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Bulk Delete of Recordings  for Managers

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.14 | Release to Production: 11 August 2022
New features

As institutions are implementing their own storage management policies, they are looking to optimize their usage by deleting older recordings. Previously, they could request bulk deletion of all recordings of a period through a support ticket. Many institutions aim to be doing a yearly clean-up in August/September, and we’re happy to make this much easier this year.

With this new Bulk Delete feature available for Managers, institutions have more autonomy and flexibility regarding when and what to delete. With a workflow very similar to the bulk download/copy feature, they can use the recordings report to see when each recording was made and last viewed and edit this list to upload in the Bulk Delete interface a list of which recordings they want to delete.

They may as well combine this with the Bulk Copy feature to the first archive before deleting, using the same CSV file listing the recordings.

From the scheduler, the Recordings page is opened. We're in the Delete Recordings tab where we see the list of recordings to be deleted.

Find out all about Bulk Delete Recordings.

New Features

Improvements in the experience of Engagement Insights based on user feedback

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.14 | Release to Production: 11 August 2022
New features

Based on our own audits as well as user feedback we have improved the experience for engagement insights on different aspects, one of the most noticeable ones being that the metrics will refresh only when there has been a change, and a bit more elegantly than before.

All about Session Engagement Insights.

New Features

Adding advanced features in Collaborate powered by Chime: Accessibility and Engagement Insight

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.14 | Release to Production: 11 August 2022
New features

Since the release of the beta version of Collaborate powered by Amazon Chime, we have been working on adding some of the more advanced features you already enjoy in your standard Collaborate sessions.

With this release we are:

  • Progressing towards parity on accessibility, by releasing the (human) captioning feature in sessions and recordings. The last step towards having the Chime sessions as accessible as standard Collaborate sessions will be keyboard shortcuts.

More about Captions in Collaborate.

  • Adding Engagement Insights to match this feature released earlier this year for standard sessions.

More about Session Engagement Insights.

Discover all about Collaborate powered by Chime in Chime documentation.

New Features

Pause Breakout Groups without closing them

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.12 | Release to Production: 14 July 2022
New features

When working collaboratively in breakout groups, instructors may need to bring all students back into the main room to give clarifications, or to give instructions for the next step of the work. However, if they stop the group activity to regroup, the group composition gets deleted, the breakout rooms get closed and the work in progress gets wiped.

This new feature allows instructors to pause the activity instead of stopping it, effectively regrouping all attendees back into the main room in 1 click, without ending the groups. It is then easy to resume the activity and send everyone back to their original group with no setup time and continue working on their whiteboard and files.

Parallel images with the breakout groups panel is open and groups are running. Highlighted the pause and resume buttons.

Find out all about Breakout Groups.

New Features

Anonymize mentions in recordings

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.12 | Release to Production: 14 July 2022
Updated features

Currently, in the scheduler session settings, the moderator/session owner has the option to Anonymize chat messages’ authors in the recording. From now on, we’re going one step further in protecting privacy by also anonymizing when an attendee is mentioned (using @) in the chat by another attendee.

Find out how to Anonymize chat messages in recordings.

Updated Features

Enhanced noise reduction in Collaborate powered by Chime

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.12 | Release to Production: 14 July 2022
New features

When in an online session, having good quality and clear sound is crucial. Sounds can highly impact the attendees’ concentration and understanding. In this next improvement powered by Chime, we leverage an advanced noise reduction technology to prevent teaching sessions from being disrupted by background noise, barking dogs, and similar.

At times, when you do want the attendees to listen to the music played in the background or hear other participants in the same room (think Hybrid classes), you can also turn off background noise reduction mid-session.

Open Collaborate panel with Audio and Video Settings expanded. Reduce your microphone background noise checkbox is marked.

Discover more about Noise Reduction in Collaborate powered by Chime.

New Features

Adding advanced features in Collaborate powered by Chime: breakout groups and polls

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.12 | Release to Production: 14 July 2022
Updated features

Since the release of the beta version of Collaborate powered by Amazon Chime, we have been working on adding some of the more advanced features you already enjoy in your standard Collaborate sessions.

