Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Skip to Blackboard Collaborate Information for Instructors/Moderators:

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a virtual classroom or meeting space, that is displayed via web browser or app. Every Blackboard course at Mary Baldwin has the Ultra classroom available to it. Unless invited by the instructor, no one who is not enrolled in the Blackboard course can access the session. A short video of what Collaborate Ultra looks like is here.

Blackboard has excellent documentation about using Collaborate Ultra as a Participant, here. Documentation for Moderators is here.

For all users:

How do I access Ultra?
What are the Platform/Browser Requirements?
Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
How can I attend a session using my Iphone?
How can I call in to the session using a telephone?
How do I use Chat?
How do I indicate that I am temporarily Away from the session?
How do I see more than two participants?
How do I find a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Recording?
Can I multi-task while in a Blackboard Collaborate Session?
Should I mute my microphone?
What should I do if I get ‘kicked out” of a session?
What should I do if the sound keeps cutting in and out?
How do I report a Problem?
Can I use emoji’s in a chat?
How can I join a Breakout Room?

For Moderators only:

I can’t share my screen or allow my students to share their screens
Joining Blackboard Collaborate from your Blackboard Course
How can I share my desktop or Powerpoint slides?
Should I have my students click on Join Room or should I set up Sessions?
How do I save a Recording to use again next semester?
How can I download an .mp4 of my Ultra Recording?
How can I present my slides full screen while recording in Ultra?
How can I invite a guest to participate or present?
How can I use a virtual meeting space outside of my Blackboard course?
How can I change the name of my recording?

I can’t share my screen or allow my students to share their screens

If you are not an “Instructor” in the Blackboard course, you will not be a Moderator in the Blackboard Collaborate Sessions. If you need to moderate these sessions, ask the Instructor of the Blackboard course to change your role to “Instructor”. From Users and Groups, Users, they will click on the down arrow next to your name and choose “Change User’s Role in Course”, then click on Instructor and Submit.

Accessing Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

You may be provided with a link to the Blackboard Collaborate Session from a Blackboard LEARN course, or you may have been sent an email. In either case, click on the link provided. Collaborate Ultra works best with Chrome, but, especially if you are a participant, you can still see, hear and chat in a session in another browser or from the app on your phone.

What are the System Requirements for Blackboard Collaborate Ultra?

The optimal Collaborate experience for all users is with Google’s Chrome browser. Hosting an “App Share” requires a Chrome extension provided by Blackboard.  Chrome Extensions are simple add-in modules in the Chrome browser itself.  They do not require a restart of the session or Chrome to function. Users will be prompted to enable the extension the first time they use App Share or File Upload.

Details about supported browsers are here: https://blackboard.secure.force.com/apex/publickbarticleview?id=kAB70000000PAsD

But… can I use Firefox or another browser instead of Chrome? Yes, see here.

Collaborate with the Ultra experience requires a HTML 5 Web Socket connection be allowed on browsers and networking appliances such as proxy servers. Users trying to connect from networks that do not allow HTML 5 Web Socket connections will be unable to launch a Collaborate with the Ultra experience.

  • To test the Web Socket, go to the following link: https://www.websocket.org/echo.html
  • If it is not already filled in, enter this text in the Location text box: wss://echo.websocket.org
  • Click the Connect button.
  • Once connected, press the Send button. The output will appear in the Log section. A successful Web Socket test will show a Response in the logs for “Rock it with HTML5 WebSocket”.
  • Click on the Disconnect button.
  • You should see this: 

Before you connect to the session, also please check your equipment and bandwidth using a test website. Go to https://test.webrtc.org/

  • Click on Start
  • You will need to Share your Camera and Microphone
  • You may need to click on Start Again

You will get a report of a successful test. Please note that IPv6 and Reflexive can report failures and the session will still be successful. Anything else that fails might cause a problem with the session.

If your network connection is not successful, have your network administrator look at the documentation here.

Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

This website will allow you to test your webcam, speakers and microphone before entering the session. Don’t download anything from this site, just click on the Test Buttons at the top of the page. To test the volume of your microphone, from your PC you can use Sound Recorder to make a little .wma file that you can play back. If you need to change the defaults for your camera, microphone or volume levels, you would use the Control Panel.

