.
  3. Assign groups. Select one of these options:
    • Randomly assign: Collaborate creates groups and randomly assigns attendees for you. You need at least 4 people in the room to use randomly assign.
      • If you want to be in a group, select "Include moderators in group assignment".
      • You can change how many attendees are in each group by setting the number of groups from the "Number of Groups" menu.
      • Use "Reassign attendees" to scramble groups.
    • Custom assignment: Create your own groups.
      • You can change the name of the groups by clicking on the group name.
      • To assign attendees to a group, you can click on the three dots beside the attendee's name and select the group or you can drag the names into the right groups.
      • Select the plus (+) to add more groups.
    • Course group set: Use groups that you've set up in your Blackboard course.
      • Choose the group set you want to use.
      • You can also select attendees and drag them to a different group, if you want. Moving attendees to different groups in Collaborate doesn't impact the group structure in your course.
  4. A checkbox below the "Assign Groups" drop down menu allows you to select "Allow attendees to switch groups" if you want attendees to be able to move to another group on their own.
  5. Select Start.

Share Video over Collaborate Ultra

If you are sharing video synchronously over Collaborate Ultra and you want the best sound quality for your students, use the Chrome browser and follow these steps:

  1. Open the Collaborate panel and select the Share Content tab.
  2. Select Share Application/Screen.
  3. Select the Chrome Tab option (or select Entire Screen on a PC).
  4. Select the Share audio check box.
  5. Choose the tab you want to share from the list.
  6. Select Share.

Troubleshooting

Collaborate Ultra link is not visible to students in course site

Blackboard's YouTube playlist of videos about Collaborate