With this release, we are adding:

  • Breakout groups
  • Polls

While rebuilding Collaborate on top of Chime, we have also been able to include some improvements to the user experience. In particular, for breakout groups:

  • It’s now easier to join groups when they’re set up for attendees to choose their group. With the Collapse All button, you can have the list of groups in a single compressed view. Join any group by selecting the Join button next to it.
  • In standard Collaborate, when you stop groups and bring attendees back to the main room, anyone who had their microphone ON in the groups will also have it ON when returning to the main room, which often causes a lot of noise. In this version, we mute the attendees when they return or switch groups. Moderators and presenters will keep their microphone status.
  • When a moderator moves you to or from a group, you will hear an audio notification to draw your attention to the transition.
Two parallel screens of the Collaborate panel opened with a breakout groups list. Highlighted is the Collapse All button and the Expand All button which allows to have all the groups listed in a compressed single view.

Find more about Breakout Groups and Polls in Chime.

New Features, Updated Features

Beta release of Collaborate’s new audio/video service in May and June

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.08 | Release to Production: 12 May 2022 and 9 June 2022
New features

27 May 2022 Update: Institutions who didn't get access to the Chime beta release in May will have it available from the 9th of June.

We are in the process of rebuilding Collaborate on top of a new video and audio service, Amazon Chime. While this work is in progress, we are pleased to be able to make a beta version available for users who would like to try it.

This option will be gradually rolled out to institutions during the May and the June releases.

Session owners can then pick this option in the session settings from the Scheduler. They should consult the linked Chime help page to check the most up-to-date list of features that are included and those not included yet at this beta stage.

Chime sessions feature visibly higher quality video and application sharing, as well as benefit from high reliability and scaling.

These features are not yet part of this beta release:

  • Polling
  • Breakout groups
  • Session Engagement Insights
  • Joining the session by phone dial-in
  • Pointer does not appear in recordings
  • Large scale sessions (more than 250 attendees)
  • Not yet suitable for conducting sessions with accessibility requirements (including captioning)

Please consult the Chime documentation for more details.

As we continue the work and gradually add features to match the ones currently in the standard Collaborate, the release notes and documentation page will get updated.

New Features

Download whiteboard and annotated documents

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.08 | Release to Production: 12 May 2022
New features

From this release onwards, when a moderator shares a file on the board or a whiteboard, session attendees can download the full document, including annotations, as a PDF file, using new tools in the whiteboard toolbar.

Not only do students have immediate access to the document during the session itself, but they will also capture the additional information added during the session.

Files that are uploaded in the document library but not shared, aren't downloadable.

If instructors don't want students to download the document, they can use application sharing to share the document.

For more details on the feature itself, jump to the Share Content documentation.

New Features

Small improvements to poll reports

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.08 | Release to Production: 12 May 2022
Updated features

Based on user feedback we have added small improvements to the user experience of poll reports:

  • If an attendee gets disconnected, their poll answers will be saved in the report anyway.
  • If the poll question or options is updated by the moderator, the poll report will include the update, and will not include the old version.

Find more in Polls or Collaborate Session Reports.

Updated Features

Live data insights on engagement during the session 

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.06 | Release to Production: 14-21  April 2022 AU, 19-21 April 2022 all other data centers
New features

This feature will be released gradually to institutions between the 14th and the 21st for institutions in AU and between the 19th and the 21st for institutions in other data centers.

While teaching a session, it can be challenging for instructors to deliver the content, maintain the conversation ongoing, and be on top of the interest the attendees are showing.

The Engagement Insights Panel is a tool companion for moderators that shows with data how the audience is engaging while the session is occurring; opening the space to think on actions that may help keep or improve the energy of a session.

In this first release, instructors can see at-a-glance the most representative students' interactions: number of hands raised and the number of chat messages sent. The total includes both the main room and the breakout groups. As instructors increasingly engage students they’ll see the total count of those interactions rise. On top of this the “% of attendees” data gives them a more qualitative insight on how widely the engagement is spread. As instructors adapt their teaching in the session they can immediately see the result in the engagement numbers, and use it to assess what has the biggest impact to make the session participative. In each session, a tip gives instructors some short guidance on fostering engagement.