If you are linking to the session from inside your Blackboard course, Collaborate will already know who you are. If you are linking as a guest from outside Mary Baldwin’s Blackboard, you will be asked to enter your name.

1stscreena

When you first enter the Ultra session, your camera and your microphone are muted by default. Click on little purple tab at the bottom right of your screen to open the Control Panel. The Settings Icon (looks like a little gear) will show you your Audio and Video settings. You can change your microphone or camera (if you have more than one) if you click on Set up your camera and microphone.

Your browser may “pop up” a permissions box, where you can “Allow” Blackboard Collaborate to use your microphone and browser. If you do not see this permissions box, check your browser to see if popups are blocked.

If you cannot get the popup to appear, you may need to go into settings on your browser to Allow this site to access your camera and microphone: https://us.bbcollab.com

Blackboard has supplied documentation for various browsers here: BBCollab Microphone Steps

After your camera and microphone are set up, click on the microphone icon at the bottom center of the screen so your voice can be heard, and click on the movie camera icon so your camera image can be seen.

How can I attend a session on my Iphone?

Follow these steps to download and install the Bb Student App.

From your device, access the appropriate online store:
iOS [iTunes App Store]
Andriod [Google Play]
Windows [Windows Store]

See the following document for login instructions: Accessing a Collaborate Ultra Session using the Bb Student App.

Please note that phones drain rather quickly when engaged in a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session, so you may want to ensure you are near a power supply.

How can I call into the session using a telephone?

If your audio is not successful or you do not have a microphone, you can call into the session. Please note that the PIN number is individual to each user, if you give out your own PIN number, then Blackboard Collaborate Ultra will mute YOUR microphone.

Click on the Session Menu at the upper left of your screen, then click on User your phone for audio. The phone number and PIN to use will be displayed.

How do I use Chat?

To access chat, click on the purple button at the bottom right of your screen, and then the Chat bubble. Full documentation about Chat is here:

chat1

Joining a Breakout Room

Click on the Purple tab at the lower right of the screen, and then on the Participants Icon. You will see the Breakout Rooms underneath the Participants. Click on the “Door” icon to join the Breakout Session. To return to the Main Room, click on the Door icon to rejoin that session.

Can I use emojis in a chat?

Yes, you can. A list of emojis that might work in a chat are here: https://www.webpagefx.com/tools/emoji-cheat-sheet/ Click on an emoji to copy the shortcut.

How do I indicate that I am temporarily Away from the session?

Click on the little checkmark in the green circle at the bottom of your screen. The little circle will change to yellow and you will be marked “Away”.

How do I see more than two participants?

Blackboard by default shows you the last two participants who spoke. If you are not Sharing your Applications or your desktop, you can change the display from the default, “Follow the Speaker,” to a grid view with up to 4 cameras showing at the same time. Click on the Display icon at the upper right to toggle back and forth.  Note: The Ultra experience switches to follow-the-speaker view automatically when there are more than five participants.
followspeaker

How do I find a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Recording?

In your Blackboard course, navigate to your Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Sessions. Click on the three horizontal lines, Click on Recording and View Recording.  If you have just finished recording a session, it will take a few minutes to show up in your Blackboard course.

To find an older recording, click on the arrow next to Show Recent Recordings and choose Show Recordings in a Range. Set the range to the time period in which you created the Recording.

***Please note. Ultra recordings are not “private” to those enrolled in your course. Anyone enrolled in your course who can access a Recording can share that link with anyone else.

How do I save a Recording to use again next semester?

Click on the Ultra tool, then Recordings, then the Menu Icon and Recordings. You may need to change the date range in order to see all the Recordings. To do that click on the down arrow next to Show Recent Recordings and set the date range that will show the Recording. Right Click on View Recording and Copy Link Address.

Create a Content Area called Recordings. (Click on the + at the top left of the Content Menu). In that Content Area, create a Web Link. Choose a descriptive name for the recording and paste in the URL.

Downloading an .mp4 of your Ultra Recording

Next to the session or the room where the recording was made, click on the icon with the three little dots and choose Edit settings. From the Session Settings tab, click on Allow Recording Downloads. Close that tab and click on the Menu and Recordings. Set the Recording range to show the session you wish to download, and click on the download icon.

***Note: If you can download your recordings, so can your students.

Can I multi-task while in a Blackboard Collaborate Session?

