Changes to Blackboard Collaborate

Collaborate Ultra - video grid with chat

Collaborate Ultra (image courteous of the free-to-use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra toolkit)

Following the Blackboard upgrade (scheduled from 6pm on Friday 5th to midday on Sunday 7th August 2016), there will be some changes to Blackboard Collaborate.

A new version of Blackboard Collaborate called Collaborate Ultra will be available through all Blackboard sites. Collaborate Ultra offers a number of benefits to users:

  • it is quicker to launch than the original Collaborate – there is no Java or launcher to install before use, it is entirely browser-based and supported on mobile via the Bb Student app
  • it uses high quality video, including a full-screen option and more video streams
  • it has the ability to embed more file types on the screen

Collaborate Ultra continues to allow guest participation, polling options, and sessions to be recorded and played back. However, there are some limitations:

  • it works best in Google Chrome (available on all SHU managed desktop PCs). It still works in other browsers, but some features may not be fully supported or require browser plug-ins to work
  • there is a limit of 100 users per session
  • control over audio, video, chat and whiteboard is class wide rather than at an individual participant level
  • there are currently no breakout rooms*
  • it is not possible to schedule sessions*. Currently, Collaborate Ultra uses a single room – you can link to this room from your Blackboard content and control access through the regular availability options

* It is anticipated that the ability to schedule sessions and include breakout rooms are features that will be available before the start of term.

If you need features of the original Collaborate (e.g. a session that can support over 100 users, participant level access to tools or breakout rooms), or do not typically use Blackboard, you can still request sessions via IT Help.

Work is ongoing to create a moderator and participant guide for Collaborate Ultra, and we will keep you posted of developments as further enhancements are made or features become available in Collaborate Ultra.

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  1. Pingback: Blackboard upgrade: 5–7 August | Eview

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