Blackboard Collaborate Upgrade

December 21 calendar iconOn Thursday, December 21, 2017, we will upgrade Blackboard Collaborate to Collaborate Ultra within Sakai. Collaborate Ultra is a completely redesigned version of our current Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing tool. The new mobile-friendly solution is described as “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.” It is simple, fast, and more accessible.

Benefits & New Features

Collaborate Ultra still has many features you have been accustomed to using inĀ  classic Blackboard Collaborate:

  • Share desktop, slides, whiteboards
  • Video and audio capability
  • Record sessions and MP4 conversions
  • Breakout rooms
  • Guest join links
  • Chat

The most notable difference in Collaborate Ultra is the browser-based, modern interface that makes it easy to host an online conference. Here are some of the new features in Collaborate Ultra (view feature showcase here):

  • Browser-based — no software to install!
  • Modern, adaptive interface
  • Make Captioner — assign a user to provide real-time closed captioning
  • Make Presenter — easily give students limited presenting privileges
  • Launch via Blackboard app on mobile device
  • Improved polling
  • Customized video layout
  • Network connection quality indicator

Impact to Users

Blackboard Collaborate will still be available in Sakai sites that have the tool enabled prior to the upgrade, along with access to recorded sessions. After we upgrade on December 21st, you can add Collaborate Ultra to your site through Site Info > Manage Tools.

While the overall experience in Collaborate Ultra will be a huge improvement to most users, who use it simply to screen-share, chat, and collaborate with others, we should note that some features in Blackboard Collaborate are not yet in Collaborate Ultra:

  • Support large scale webinars — Ultra currently supports 100 users (Goal: 1,000)
  • Pre-load slides to greet users as they enter webinar
  • In-session invites
  • Advanced Whiteboard options
  • Remote desktop control
  • Built-in graphing calculator, notes tool, timer
  • Print whiteboard and participant list
  • Save chat, whiteboard, participant list

Ultra Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek to Collaborate Ultra! You’ll find that the look and feel is modern and updated, however the functionality in terms of setting up your webinar rooms will feelĀ  very similar to Blackboard Collaborate.

List of Sessions:

collaborate ultra session list viewCreate a Webinar Session:

view of creating collaborate ultra sessionCollaborate Ultra Tutorials & Support

We recommend checking out Collaborate Ultra’s tutorials and support documentation referenced below, but here is a quick list to get you started. Contact the ITS Service Desk to let us know if you need any assistance or want to get early access to the Collaborate Ultra Experience!


Tutorials on YouTube


Online Community


Technical Support

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