Instructors can challenge themselves to increase the total count and % from one session to the next.

Collaborate engagement insights panel open showing 22% of attendees raised hands and 11% posted chat messages

More on Session Engagement Insights documentation.

New Features

Insights on recording usage

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.06 | Release to Production: 14 April 2022 AU, 19 April 2022 for all other data centers
New features

The recording of a session is increasingly considered a learning content in itself and instructors want to understand if they are used and when.

With the new recording usage tab, they will get a sense of how their students are engaging with recordings. The recording usage tabs allows instructors to see how many students have watched and downloaded recordings. And the last time a recording was viewed or downloaded.

This new tab also enables instructors to make data informed decisions on which recordings to keep and which to delete, or download to archive, while supporting their institution’s effort with recording lifecycle management and storage optimization.

More at the bottom of the Recordings Documentation.

New Features

Institutions can activate automated recording captioning

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.04 | Release to Production: 10 March 2022
New features

As previously announced, speech-to-text captioning of recordings in English was released earlier in February. We are now happy to announce the roll out of the activation process from March 4, 2022.

Activation at the institutional level must be done by an authorized person, and they can consult the activation instructions on the support portal when authenticated as an administrator.

For more details on the feature itself, jump to the Captions documentation.

New Features

More flexibility when creating large sessions

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.04 | Release to Production: 10 March 2022
Updated features

Until now, instructors were limited with the scheduling of large sessions with more than 250 attendees. In some cases, this resulted in instructors spending more time setting up multiple sessions.

We have been able to lift those limitations so that instructors can now create :

  • Large sessions without an end date
  • Large sessions with an end date more than 24 hours after the start date
  • Large sessions as recurring sessions

This will save them time and provide more flexibility.

In the session, default permissions and the number of videos specific to large sessions remain in place.

Session setting with large session mode on and no end (open session) selected.
Updated Features

Automated transcription for recordings in English

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.02 | Release to Production: 10 February 2022
Updated features

While we’re technically releasing the feature in this release, we’re currently finalizing the process and tools by which institutions can request the activation of this feature. We will update this page with a link to activation instructions as early as possible, we expect this to be finalized by the March release. Make sure to select “follow” at the bottom of this page to be informed when we update it with the instructions.

In the meantime we wanted to share earlier on the details and documentation of the feature itself.

Instructors can now leverage the help of artificial intelligence to improve the accessibility of their recordings (available in English only for now). Creating captioning for recordings from scratch can be very time consuming for instructors or accessibility staff. With this new feature, Collaborate gives you a head start by automatically creating a transcription based on speech to text recognition technology. After the session, the instructor or session owner can create the auto-caption. These captions can be reviewed, downloaded, and edited if necessary. 

More on captions

While the enhancements described here are designed to help institutions meet their applicable compliance obligations, we do not guarantee that this service will ensure the institution will be in compliance with any or all applicable laws and regulations. Please consult with your attorney on all your compliance requirements.

New Features

Manager report on the usage of automated captioning

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 22.02 | Release to Production: 10 February 2022
Updated features

Along with the release of the recording captioning feature, we wanted to make sure we give institutions the ability to keep track of the consumption of captioning services. This will allow managers to know how many minutes of automated captioning their institution have been using so they can compare with their contractual quota.

The report is visible for all institutions, those who don’t have the captioning feature activated will simply see zero minutes used in this report.

More on the Captions reports

New Features

Pointer in the new whiteboard

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.24 | Release to Production: 13 January 2022
Updated features

The initial release of the new whiteboard didn’t include a pointer for moderators/presenters out of the box. Following feedback from our users and highlighting the importance of such a feature in particular for teaching, we’ve worked on adding a pointer. And to make visibility better, we also changed the icon compared to the old whiteboard, so it is more consistent with commonly known design standards.

