Hosting and Participating in Webinars Using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a virtual classroom program that staff can use to host teaching and learning webinars with students and communicate via voice, video, lecture slides and text chat. Collaborate Ultra can be added to any module in Blackboard and supports up to 250 participants by default and up to 500 using a large session mode. A video overview for staff of Collaborate Ultra is available below. Guides for students are available on the Blackboard website. You can check the Collaborate Ultra status on their Status Page.
Accessibility Features: Information on Collaborate Ultra accessibility features is available on the Blackboard website.
Adding Collaborate Ultra to your Blackboard module: Instructors can click on the plus button at the top left of the menu, select Tool Link, enter Collaborate Ultra for the name, select Type: Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and make available to users. Ensure you select the Ultra version of Collaborate and Click Submit.
Benefits of webinars for teaching and learning
Staff can use Collaborate Ultra webinars to:
- Host live virtual classrooms with students
- Communicate using webcams, microphones and text chat
- Share lecture notes and stream video of your desktop
- Collaborate with students using an interactive whiteboard
- Record webinars for students to rewatch at any time
- Provide virtual office hours that students can join from any location
- Staff - Introduction to Collaborate Ultra
- Students - Introduction to Blackboard (including Collaborate) for students 2020/21
- Blackboard Collaborate official video playlist
- Accesing older recordings in Collaborate Ultra
Below are some useful resources to help staff get started using Collaborate Ultra. More detailed guides to the different features of Collaborate are available in the Additional Resources section.
Guides for participants are available on the Blackboard website.
Troubleshooting connection issues
If you experience a slow connection or get disconnected during a session please try the following steps:
- Use Google Chrome to join the session as Chrome has the highest level of compatibility with Collaborate Ultra and ensure it is up to date.
- If for some reason Chrome does not work, try joining the session using Firefox and ensure it is up to date.
- Close out of other web browser tabs and windows as these may use up extra bandwidth and memory on your device
- Close out of other applications such as Spotify, iTunes etc. as these may also use bandwidth and resources
- Ensure that your WiFi signal is strong. If necessary, relocate your device so that it is closer to your router if you are connecting from home
- Try connecting your laptop via a wired connection to your router to ensure a more stable connection
- You can try clearing your browser cache if the issue persists across browsers (only tick the clear cache option on the relevant screens)
- If you are on a corporate network your employer may restrict access to certain ports which may lead to a slightly slower connection. More details are available on this page.
Troubleshooting audio and video issues during a session
- If you are a moderator, consider getting a dedicated headset (for example, a USB headset) to ensure the best sound quality.
- Check the audio setup in Collaborate to ensure your microphone is set up correctly. Click on My Settings (the avatar icon at the bottom of the screen), then Audio and Video Settings, then 'Set Up Your Camera and Microphone.' Select the correct device from the list (you can try tapping on the microphone while the test is running to ensure the correct one is selected)
- Close out of other applications such as Word, PowerPoint etc. and close other browser tabs as these may be interfering or using your computer's resources
- Use Google Chrome whenever possible and ensure it is up to date.
- If Chrome does not work, try using Firefox and ensure it is up to date.
Below are additional resources for getting started using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.