Collaborate in the Blackboard App

On this page

    The Blackboard app includes Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra experience—a synchronous web conferencing solution for high-quality virtual classes and meetings. Instructors can share files and video while interacting with the class. You don't have to install anything extra to join a session.

    Instructors use Collaborate with the Ultra experience on a web browser to moderate sessions with users in the Blackboard app. Collaborate with the Original experience isn't supported.

    Join a session

    If you can, join your session early and get to know your way around.

    1. You must install the Blackboard app before you can collaborate. If you don't have the app yet, go to Quick Start.
    2. Open the link provided by your instructor or session moderator in your device's mobile web browser. Typically, your instructor emails the link or posts it in a course.
    3. Use the onscreen instructions on your device.
    4. If you're already logged in to the Blackboard app, the session opens automatically.
    5. If you're not logged in to the Blackboard app, you can do one of the following:
      • Type your name and tap Join as Guest.
      • Sign in to Blackboard. Use the same credentials you use to access your Blackboard courses on a computer. This method autofills your name in the Collaborate session and logs you in to the Blackboard app.

    More details on joining sessions and troubleshooting issues

    The experience might be slightly different depending on your device.

    • iOS: After opening the link from your instructor, you might see a pop-up window that asks Open this page in the Blackboard app? Select Open.
    • Android and Windows: The Collaborate session opens directly if you're already logged in to the Blackboard app.

    Features

    Image of Collaborate session in Bb Student

    You can view your instructor's content and video and perform these tasks:

    1. Tap your profile picture to change it, set your status to Away, or access help information. Use the controls to share video or voice, raise your hand, and chat with others. When files or whiteboard show, your local video appears in the lower-left corner and the current speaker is in the lower-right corner.
    2. Tap the arrow in the icon bar to access drawing tools. The arrow only appears after your instructor or session moderator turns on the whiteboard or shares a file. Select the pencil or a shape to draw. You can pinch or zoom while drawing.
    3. Tap the menu near the session name to see who's in the session or to select a shared file.
    4. Leave the session.

    More Features

    Activity notifications. You can see new chat messages, raised hands, when someone joins or leaves a session, and when recording starts and stops.

    Multitask. If you leave the app to perform another task on your device, just tap the status bar to return.

    Mute all. If your instructor mutes all participants from the web version of Collaborate with the Ultra experience, all microphones are turned off in the mobile app as well.

    At this time, your Blackboard app profile picture functions separately from your profile picture in a Collaborate session.

    Tips

    Wi-Fi provides the best experience. A Wi-Fi connection reduces the amount of mobile data used.

    Make sure you're fully charged or plugged in. Versions prior to iOS 9.0 and Android 4.4 can experience rapid battery drain.

    Having trouble? If you experience problems with Collaborate, submit a case on Behind the Blackboard (available in English only).


    Do more with different roles

    In general, you're a participant in the session and your instructor is the moderator. A moderator might choose to give you additional capabilities by making you a presenter or moderator. Users with presenter or moderator privileges can tap the menu near the session name to access these additional functions:

    • Upload and share content.
    • See hand raise notifications and lower hands.
    • Turn on the whiteboard functions so that participants can draw on shared files.
    • Record sessions if you're a moderator on an Android or iOS device.

    In the Blackboard app, the presenter and moderator roles have the same capabilities. Collaborate with the Ultra experience on your web browser provides additional capabilities to moderators.


    Share files

    If you're given presenter or moderator privileges, you can show files to the rest of the participants. You can display an image, PowerPoint, or PDF while you talk about it and navigate through a document or presentation. When you share a file in the app, the whiteboard turns on automatically so that participants can draw on the shared file.

    To be sure users have permission to draw, a Collaborate moderator on a web browser must allow whiteboard drawing in Session Settings.

    All files uploaded by moderators or presenters can be accessed by all other users with file sharing permissions.

    1. Tap the folder icon. This icon appears only if you have moderator or presenter privileges.
    2. Tap Add File.
      • Choose from My Device: In iOS, you can share only photos from your device. Android allows you to upload GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, and PowerPoint files.
      • Select a course: You can share files that you previously added to a course. The file selection screen displays only items that you can share. For example, tests and assignments aren't shareable.
    3. Stop Sharing ends the participants' view of the file.

    If you join a session as a guest, you can share files only from your device. You can't share files from courses.

    To remove an item from the Shared Files list, swipe left and tap Remove.


    Breakout groups

    A session moderator browser view of Collaborate can divide participants into groups for smaller projects and collaboration. In the app, you're notified when you're placed in a group or moved out of a group.

    Only group members see the audio, video, chat, and shared files in a breakout group. Every participant in a group is a presenter, so all can share the whiteboard, files, and applications with the rest of the group. Breakout group interactions aren't captured in session recordings.

    Content shared in a breakout group isn't available when breakout groups end. If you want to keep anything for future use, you can take screen captures of files and whiteboards your group shared.


    Compare to Collaborate in web browser

    If you've used Collaborate with the Ultra Experience on a web browser already, you'll feel right at home collaborating in the app. To use the following functions, use Collaborate on a web browser as these features aren't available in the app.

    • Closed captioning
    • Polls