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Performance improvement maintenance window
Collaborate's regular release calendar is published well in advance, and we confirm any maintenance window 2 weeks before they happen. We recognize maintenance windows, even though happening at night, can be disruptive for some institutions. We try to plan them to minimize disruption to your regular schedule.
However, we've made the decision to include an extra maintenance window on 5/6 November 2020. This maintenance window will provide critical improvement to Collaborate's stability and performance. The alternative would have been to combine it with the planned 20.20 release. Combining it would have meant delaying those improvements as well as extending the maintenance window of that release, potentially conflicting with your regular session schedule in the morning.
With that in mind, we believe adding this extra maintenance window at night is the best compromise to minimize disruptions.
We also strongly recommend avoiding using Collaborate Ultra throughout these maintenance windows due to the database maintenance being performed, even if the site is up and running. In the unlikely event that a rollback is necessary, any data created or updated during the maintenance windows would be lost. We will try to complete the work in as little time as possible and our Status Pages will be updated when each maintenance window has ended. Please refer to our Status Pages for updates.
Beta release of the new whiteboard
The new whiteboard was released as a beta to select clients for testing purposes from 23 July 2020. Then extended to a broader audience September 10, 2020. Beta access is now closed for application. General availability of the whiteboard is postponed due to testing. We’ll inform you of a new release date when the new date is determined. Learn more on the Community site.
Now attendees can enjoy better formatting, usability, and annotation persistence with the release of the new whiteboard annotation tools. With the improvements to the annotation tools, attendees can enjoy these features on a session whiteboard or shared file.
- Better formatting: Pencil thickness, fonts and font size, shapes with color fill, arrows, and more are added to the annotation tools.
- Usability: It's easier to copy and reuse elements and paste text. You can now erase part of the annotations or clear all. There are multi line text blocks, text wrapping, and safeguards before clearing all annotations.
- Interaction with breakout groups: You can annotate a file in the main room and then share it with the breakout groups including annotations.
- Annotation persistence: Annotations made to the whiteboard, or on a file, are saved in the session. You can share something new, go to a new slide, or stop sharing. The annotations remain. Select Clear Annotations to remove them all.
Create a blank file of several pages to have a multi-page whiteboard.
Session owners and admins can always download recordings
Session owners, course instructors, and administrators can now always download recordings even if the option to download recordings is clear in the session settings. Use the Allow recording downloads check box to let everyone else download the recording.
Improved the create and edit session functionality
We have improved the user experience for creating and editing sessions in the Collaborate Ultra Scheduler. This improvement also prevents unintended changes to a session from being accidentally saved. Administrators and session owners now need to save changes with the Save button.
Collaborate 20.02, 20.04, 20.06, and 20.08 releases included in this 20.09 release.
In this release, we made minor improvements to the whiteboard. It's now easier to select and rotate items.
Collaborate sessions secure by default
All newly-created Collaborate sessions are now secure by default. The Guest Access check box is clear when a new session is being created. The check box must be selected to allow guest access. Scheduler users still have the option to enable guest access if they choose, in order to allow public access to their session.
A special note from Product Management
The team has been taking several pre-emptive infrastructure measures to help prepare for significantly increased traffic as a growing number of schools move to fully online courses. We will continue to monitor closely and take any additional steps required to provide a seamless service.
The Collaborate February release is a maintenance release. You can view maintenance items on Behind the Blackboard on February 13.