Month: September 2016

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra – What’s New?

Collaborate Ultra has long been touted as the successor to Collaborate Classic.  Its initial launch last year, however, was met with little fanfare.  Despite a modern interface and audio/video improvements, Ultra lacked several of its predecessors features.

All that changed this past summer, when Blackboard released several major updates to Ultra (listed below).

  • Polling
  • Breakout Rooms
  • Session Recording
  • Phone Conferencing

These improvements, coupled with its already impressive interface and audio/video capabilities, make Ultra an ideal solution for online collaborative learning.

The only notable drawback to Ultra is browser compatibility.  Currently, Google Chrome is the only browser which fully supports the underlying technology, known as WebRTC.  We highly recommend all moderators and participants use Chrome exclusively for Collaborate Ultra sessions.  Support for WebRTC in Mozilla FireFox and Microsoft Edge is expected later this year.

If interested, a detailed Comparison of Ultra vs Classic is available on our Blackboard Collaborate page.

Using Collaborate Ultra

Collaborate Ultra is now available in all HuskyCT sites.  To access Ultra, open the course tools menu.  Ultra is listed under course tools, directly below the original Collaborate course tool (pictured below).  Note – Instructors still have the option to use Collaborate Classic in HuskyCT, as the course tools work independently.  In fact, both versions can be used simultaneously in a course.


Setting up a session

When you first access Collaborate Ultra, the “Create Session” button is displayed in the center of the window.  Clicking this button will launch a new session setup screen.


Setting up a session is quick!  Only three fields are required to start a new session – session name, start and end date.  Recurrence and Session Settings (Advanced) are optional.


The default “Session Settings” should be adequate for most collaborative sessions.  If tweaks are needed, expand the “Session Settings” menu and set the appropriate options (pictured below).  Click “Save” to create the session!


View upcoming sessions

All upcoming sessions are listed on the main page of the course tool (default filter).  To view prior sessions or search using a date range, click on the chevron next to “Show All Upcoming Sessions”.  The expanded menu will display available filters.  Clicking on the filter name will refresh the list of sessions.


View recorded sessions

Directly above the session filter is the menu icon (displayed as three horizontal bars).  Clicking this icon will open the main menu.  This is where moderators can switch between scheduled sessions and recorded sessions.  Clicking on the “Recordings” menu will display any available recorded sessions in the course.


More information on Collaborate Ultra, including links to support documentation is available on our Collaborate Ultra Support page.