The following article answers some commonly asked questions about the use of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
What is Collaborate Ultra?
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is SCU's virtual classroom and web conferencing environment. Collaborate lets you add files, share applications, and use a virtual whiteboard to interact. Students can chat, talk or share presentations to the group, and the sessions can be recorded.
Should I use Zoom or Collaborate Ultra?
Both Zoom and Collaborate Ultra are supported at SCU. Both platforms offer similar video conferencing features. Collaborate Ultra is highly recommended due to its seamless integration into learning sites, but the choice is ultimately up to you. The table below provides a quick comparison of the main features.
|Integrated into Blackboard/MySCU||Yes||No (support is coming)|
|Software required||Chrome Browser recommended|
Zoom must be installed
|Max webcams||4 on screen||49 on screen|
|Interactivity (chat, polling, whiteboards)||Yes||Yes (need to be enabled)|
|Captioning||Yes (manual)||Yes (automatic)|
|Screen and file sharing||Yes||Yes|
How do I get started with Collaborate Ultra?
Blackboard has created a support site for Collaborate Ultra that will get you started and answer most common questions.
Setting up a session
What equipment do I need for Collaborate Ultra?
A USB headset and an external webcam are highly recommended. You can use an inbuilt webcam and microphone on a laptop as a temporary solution, but the quality will be poor.
What browser should I be using?
Google Chrome is the best-supported browser and is free to download.
Why can’t students hear me?
- Verify that the microphone icon at the bottom of the session is on. If not, single-click it to begin sharing your audio.
- Check that you are using the latest version of your browser, and update if necessary.
- Check the browser has permission to access your camera and microphone, and they are plugged into your PC or laptop.
Customising your Collaborate session
Why can’t I enter a Collaborate session?
- Under the Collaborate Sessions list in Blackboard find the scheduled session you are trying to join.
- Check the session date and time are current.
- Check that the Collaborate link isn’t greyed out.
Note: Open sessions are available at any time once they have started.
Can I add a guest?
Anyone with a Collaborate Ultra link can join the session if you have set the session to allow guests.
Can I see who attended a session?
A session attendance report provides an overview of when participants joined and left sessions. To access the report:
- Click the ‘Collaborate Ultra’ site link in your MySCU unit site.
- Find the session you want to see a report on. Click filter by 'Previous Settings' if you can’t see the session.
- Select the three dots next to the session and choose View reports.
- Click View Report next to the report date and time you would like to open.
Sharing files, content and links
Why am I unable to share my screen?
- Ensure that you are using the Google Chrome browser and check that it is up to date.
- Check that your browser has the sharing extension for Chrome installed. For further information see application sharing issues.
Why do I see infinite windows receding when sharing an application?
When the screen or browser selected for sharing is displaying the Collaborate session at the same time you will see this effect. Ensure that before sharing you have an application or new browser window open, and select this from the sharing screen.
Why can’t students hear the audio when I share a YouTube video?
Ensure that you tick share audio which is located at the bottom right of the dialogue box when choosing to share ‘entire screen’ or ‘Chrome tab’.
Note: It is not possible to share audio if you choose to share an application.
How do I record breakout groups?
You are unable to record breakout groups using Collaborate Ultra at this time. However, it is possible to use a screen recording tool (like Camtasia Studio) to make a recording of a breakout group one at a time.
How do I share slides with breakout groups?
Once the groups have been created you are able to share an existing file with those groups under the Share Files menu by clicking on the file options next to the file and selecting share with groups.
Collaborate Ultra recordings
Why did my recording stop?
If you use breakout groups and there is no one left in the main room, Collaborate stops the recording automatically by design. To avoid this, either restart the recording after using breakout groups or ensure a moderator remains logged into the main room at all times during the session. Note: if students have been given moderator permissions they are able to stop the recording.
How do I capture what students do on the whiteboard?
Collaborate captures the whiteboard in the main room recording video. Alternatively, you can use a screen capture program (like Windows Snip & Sketch) to save a manual screenshot of the whiteboard during the session for future use.
I can’t see a recent recording. How long does it take to become available?
The recording link may take up to 24 hours to appear. Please ensure that all participants have left the session, as this will delay the processing of the recording. You are able to manually remove participants from the session before you leave.