Blackboard Instructor includes Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for synchronous web conferencing. You can host virtual classes and share files while using voice, video, chat, and a whiteboard. You don't have to install anything other than Blackboard Instructor to join a session.

Collaborate with the Original experience isn't supported.

Collaborate isn’t supported for Blackboard Instructor on Windows at this time.

Instructors can join sessions through the app, or join a session in the web view of Collaborate Ultra to have the full range of moderator capabilities. Instructors and moderators can join a session in the web view of Collaborate Ultra, while participants join on mobile. Even when participants join sessions on various devices, everyone collaborates in the same space.


Join session from course

Collaborate Ultra sessions are listed within courses in the app. Access a course, tap Collaborate under Course Materials, and select a session.

  • The Course Room is a default session in Collaborate Ultra. If an instructor disables this room in the web browser view of the course, it will appear in the app as Locked in the app.
  • Tap an available session to join.
  • Sessions that aren't available right now appear in the list but you can't access them.
  • Tap the options for a session to copy a guest link. Access your course in a desktop web browser for more functions such as session creation.
  • For repeating sessions, the mobile app displays only the session. Collaborate Ultra's web browser view shows each occurrence of the repeating session. An upcoming Collaborate update will make the mobile app view similar to the web browser view.

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


Join session from link

You don't have to be an enrolled user in a course to join a Collaborate Ultra session with Blackboard Instructor. If you have a link to the session and you have the app installed, you're all set.

More on joining sessions from a link


Invite participants

Students see your course Collaborate sessions in the Blackboard app just as you see the list in Blackboard Instructor. You may want to use announcements or other methods to remind students of upcoming sessions.


Large sessions

Large sessions in Collaborate have over 250 and up to 500 users in the session. To make large sessions easier to manage, some participant features are turned off.

More on large Collaborate sessions

If you expect over 250 participants in your session, you must submit a large session request to the Collaborate support team on Behind the Blackboard BEFORE the session begins.


Features

You can 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 the whiteboard show, your video appears in the lower-left corner. The current speaker appears in the lower-right corner.
  2. Tap the arrow in the icon bar to access drawing tools. The arrow only appears after a session moderator turns on the whiteboard or shares a file. Select the pencil or a shape to draw. You can pinch and zoom while drawing.
  3. Tap the menu near the session name to see who is in the session or to select a shared file.
  4. Leave the session.

Make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in.

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, tap the status bar on your screen to return.

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

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

Participant

If you access Collaborate with a guest link, you’ll only have access to participant features in the app.

A moderator on the web version of Collaborate can make any participant on a mobile device a moderator or presenter.

Moderator or presenter

If you access Collaborate with the moderator link, you'll have additional moderator functions in the app. 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.

In Blackboard Instructor, 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 have 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 presenters or moderators can be accessed by all other users with file sharing permissions.

  1. Tap the folder icon. This icon appears only if you have presenter or moderator privileges.
  2. Tap Add File.
  3. Select a file from your mobile device or a course.
    • 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.
  4. 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 on the web 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

Outside of the app, you can use Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra experience in a web browser in these ways:

Either way, you'll find the functions to be the same.

Use Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra experience on a web browser for features that aren't available in the app:


Join with link details

Session links that are associated with courses are visible within the Blackboard Instructor and Blackboard apps. If you aren't an enrolled user in any courses, you can still join sessions if the moderator provides you a link. For example, a moderator that doesn't have a Blackboard course might email you a session link.

Here's how you join a session with a link:

  • Get Blackboard Instructor.
  • Open the link provided by a session moderator in your device's mobile web browser.
  • Follow the instructions on your device.

Steps to join a session with a link

If you encounter problems when you open the session link, walk through these steps.

  1. Install the Blackboard app. If you don't have the app yet, go to Quick Start.
  2. Open the session link in your device's mobile web browser.
    • If you open a moderator link, you'll have the available moderator functions in the app.
    • If you open a participant link, you'll have only the participant functions in the app.
  3. Select Blackboard Instructor from the list of apps on the browser page.
  4. You're joined to the session in one of these ways:
    • If you're already logged in to Blackboard Instructor, you're joined to the session automatically.
    • If you're not logged in, you can do one of the following:
      • Type your name and Join as Guest.
      • Sign in to Blackboard Instructor. 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 app.

If your school isn't set up to use the Blackboard Instructor app, you'll always tap Join as Guest.

Provide link to participants

To invite participants to join a mobile Collaborate session that isn't associated with a Blackboard course, you can send the guest link to participants in email or post the guest link as an item in a course. With either method, the Collaborate link automatically opens the app. Participants can log in with Blackboard credentials or join as guests.

If you want any participants to join as moderators, provide them the moderator link.

Get session links

Find session links in these ways:

Blackboard courses. Depending on system settings, Collaborate may be available in the web view of your course. The Collaborate course tool isn't available in the app.

Original Course View

  1. Select Blackboard Collaborate under Course Tools.
  2. Open the menu next to Course Room.
  3. Select Copy guest link —OR— Edit settings to copy the moderator link.

Ultra Course View

  1. Select Course Room under Details & Actions.
  2. Open the menu next to Course Room
  3. Select Get guest link —OR— Edit settings to copy the moderator link.

Administrators. The administrator that maintains Collaborate for you may provide you with session links.

Blackboard Instructor. The app provides the guest link for a session.

Outside of Blackboard. If you have access to the Collaborate session scheduler website you can create sessions and copy moderator and guest session links.

More on the Collaborate session scheduler