Blackboard Ultra is an upgraded version of Blackboard Collaborate; a virtual classroom system that allows for online interaction. Blackboard Ultra has been incorporated into the Moodle learning management system.
Virtual classrooms are useful when situations prevent you from having face-to-face sessions with your class, such as teaching students who are geographically disadvantaged. If for some reason, students cannot participate in the live sessions, they can view and listen to the recorded sessions later. The recorded sessions can also be used by students to review their discussions at a later stage.
This page provides introductory instructions for moderators of Blackboard Ultra sessions.
Please note: iPads are not currently supported for Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
- Google Chrome 32 bit version 55 or later (recommended for optimal compatibility)
- Mozilla Firefox 49.0 or later (recommended for optimal compatibility)
- Safari 10 or later
- Internet Explorer
- Mobile devices
Support for Desktop Sharing
To be able to share your desktop, you must be using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox and have the Desktop Sharing plugin installed. To install the plugin:
- Start your Collaborate Ultra session.
- Click the Share Content icon (+ symbol).
- Click Share Application.
Install the extension by clicking Add to Chrome.
For support on using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra tools, click here.
For support on setting up your video or audio capabilities within Blackboard Ultra, click here.
For known Blackboard Collaborate Ultra issues, please click here.
Alternatively, you can also check the known issues ton Blackboard's website here.
For support on setting up Blackboard Collaborate Ultra please contact External TELT Support.
Phone: 02 9385 3331
To create a Blackboard Ultra activity:
- On the course home page, click Turn editing on .
- In the appropriate topic or week section, click Add an activity or resource. In the resulting pop-up, select Collaborate Ultra from the list and click Add.
- On the Adding a new External tool pagem, type a name for your activity and alter any other settings you require then click Save and display
Next you will see the Blackboard Ultra hub, here you can create and manage your sessions and recordings.
To create a new session, click Create Session.
- Complete the new session fields in order to create a session; here you can obtain your guest link to share with external users (only visible after the session has been named). Once completed click Save
- Once saved, your sessions will show as follows; Blue indicates open active sessions, grey indicates inactive sessions.
To facilitate small group collaboration, you can create breakout groups that are separate from the main room and assign participants to them.
Breakout groups have their own private audio, video, whiteboard, application sharing, and chat. Any collaboration that takes place in a group is independent of the Main room (and other groups).
Create Breakout Groups
- Open the "Share Content" Tab from the Collaborate panel.
- Select "Breakout Groups".
Assign groups. Either select Randomly assign or Custom assignment.
- Randomly assign: Collaborate creates groups and randomly assigns participants for you. note: Randomly assign is only available when there are four or more people are in the room.
- If you want to be in a group, select Include moderators in group assignment.You will also be randomly assigned to a group.
- You can change how many participants are in each group. Select the number of groups from the Number of Groups menu.
- If you don't like how the participants are grouped, select Shuffle participants.
- Custom assignment: Create your own groups.
- Assign participants to a group. You can select the participants options menu and select the group. Also, you can also select the participant and drag them to the right group.
- Select to add more groups and to delete groups.
- Optionally, select "Allow participants to switch groups", if you want participants to be able to move to another group on their own.
- Select Start.
Switch participants between groups
- From the Participants panel, find a participant and select Moderator controls.
- Select "Move to another group". This opens the Breakout groups panel.
- Move the participant to another group. There are two ways you can do this.
- Select the participant's options menu and select the group.
- Select the participant and drag them to the new group.
4. Select "Update"
- If you would like the participants panel to always be visible, you can detach the panel. To do this, open the Collaborate panel, then select the Participants icon, select More Options at the top of the panel and then select Detach Panel. To remove the detached panel, simply drag it back to the Collaborate panel.
Note: For more information on roles, please see the "roles" section of this resource page.
End Breakout Groups
When you want to stop breakout groups and bring everybody back to the main room, select "End breakout groups". You can find this at the top of the Participants panel or beside Breakout groups in the Share Content panel.