It’s not a good idea. For best results, use Google Chrome, have your Blackboard Course up in one tab and the Collaborate Ultra Session up in another tab, and don’t click on anything else. It’s really easy to shut down a tab when trying to navigate back to it, and that will kick you out of the session.

Should I mute my microphone?

Best practice for a synchronous course is to mute your microphone unless you want to speak. If you are sitting in front of the session, watching and listening, it only takes an instant to unmute your microphone.

What should I do if I get ‘kicked out” of a session?

Just jump right back in. You will still have your Blackboard Course’s Collaborate Ultra tab up so navigate back to that tab and join the room or the session again. If you experience multiple technical issues with a session, consider starting a new one.

What should I do if the sound keeps cutting in and out?

Unmute and Mute your microphone and see if that helps. Turn your camera off to maximize bandwidth. If the instructor’s voice keeps cutting in and out, the instructor should exit the session and re-enter it and see if that helps.

What should I do if I have multiple issues with my session?

Please report the problem first, so we can help figure out what went wrong.

If there are multiple technical issues with a session, consider opening a new session. Rename the session you are in so that everyone knows to go to the new one. For example, if you had problems with session one, create another session one and edit the name of the first one.

How do I report a problem?

You can find out if the Blackboard Collaborate service is having issues, by checking their status page here.

You can call this number to speak with a Blackboard support representative:

1(877) 382-2293.

For the Blackboard Collaborate Product Support team to help diagnose a problem, they will need the session log. To gather this information:

  • Click on the Menu Icon at the upper left
  • Choose Report an Issue
  • Click on the Audio or Video issues that apply,
  • Describe your issue in the text box provided
  • Click on the auto-generated report box and copy that text
  • Paste that auto-generated report text somewhere safe (notepad, email draft,etc)
  • Click on Submit

Even if you call Blackboard and resolve the issue, please also report this problem to MBU OIT by emailing multimedia@marybaldwin.edu. Tell us what the problem is with your session and paste in the session details you just copied in the steps above

You can return to the session. If you have more then one interruption, then you might want to run the network connection check again and/or try rebooting your computer.

For Moderators/Instructors:

Blackboard has excellent documentation about ULTRA here:

How do I set up my Blackboard Course for Collaborate Ultra?

To add the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Sessions Tool to your Blackboard Course, click on Tool Link, find the Ultra Tool, click on Available to Users and Submit.

addultra

If you cannot see the Ultra tool, click on Customization, Tool Availability. Find the ULTRA tool and click in the first box and then Submit.

toolavailability

To make it easy for your students to find your Blackboard Collaborate Sessions, you might do this:
Make a separate Content area for your Synchronous Sessions. Create an item in that content area that says something like this:
________________________________________________
Name: Synchronous Sessions
Synchronous Sessions will be held: (Put dates and times here)
In order to prepare for your Synchronous session, please read the documentation here: http://go.marybaldwin.edu/oit/blackboard-collaborate-ultra/
Test your equipment ahead of time by clicking on Join Room from the link below.
_________________________________________________
After you have created that item, click on Tools and then More Tools and add the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Tool. If you can’t find it, add the Ultra Tool to your course from Customization, Tool Availability (see above)

How can I edit my course room Event Details and Session Settings?

Click on the little … symbol at the right of your Course Room and choose Edit Settings.

roomsettings

eventdetailssessionsettings

How can I set up an “Office Hours” Session?

To have Office Hours, you can set up an Office Hours session in one of your Blackboard Courses and allow Guests to link to the session. You would then post the Guest Link in your other Blackboard Courses. To create a session, click on the Plus icon at the upper right of the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra page.

createsession1

You will be prompted to fill in the Event Name and edit the Event Details and Session Settings. If you want to keep a permanent ‘office hours’ link available, under Event Details, click on No End (Open Session).

sessionsettings

Copy the URL that is the Guest Link and in your other Blackboard Courses, create a Web Link to that URL:

addofficehours

How can I share my desktop or Powerpoint slides?

A Blackboard Collaborate Chrome “Desktop Sharing” extension is required for a Moderator or Presenter 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 here:

If you are a Presenter or a Moderator in the Ultra session, you can share Content with the Participants. Click on the Purple Tab at the bottom right to show the Control Panel and then click on the rectangular icon with the arrow through it to Share Content.

