This is the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra section of the Resources Hub. This page will give you an overview of the tool, links to help and support guide, frequently asked questions and related articles/videos.
Blackboard Collaborate is a real-time video conferencing tool that lets you add files, share applications, and use a virtual whiteboard to interact. Collaborate with the Ultra experience opens right in your browser, so you don’t have to install any software to join a session.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to use Collaborate Ultra
Where do I find Collaborate Ultra in Blackboard?
Collaborate Ultra is available on all module sites on Blackboard. It may appear in your left hand navigation bar, or you may need to add it using the (+) plus icon at the top of your navigation bar and choosing “Tool Link” > Adding a Title > Selecting “Collaborate Ultra” from the dropdown list. Remember to make the Collaborate Ultra link visible to students, or they won’t be able to access the tool. You can do this by clicking the grey arrow to the right of the link and choose “Show this link to students.”
How do I create a session on Collaborate Ultra?
You can create a session by navigating to ‘Collaborate Ultra’ on your Blackboard site and instead of joining the course room, you can click ‘Create Session’.
How do you start and end a session on Collaborate Ultra?
When you create a session you must set a date and time for it start and end. The session will become available just before the start time, depending on what you have chosen as your lead in time (15mins, 30mins or 45mins). During this lead in time, you can join the session, check your mic and video and upload your files.
How do students communicate when using Collaborate Ultra?
We usually advise that you adapt your room or session settings to turn off mic and video for participants (students). The reason for this, is that it stops too many students talking over each other which can affect the audio quality. If everyone on Collaborate Ultra was using their webcam, this would also put unnecessary strain on the internet connection of each user. Students can talk to you and the other participants using the Group Chat and you can enable their microphones, video and sharing features on a case by case basis by making them a ‘presenter’.
Are the breakout groups recorded within Collaborate?
What is said or viewed in a breakout room isn’t captured in recordings. Collaborate stops recording your session if all attendees leave the main room to join breakout groups. You can start your recording again from the Session Menu when one or more attendees return to the main room.
Questions relating to hardware/software
Does the Collaborate App work on an iPad?
There is an app for Collaborate Ultra that is available to download from the app store on iOS. You can also use Collaborate Ultra in the browser on your iPad, but make sure you access using Google Chrome and not Safari.
Do you have to have headphones to hear the conversation?
A headset is advised when using Collaborate Ultra, but it is not a requirement. If you are using a headset with a microphone (or a hands free kit)m you will get a better quality sound. However, if you don’t have a microphone or headset you can use the microphone that is built into your PC/Laptop/Mobile device. Just make sure you are somewhere quiet when you do so!
Can Blackboard Collaborate work if I run it from my personal PC from home?
Collaborate Ultra is hosted by Blackboard on their servers, as such, it works on any device with an internet connection. Make sure you are using Google Chrome as your browser and log into Blackboard to find your module site and the Collaborate Ultra tool.
Collaborate Ultra freezes during my session and I am unable to continue
This is a known issue which Blackboard is investigating. They advise the issue occurs as such: ‘Some users have reported that browsers freeze, or become unresponsive when sharing an application or sharing their screen during Collaborate Ultra sessions on windows. This does not affect all users and does not occur during all sessions. The user may experience the whole browser becoming unresponsive for 1-2mins before becoming responsive again. In some instances, the browser crashes completely.’
While this issue cannot be fully resolved at the current time, if you experience this issue we suggest refreshing your browser if you are able or force closing it and re-opening to rejoin the session. This should only take a few moments and not affect your session too severly. You can also try a different browser if you are able. This issue occurs mostly on Chrome and Edge (which is a Chrome-based browser). The University does not support Firefox on corporate machines, but you could try this browser if you are using your own PC and are able to install the software. Firefox should only be used for instances where this issue has occurred and Chrome remains the default and recommended browser for all other University tasks.
I am unable to access Blackboard Collaborate, I just see a purple spinning wheel
This is a known issue that Blackboard have advised on. It is related to third party cookies being disabled on your web browser. Please continue to use Google Chrome as your default browser for accessing Collaborate, but make sure that you enable cookies on your browser or, at the very least, allow the Blackboard Collaborate domain.
The chat messages are not included on the Collaborate Ultra video I have downloaded
By default when you download a video that has been recorded from Collaborate Ultra, the chat is not included in the video. However, if you wish to share the chat you can do so by copying and pasting it before you finish your session and making it available as a document alongside your video. Alternatively, you can point students to watch the video directly on Collaborate as this will show the video in a special viewer which includes the chat messages in real time. To do this: 1. Direct the students to click ‘Collaborate Ultra’ on the side navigation within the Blackboard site. 2. Ask them to click the mobile menu on the top left, denoted by three lines. 3. Click ‘recordings’. 4. All recordings that have been made will be shown, you can click any of these recordings to watch them in real time with the chat appearing to the right.
I have an issue with camera, microphone or other hardware on my device
If you have a technical issue with your hardware set up, the best approach would be to contact the ICT service desk by email: firstname.lastname@example.org to raise a ticket. You can also call the service desk on 01522 88 6500. The ICT team are best placed to support you at this time as they are able to remotely connect to your PC/Laptop and help you to resolve your hardware issue.
My Chromebook is not supported by Blackboard for Blackboard Collaborate
Students should use their smartphones to access sessions if they are not able to join using their Chromebook. An additional work around is to record your session and make the video available via Panopto once you have finished. Full details can be found on the other pages of this remote teaching blog site.
When I try to join a session or the course room, it asks me to ‘dial in’ what does that mean?
The Collaborate Ultra tool allows users to dial in using a special phone number. However, we do not advise this approach and providing you have a good internet connection and access to Blackboard through the Google Chrome browser, you should have no issues with accessing Collaborate Ultra in the usual way.
When I click on Collaborate Ultra in the Blackboard menu it takes me straight to a course room, am I able to deliver through this direct route or do I need to follow a different set of instructions?
The course room is recomended for most Collaborate Ultra sessions as it is the most straightforward way for students to access the Collaborate Ultra tool. If you want to, you can set up specific sessions for your lecture or seminar. This is particularly advised if you have two sessions running concurrently as it will mean you have a separate space for each session on Collaborate Ultra.