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New and improved emojis
An important part of a classroom dynamic is the non-verbal communication. The look on a student's face or hearing their tone tell you a lot about how they are getting along in the class. Emojis bring that non-verbal communication to a virtual setting. That's why we've improved the emojis available to you in a Collaborate session. Now you have more appropriate emojis to choose from to help you convey exactly what you want to.
Share video in a Chrome tab
Now when moderators and presenters share a video in a session, all attendees can hear the audio. From a ChromeTM browser, select Share Application and use the Chrome Tab option when you share your screen. Select Share audio.
We've made minor updates to the Collaborate Session Attendance and Institution-level Attendance reports. We updated the AttendeeType and Username columns to provide more unique information on attendees that joined sessions.
More browser pop-up notifications
Attendees can now get browser pop-notifications when someone joins or leaves a session. Moderators can also set notifications for when someone raises their hand.
Now you can present in a separate application and never miss a thing.
Improved experience in the mobile apps
We've introduced a new and improved Collaborate experience in the Blackboard Learn mobile apps! When you join a session from the app, you have access to a more robust set of tools.
Rename session files
Moderators can now rename files uploaded to a session. From Share Files in the Collaborate panel, open the File options menu of any file and select Rename file.
Browser pop-up notifications
Previously, moderators or presenters that were sharing a file or an application were not able to see new chat messages. This is because the Collaborate Ultra application was minimized and so moderators and/or presenters missed new chat messages.
With the July release, this is no longer a problem. Moderators and/or presenters can now enable browser chat push notifications to alert them to new chat messages in the session, even while the application is minimized.
Share content to breakout groups
Moderators can share files, with one or more breakout groups. When sharing a file with a breakout group, the first slide of the file displays in the breakout group.
Moderators can also save group files to use later. Find the breakout group files and save them to the main room before logging out of the session.
Collaborate emails moderators links to their recordings. This requires a valid email address. Now invited moderators also receive the email. This means that moderators who own the session or join by personal invitation get the email. The email is not sent to moderators by guest link or promotion during the session.
Default recording name
Default session recording names are numbered sequentially so you can find recordings easily. The numbering doesn't reset to "_1" when a session closes, so each recording has a unique name. You can still rename recordings.
With the June 2019 release, if attendees in a session are not active after a time, the session ends. This includes activity such as using audio, raising a hand, sharing content, and so on. Moderators in inactive sessions see and hear a reminder that the session is open and will close in a minute.
If you are hosting a long meeting that requires breaks, use the timer to keep the session active.
The Collaborate May release is a maintenance release. You can view maintenance items on Behind the Blackboard on May 16.
The Collaborate April release is a maintenance release. You can view maintenance items on Behind the Blackboard.
Session user connectivity indicators
Now you can easily determine an attendee's relative ability to exchange audio, video, or application sharing during a session. Move your pointer over the connectivity indicator of any attendee to see all the details.
- Their ability to share or see audio, video, and content
- The quality of audio, video, and content
- If there is any delay in audio
Fortunately, there is no need to figure out from the numbers what an attendee might be experiencing. Collaborate does the math for you. The connection status indicator tells you what an attendee’s experience is most likely to be (excellent, good, fair or poor).
- Excellent: Attendee can share, see, and hear everything with no issues.
- Good: Attendee can share, see, and hear everything with little to no issues.
- Fair: Attendee may experience some changes in their experience.
- Poor: Attendee may have difficulty hearing, seeing, or sharing anything.
Moderators can now add their own questions and answer choices to Collaborate polls. Select the poll type, type your question and answer choices, and select Start.
This is an optional feature. Moderators can leave the question and answer choices blank and still use the poll. Attendees will see the same simple poll originally available in Collaborate.
Browser support updates
We are excited to announce these changes to browser support in the March release:
- Adding native WebRTC-based support for users in Safari® 11 on macOS, Safari 12 on macOS®, and Microsoft Edge® on Windows® 10.
- Adding (beta) native WebRTC-based support for users of Safari in iOS 11 and iOS 12.
- Ending support for browsers that do not natively support WebRTC, and require the use of Adobe Flash® for media - this means ending support for Internet Explorer® 11 on Windows and Safari 10 on Mac OS.
When Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra Experience was released in 2015, Adobe Flash was a significant enabling technology for live media in the browser. This was at a time when only Google ChromeTM supported WebRTC well enough for the interactive demands of online classrooms with hundreds of participants. Today, every major, modern browser has support for WebRTC.
WebRTC provides a superior experience to Flash for media access, with the ability to view multiple speaker videos, higher quality audio and video, and better bandwidth adaptation.
In July 2017, Adobe announced the end-of-life for the Flash plugin to take effect at the end of 2020. Browser vendors have communicated plans for ending support of Flash in their browsers and are making it difficult to enable and use Flash. These decisions make it clear that the best path forward for Collaborate with the Ultra Experience is with browsers that natively support WebRTC.
In addition to our support for WebRTC in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox®, we are excited to add support for WebRTC in Safari 11, Safari 12, iOS 11, iOS 12, and Microsoft Edge. We are confident that focusing on these technologies strengthens our ability to provide our users with the best possible experience.