Keywords: web conferencing, online teaching, online classroom, e-tutorial, e-classroom, virtual classroom, e-lecture, e-seminar, webinar, collaborate, groupwork, group, breakout rooms, discuss, chat, share documents, present, record, recordings
Please note that full support for use of Blackboard Collaborate can now be found in the dedicated Blackboard Collaborate Resource Centre.
What is it?
An online classroom, web conferencing, or meeting platform designed for online teaching and learning. It enables students and staff to connect remotely from anywhere with a internet connection, incorporating audio, video, and visual cues, alongside a shared whiteboard and application sharing. Collaborate also features polling, a timer, and breakout rooms, and sessions can be recorded to be viewed at a later time.
Collaborate sessions are within a Moodle course via the 'Add an activity or resource' link.
Why use it?
Blackboard Ultra can be used in various ways to meet the learning needs or activities of your students, below are a few examples of what it has been used for.
- Online teaching/Lectures
- Class Presentations
- Group Work
- Guest or External Speakers
- Q&A Panels
- Revision Lectures
- Flip lecturing
- Training Videos
- Live Online Lecturing Platform
- Shared Whiteboard that all can view
- Sessions can be Recorded and are embedded automatically into Moodle
- Allows guest access to non UCL participants or presenters
- Students can present like teachers
Who can use it?
Usually Academics and Administrators will set up and moderate sessions, but students could also be given these permissions.
There is an option to allow external people without a UCL login to join sessions via an external link.
Before I Start…..
You will need your UCL Moodle account and a Moodle Course/Module on which to create an Ultra session. Firefox and Google Chrome are the recommended browsers.
Meeting the baseline
- 2.2 Explain participation requirements
- Identify which activities are compulsory and optional
Provide an indicator of effort (such as timings or page counts) for all compulsory tasks
- Explain how students are expected to use UCL and external e-learning tools. This PowerPoint Induction template provides a starting point. Wholly online courses might provide this information as a screen-cast video, with a voice over
Link to instructions for any e-learning tools that students are expected to use.
For Student Active Participation it is suggested that:
- 9.1 Students can share learning resources either individually or collaboratively using online tools (such as wikis, glossaries, databases and discussion forums).
How do I set one up?
Login to Moodle and click on your course and "Turn Editing On”.
Then in the appropriate topic of your course click on “Add an Activity or Resource” and select Ultra.
Lets go through each of the settings in turn:
Interface – Find your way around
The Interface is user friendly with three main areas the media space, session menu and collaborate panel. For a full overview of the interface and navigation, please see the guide from Blackboard: https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Get_Started/Navigation
Below is the guide for what each icon refers to in Ultra
Preferred Browser: Google Chrome and Firefox are the advised browser to use to get the most from Ultra.
More information please see: https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Get_Started/Browser_Support
Examples and case studies
Questions & Answers
Is Ultra accessible to students with specific learning difficulties?
Ultra offers an accessible platform.
It offers screen reader access, keyboard navigation, playback shortcut and navigating the panels.
NB: For the best Blackboard Collaborate Ultra experience with your screen reader use Firefox® and Jaws on a Windows® system. On a Mac® use Safari® and VoiceOver.
How can I allow guests without a UCL login?
In the Ultra settings, enabled 'Allow Collaborate guest access', and set the default role for your guests (usually Participant).
Then when you click the link to your session, underneath the Join button you'll see a link. Share this link with your guests.
How many simultaneous users can Ultra cope with?
250 simultaneous users.
You may also want to see:
- Web conferencing (virtual classrooms)
- Tips for using web conferencing - (Blackboard Collaborate wiki space: https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/display/BBCollabSupport/Home)
- Support for students
- Teaching and Learning Portal advice
- Digital Education Web pages