More information on Breakout Groups can be found on Blackboard's website here.
Blackboard Ultra now has a polling feature. You can use a poll that gives participants "yes" or "no" as their response choices.
You can also select to give participants 2-5 responses to choose from. Polling is not currenlty stored as part of the recording process (if used).
How to use (Moderators) :
- Open the "Share Content" Tab from the Collaborate panel.
- Select "Polling"
- Select the type of poll you want to use and click Start.
Hide Responses from participants
You can make answers anonymous to ensure that users provide their own answer without following a trend by clicking "Hide Responses" Click again to show responses.
Stop a poll
To stop a poll select "Polling" to open the poll overview. Select the square "Stop icon"
Additional information from Blackboard can be found here
Blackboard ultra lets you hold a private conversation with any of the participants in your session. This can be useful when moderators or participants want to message a specific person without disrupting the session and the public chat room. Note that only the "Everyone" chat is included in the session recordings.
To start a private chat:
- Open the "Chat" tab from the Collaborate panel. You will be taken to the "Everyone" chat when you first open the tab.
- Select the "Previous Panel" next to the "Everyone" heading.
- Type the name of the participant you want to chat with.
Sessions created by moderators can host up to 250 participants. If your session is expected to have larger than this amount, you can request for a Large Session that supports up to 500 participants.
To host a large session, you need to submit a large session request to the External TELT Support team. Make sure that you submit the request ahead of time to ensure that they can view and respond to your request.
Due to the large amount of participants, some features are disabled during the session. These include:
Participant Permissions: These permissions will be automatically disabled.
- Share audio
- Share video
- Draw on whiteboard and files
Breakout Groups: There are too many participants to use breakout groups effectively.
This section will outline what roles are and what permissions each role has
|Moderator||Users with this role have full access to all settings and content being shared. They can also edit other user's roles and permissions.|
|Presenter||This role is available to give users the ability to present content without moderator access. The role allows users to upload, share, edit and stop sharing content.|
Users with this role are able to view and participate in the session using video and audio capabilities.
|Captioner||Access can be provided to others by the moderators to be able to caption and translate conversations.|
As a Moderator, you can change the role of users inside the Collaborate Ultra session.
- Open Collaborate Panel and Click the Participants icon.
- Locate the user you wish to change the role for and click on Moderator controls beside their name.
A menu appears that allows you to assign an appropriate role. Click the appropriate button to change the role of the user.
Q: What are the differences between Blackboard Collaborate and Collaborate Ultra?
A: The following table will show you which major features Ultra has in relation to Collaborate.
Q: Do I need any special software to run Collaborate Ultra?
A: No, just a web browser! Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is recommended for best performance.
Q: How soon before the start time can my students access the session?
A: You can allow students to join between 15 and 60 minutes prior to the session beginning, you can do this within the scheduling tool.
Q: If I want to use the guest link, do participants need to have UNSW accounts or access to Moodle?
A: No, the guest link allows anyone to join the session, provided you have the guest link option enabled.
Q: How do I make my colleague a moderator during a session?
A: You can provide moderator access by clicking on the participants list button, then clicking the ellipses button next to the name of the person you want to provide access to. There you will find multiple options for access you can provide.
Q: How do I record a session?
A: To record a session you must access it and click the ellipses button at the top of the page and click "start recording".
Q: How do I make recordings available to students after a session?
A: Recordings are automatically made available to students under the recordings section after the session is complete. You can change this via the settings.
- You may choose to leave the Participants panel open at all times during a session. This can be done in two ways:
- Open the Collaborate panel and drag-and-drop the Participants icon to the main stage.
- Open the Collaborate panel and select Participants. Select More options at the top of the panel. Select Detach Panel.
You can close the panel by selecting Merge panel from the More Options link.
- You can use the Set Status and Feedback feature to set your status as Away to inform others that you are not active in the session. You can also use this to give real-time feedback during a session to react to the content being presented.