A slide is visible in a Collaborate session. The annotation tools appear along the top of the screen. The Pointer tool is the second annotation tool from the left.
Updated Features

Update to recording deletion grace period 

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.24 | Release to Production: 13 January 2022
Updated features

We’re updating the approach to deleted recordings. From this release onward, recordings marked as deleted by users will automatically get fully wiped (“hard delete”) from our servers (including chat, captions, and so on) 30 days later without opportunity to request restoration through support after that grace period.

Updated Features

Expanding the browser not supported warning

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.22 | Release to Production: 9 December 2021
Updated features

In the initial implementation in September, the browser support warning was configured to get triggered only for specific browsers about to get fully blocked. However, based on feedback from the community, we are expanding it to all browsers or browser versions not officially supported, in order to encourage users to upgrade and thus get the best experience.

In most cases users can enter the session even if they use a browser that is not officially supported, after dismissing the warning.

More on the browser not supported warning

Updated Features

Recordings Storage Usage Report 

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.22 | Release to Production: 9 December 2021
New features

Managers can now track their institution storage on their own at any time. In this release, we've added a Storage usage report to the Institution reports. Managers can use this report to see how much GBs of recording storage their institution is using. This visibility makes anticipating and planning for tasks and contractual adjustments much easier.

This new report shows the total recording storage for the whole institution as of the day generated. For storage information on individual recordings, use the Recording report.

Sign into the Scheduler as a manager, select Reports and Institution reports. The Storage usage report is at the bottom of the list of reports.

New Features

Maintenance release

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.20 | Release to Production: 11 November 2021
Updated features

This release is mainly a maintenance release. In the meantime throughout the previous weeks and following ones we’ve continued to release improvements and bug fixes. Some of the most notable ones are:

  • continuing the deployment of the new whiteboard at a faster weekly pace
  • improvements to the new whiteboard regarding smoothness of handwriting, and usability on mobile
Updated Features

Continuing the roll out of the new whiteboard 

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.18 | Release to Production: 14 October - 5 November 2021
New features

With the October release we’re continuing the progressive roll out of the new whiteboard in the Europe (EU) and US data centers. We’re ramping up the speed of activations while continuing to constantly monitor performance and stability while moving through each step. Some institutions will see the new whiteboard with the release on the 14th of October. From then onward throughout October, we'll activate a new batch of institutions every Friday.

  • 14th of October release: activation for the rest of institutions located in the USA, the UAE, the UK, and South Africa (confirmed).
  • 22nd of October: 
    • activation for most of the remaining institutions hosted in the EU data center. Institutions in India and Saudi Arabia will be activated at a later date. (confirmed)
    • activation for most of the remaining Latin American institutions hosted in the US data center. Institutions in Peru will be activated at a later date. (confirmed)
  • 29th of October:
    • activation for institutions in Peru (hosted in the US data center)
    • activation for most of institutions in Saudi Arabia (hosted in the EU data center)
  • 5th of November: activation of specific large institutions in Saudi Arabia (their SDM will contact them)
  • 12th of November: activation for the remaining institutions in Saudi Arabia.
  • 19th of November: activation for Indian institutions hosted in the EU data center.

In order to help institutions set expectations, we intend to follow a roll out approach based on countries. We’ll update the release notes shortly before those weekly activations to give details of which countries are concerned when possible. The number of countries each week will depend on the monitoring results from that week.

We recommend you select “follow this page” at the bottom of this page to be notified when we make updates.

More in the original release note

New Features

Adjust recording playback speed

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.18 | Release to Production: 14 October 2021
New features

More and more students are using recordings as a way to catch up on missed sessions and review content to better assimilate. With that in mind, and based on student feedback, anyone can now adjust the speed of the recording to suit their needs.

With this feature, viewers can choose between a range of speeds (0.5x, 0.75x, 1x, 1.25, 1.5, 2x) to playback recorded video.

Viewers can now go faster to save some time, or because it’s easier to understand. Or they can go slower to catch more of what is being said, or because the video is in a different language. These are just few examples of the advantages of being able to change speed when playing a recording.

Playback speed option is located between the volume and closed caption options on the recording playback controls.
New Features

Bulk download or copy recordings

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.16 | Release to Production: 6 September 2021
New features

In order to meet the needs of some institutions as early as possible, we're releasing this feature for general availability ahead of the September release. The target is 6 September 2021.