You can Share a Blank Whiteboard, on which you can type or paste text (but not paste images).  You can also share an Application such as Word or EXCEL, or your PowerPoint Slideshow. You can share your PowerPoint slideshow two ways:

  1. Click on Share files and upload your PowerPoint slideshow. This will allow you to advance the slideshow from within the Blackboard Collaborate Application Sharing window.
  2. Start the PowerPoint slideshow. Alt-Tab to get back to Blackboard Collaborate. Share your PowerPoint slideshow. A short video describing how to do this is here:

Please note you can NOT successfully stream video via Blackboard Collaborate.

sharing1

How do I use Polling?

Full documentation about Polling is here

How do I set up Breakout Groups?

Full documentation about Polling is here

How can I manage the participants in my session?

There is a very complete description here:

How can I invite a guest to participate or present?

To get the Guest Link, in your Blackboard Course Ultra Sessions Area, click on Edit Settings. Under Event Details you will find the Guest Link. You can change the Guest link to be “Presenter” which will allow your guest to share their desktop or upload slides, but will not give them Moderator privileges.

You can also set the default participant (student) role to be Presenter, under Session Settings. Alternatively, you can elevate the students privileges from Participant to Presenter one at a time.

sessionsettings

Send your guest a link to the documentation here:
https://go.marybaldwin.edu/oit/accessing-blackboard-collaborate-guest/

How is Ultra different from Traditional Blackboard Collaborate?

You don’t need to install a launcher, ULTRA works in your browser on your MAC, PC or Phone.

A Blackboard Collaborate Chrome “Desktop Sharing” extension is required for a Moderator or Presenter 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: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/desktop-sharing/ajojghojfapedgfkjmhchgblmjfanggo

Ultra has fewer options, which makes it cleaner and simpler to use if you do not need these options.

The system will prioritize the 5 most recent speakers for sharing the microphone and camera. It will begin to replace the person who spoke last with a most recent one which may lead to a small delay.

This graph shows where the settings in Traditional Collaborate map the settings in Ultra.

bbc_settings

Here are things you CANNOT do in Ultra:

  • Pre-set session for automatically recording
  • Load very large files. During the session, the upload limit for each file is 60 mg; Max 100 mg in a session
  • Raise Hand on Entry
  • Allow Hiding of Names in Recordings
  • Deny In-Session Invites
  • Link the Session to a Blackboard Grade Column

Joining Blackboard Collaborate from your Blackboard Course

When you click on the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Tool Link, you can either Create a Session for your Students to Join, or you can Join the Course Room. To join the course room, click on Course Room and Join Course Room. You may have to click on “Later” or “Close” ‘to get rid of the tutorial messages.

Should I have my students click on Join Room or should I set up Sessions?

You can do either. The advantage of using Join Room is that if and when you copy your course, you don’t have to re-establish the sessions. The “Join Room” link in the new course will point to the new course room. The potential disadvantages of Join Room are that all the recordings can only be identified by date and time recorded, and unless you disable your room, your students can ‘meet’ there without you.

The advantage of using Sessions is that you can label them with subject matter rather than date. Instead of “August 28, 2017 17:55 PM” you can call the Session “Introduction to the Course” and that’s what the recording will be called. Also, you an set sessions up with set times that they are open, and disable access to Ultra at other times. The potential disadvantage to using Sessions is if you copy or import this course for later use, you will need to set the sessions up again.

If you need to disable a room, click on the Room Options Icon and choose Disable Course Room.

How can I present my slides full screen while recording in Ultra?

  • Enter the ULTRA Session
  • Open your Powerpoint Slideshow to the slide where you wish to begin recording
  • Alt-Tab back to ULTRA
  • Make sure your microphone is on
  • Click on the Purple Tab and Share Applications
  • Share the Application Only
  • Choose the Powerpoint Slideshow OR the Entire Desktop if you are showing websites as well.
  • Click on the ‘hamburger’ icon at the upper left and Start Recording
  • Alt-Tab back to your slideshow.

How can I change the name of my recording?

In Blackboard, click on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. On the menu at the upper left, choose Recordings. From the little circle icon at the right of the recording, choose Edit Name. Type in the new name and click on Save.

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