Blackboard - Video conferencing with Collaborate Ultra

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This page shows you how to utilize Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for video conferences.

Norsk versjon - Blackboard - Videokonferanse med Collaborate Ultra

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Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a built-in tool in Blackboard for webinars and video conferences with students and others. You can consider it as a Skype conversation with more alternatives for collaboration and active learning.

Instructional videos #

Video: Here you can find some instructional videos about getting started with Collaborate

How to Create a Session in Collaborate #

  1. In the menu on the left hand side, beneath Course Management, you will find a link named Course Tools. By clicking on it, additional links will appear. Here you will find Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (1).
    Link in the side menu
  2. It could take a couple of seconds before the page is loaded. To create a new session, click on Create Session (1).
    Creating the new session
  3. A box will appear, where you can give the session a name (1), choose wether guests are allowed by clicking on Guest access (2), set a time and date for Start (3) and End (4). By clicking on Session Settings (5), you will get additional settings for your new session. Notice the the Guest access button only appears after you have given the session a name.
    Session settings
  4. In the Session Settings tab, you can decide some ground rules for the new session. When you are done with all the settings, click on Save (1).
    Finish and save
  5. The new session (1) is now available from the Collaborate page.
    Session available

How to Use Collaborate #

  1. Now that we have created a session, let's see how we can use it. You can enter a session by clicking on the session name (1) (see image above).
  2. The Collaborate session will open in a new tab. It could take a couple of seconds before the new page is done loading. When the page is ready, it should look like this:
    The welcome screen
  3. On the bottom of the page, there are four buttons. By clickong on the grey button (1), you can ajust My settings, e.g. microphone volume. To share sound with others in the session, click on the button with a microphone pictogram (2). Notice, you need an internal or external microphone connected to your computer. To share video, press the button with a pictogram of a camera (3), assuming you have a camera connected to your PC. The pictogram of a person raising his hand (4), can be pressed if you wish to digitally raise your hand. You can see the whom are raising their hand, chronologically, in the participants list. Where you can find the participants list is described further down in this article.
    Buttons on the bottom of the page

Functionality in Collaborate #

  1. By clicking on the pink arrow (1) to the bottom right, you will open a box with access to more functionality.
    Additional functionality
  2. After clicking on the pink arrow, your browser window should look something like this:
    A new box has opened
  3. On the bottom of the newly opened box, you can navigate between tabs. Each tab contains tools to make your video conference more interactive.

Chat #

The first tab has a pictogram of a speech bubble. Here you can write messages to the other people in the session. If you want to send a message for the moderators/teachers only, change the chat with (1) field from Everyone to Moderator. To send a message, write in the text field (2) and then press enter on your keyboard.
The chat section

Participants and Hand Raising #

To see the participants in your session, click on the pictogram of two persons (1). Here, you can see number of participants (2) and a list of names of everyone in the session (3). Notice, the ones raising their hand have a pink icon to the left of their name. There is also an icon which shows number of people raising their hand (4).
List of participants

Share Blank Whiteboard #

If you want to draw som ideas in collaborating with others, you can use the blank whiteboard tool inside Collaborate. First, click on the pictogram of a rectangle with an arrow inside it (1), and then click Share Blank Whiteboard (2). The whiteboard will now appear in your Collaborate window (3), temporarly replacing the video feeds. On the top of the page, you will find different tools for drawing and writing (4). When you are done using the whiteboard, click on the circle with a square inside it (5) to exit the whiteboard.
Share Blank Whiteboard

Screen Sharing #

In Collaborate, you can share your screen - or a single program - with the other participants in the session.

  1. Click on the pictogram with a square and an arrow (1), followed by clicking on Share Application (2).
    Sharing your screen or an application
  2. You will now get a choice between sharing your Entire screen (1) or just an application (2).
    Choose what to share
  3. The first time you try screen sharing in Collaborate, it asks you to install an extension to your browser. In this example, we are using Google Chrome. To install the extension, click Add to Chrome (1).
    Add extension to browser
  4. A box will appear in your browser, where you confirm the installation. Click Add extension (1).
    Add extension
  5. When the extension is installed, you wil get a confirmation of this (1). We can now click on Share application (2) one more time.
    Extension has been installed
  6. We are now back to where we were previously, and can choose to either share Entire screen (1) or just an application (2).
    Choose what to share
  7. If you click on Entire screen, you will get the option to choose which screen to share. If you only have one screen, you will only get one option at this stage. Click on screen you wish to share (1) and then click Share(2).
    Choose which screen to share
  8. In a similar matter, you are asked to chose which application you want to share, if you click just an application.
  9. To stop sharing your screen, click on the circle with a square inside it (1) in the top right corner.

Sharing Files #

You can show images and PDF files to the other participants in the room and draw and write on these in collaboration.

  1. Click on the button with a rectangle and an arrow (1), and then on Share Files (2).
    Sharing files
  2. Click on Add Files (1) to choose filse from your computer you wish to share. You can also use drag-and-drop to select files. It could take a couple of seconds before the files are ready for viewing. When you are done selecting files, click on Share Now (2).
    Adding files for sharing
  3. The file will now be displayed in the viewing area, and you have the same available tools as in share blank whiteboard.
    File sharing

Polling #

You can create polls inside Collaborate which the other participants can answer.

  1. Click on the pictorgram with a rectangle and an arrow (1), and then on Polling (2).
  2. Click on the type of polling you wish to use. In this example, we are choosing Yes/No Choices (1). Then press Start (2).
    Polling options
  3. A polling box will appear in the viewing area where you can see the participants answers to your poll (1). The counter will update continuously as long as the poll is open. The poll will stay open until you press Lock Poll (2). When you are done with the poll, click the circle with a square inside it (3) to end the polling.
    The polling screen

Breakout Groups #

Inside your Collaborate session, you can distribute the participants into groups, and then converge the groups back to one session afterwards. This could be a useful function for topics of discussion when working with a large group of people.

  1. Click on the pictogram of a rectangle and an arrow (1), followed by clicking on Breakout Groups (2).
    Breakout Groups
  2. By using Custom assignment, you can organize the groups with a drag-and-groups interface (1). When you are done distributing the participants into groups, click Start (2).
    Organizing the groups
  3. You can see group affiliation in the panel on the right (1). When you want to merge the groups back to one big group, click on the circle with a square inside it (2).
    Group panel

Record the Session #

You can make a recording of session, which could be useful for students who can't attend.

  1. Inside the Collaborate session, click on the button to the top left (1).
    Top left menu
  2. To start recording the session, click Start Recording (1) in the left menu.
    Start recording
  3. At the end of the session, you stop recording by going back to the same menu and clicking Stop Recording (1).
    Stop recording
  4. The recording is now saved in the Collaborate tool. To find your recoding, you must first navigate back to the Collaborate page (not inside a session) and click on the menu button to the upper ledt (1).
    Session menu
  5. Click on Recordings (1). Here you can find all your Collaborate recordings (2) associated with the course you are working in. To navigate back to the session page, open the same menu and click on Sessions.
    List of recordings

Related Articles #

Contact #

Orakel Support Service can help if you have any questions.

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