As institutions are implementing their own storage management policies, they often find that for old recordings they don't need the high availability and integration in Collaborate, and are looking for ways manage their storage more efficiently. In some cases, they want to be able to have an archive copy of their recordings on their own storage. Managers can choose to download their institution recordings to a local drive or copy them to Amazon S3 external cloud storage (in the same region). Bulk copy doesn't delete recordings from Collaborate servers. If institutions want to bulk delete recordings for a given time period, they may create a support case ticket to request it. A more advanced bulk delete feature is planned.

Recordings 10 GB or less can be downloaded locally. Anything over 10 GB can only be copied to external storage.

More on how managers can copy or download your recordings in bulk

New Features

Gallery view for participants in the Latin American region

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.16 | Release to Production 9 September 2021
New features

We're happy to announce that we're completing the roll out of gallery view for participants to the remaining institutions in the Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC)! 

Users who have devices, performance, or networks that can't support a good gallery view experience will see their number of videos automatically scaled down to 4. Limiting the number of videos they see gives them the most fluid experience for their situation.

Just like for moderators, when participants enter a room, the default view is the usual speaker view with 1 big video along the top and small videos underneath. If participants want to use gallery view, they can pick the view in the top right corner.

More on gallery view for participants

When gallery view is available for participants at the institution level, a new option appears for moderators that allows them to decide to limit the number of videos that participants see to 4, in order to limit distractions, while moderators continue to see all available videos.

More on the Gallery view permission settings

New Features

Breakout groups integration with Blackboard Learn groups

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.16 | Release to Production: 9-13 September 2021
New features, Blackboard Learn integration

Groups created in your Blackboard Learn course are now available in your course Collaborate sessions for breakouts. Instructors can use their existing course groups to create breakout groups in advance and save time. Build on existing student collaboration. With this integration, students can stay in their same group without extra work for the instructor. In the Collaborate session, the instructor can also enjoy some flexibility and adjust groups as needed without impacting the groups in Learn. For example, to balance groups among attendees.

The Collaborate and Blackboard Learn groups integration is available on the SaaS deployment. It applies to both experiences:

  • Original course experience group sets (not standalone groups)
  • Ultra course experience course level groups

The Collaborate and Blackboard Learn groups integration will be released gradually from 9 September to 13 September.

New Features, Blackboard Learn Integration

Browser not supported warning

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.16 | Release to Production: 9 September 2021
New features

To get the best experience, attendees should join sessions with a supported browser. When attendees join with an unsupported browser they may still be able to join the session but their experience won't be the same. Sometimes older devices won't let users upgrade their browsers. Sometimes users don't realize their browser isn't supported and reach out to their support desk when they run into issues that could have been solved by a browser update.

Our user groups suggested we pro-actively inform users and encourage them to upgrade, in order to lower case load and improve their experience. We still let those users enter the session, but at least they know what they can do to improve their experience. Thank you for your feedback, we're happy to bring this to you to make the back to school experience smoother.

More on our browser support policy

New Features

Update to the roll out plan for the new whiteboard for sessions hosted in EU and US data centers

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.14 | Release to Production: 12-19 August 2021
New features

Based on monitoring the roll out of the new whiteboard in Asia Pacific and Canada, we want to take a more cautious and gradual approach for Europe and US that initially planned. This more gradual approach will allow for some optimization on scaling. With this new approach, we'll roll out the new whiteboard to some institutions in Europe and the US between August 12 and 19. Not every institution in Europe and US will be part of this initial roll out. We will update this page when we can provide more details on further steps.

We'll continue the roll out with the September release. Institutions included in the roll out will depend on what is observed with the roll out in August. We'll continue performance testing of an optimized version in the meantime.

Thank you for your patience. Our priority is to deploy the whiteboard in a way that gives us and your users high confidence in performance, especially in the context of the back to school period.

More in the original release note

New Features

Expanding the availability of Gallery view for participants in the Latin American region

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.14 | Release to Production 12 August 2021
New features

Through gradual ramp up, all institutions outside of the Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC) have gallery view for both moderators and students at this stage. In the LAC region, all institutions have it for moderators, and we have been working with some pilot institutions on monitoring performance and experience. We're happy to announce that we're accelerating the roll out of gallery view for participants to many more institutions in this region. We'll monitor this new group before moving on to further steps with the goal of getting to 100% of LAC institutions as soon as we can confidently.

Users who have devices, performance, or networks that can't support a good gallery view experience will see their number of videos automatically scaled down to 4. Limiting the number of videos they see gives them the most fluid experience for their situation.

Just like for moderators, when participants enter a room, the default view is the usual speaker view with 1 big video along the top and small videos underneath. If participants want to use gallery view, they can pick the view in the top right corner.

More on gallery view for participants

When gallery view is available for participants at the institution level, a new option appears for moderators that allows them to decide to limit the number of videos that participants see to 4, in order to limit distractions, while moderators continue to see all available videos.

More on the Gallery view permission settings

New Features

User experience improvements based on user feedback

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.14 | Release to Production: 12 August 2021
New features

  • Invitation emails included the default teleconference number for the data center. Now, if an institution asks for a country specific number to be displayed in their Collaborate sessions the same number appears in the invitation email.

    More information about default and country specific numbers

  • Occasionally when the speaker was having network issue, the network indicator was shown as red for all attendees to reflect that their experience was being impacted. However, this led users misunderstanding and concluding that Collaborate was having a large scale issue for all users. We've changed this to avoid confusion. The network indicator now shows as red only for the specific person impacted.
Updated Features

Choose your preferred language

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.14 | Release to Production: 12 August 2021
New features

Up until now, Collaborate used the default language set in your browser, which may not be your preferred language. Now you can choose any language supported by Collaborate as your default language during a session in Session Settings. Your selection is then remembered by this browser on this device for your next sessions.

In My Settings under Sessions Settings is a Default Language menu

In order to improve security and in support of this release, Blackboard will implement product changes that will strengthen security of Collaborate integrations. This change will roll out as part of the release automatically within the scheduled release window.

New Features

Gallery view dynamic adjustment

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.12 | Release to Production 8 July 2021
Updated features

Streaming videos can demand a lot from your network connection or device, especially with a high number of videos such as the 25 at once that gallery view now supports. Collaborate will now monitor your experience and when the load is too much will automatically reduce the number of videos to 4, to improve your experience. When it does, it will show you a notification in the banner at the top of your screen.

You can also turn the full gallery view off yourself to limit to 4 videos, if you want. Go to My Settings, open the Audio and Video Settings, and uncheck the Auto (recommended) check box under Video Quality Experience. To turn Gallery view back, on check the Auto (recommended) check box any time you want.

Collaborate session open. Alert banner at the top of the screen and the Auto (recommended) option in My Settings are highlighted.
Updated Features

Announcing the roll out plan for the new whiteboard

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.12 & 21.14 | Release to Production: Roll out calendar below
New features

Roll out plan and resources

An updated release plan is in the latest release note for Collaborate 21.14.

We're sharing the roll out plan for our clients in advance to give them time for change management ahead of the release of the feature.

The new whiteboard will be released to each hosting region separately, and gradually over a period of several days for each region.

  • Asia Pacific: gradual roll out between the 21.12 release on July 8, 2021 and July 17, 2021
  • Canada: gradual roll out between July 26, 2021 and July 30, 2021
  • Europe and US: gradual roll out between the 21.14 release on August 12, 2021 and August 19, 2021

For release dates, consult the release calendar. For exact timing, refer to the release article published on Behind the Blackboard two weeks before the release.

The documentation of the new whiteboard has been published in advance:

Benefits of the new whiteboard

With the new whiteboard all attendees can enjoy better formatting, usability, and annotation persistence. 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. You can bring a breakout group's own annotated file into the main room together with its annotations.

    More on sharing files with breakout groups

  • 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.

The new whiteboard doesn't include a pointer, but you can easily draw your own (arrow, dot) and move it around easily.

Draw an arrow on the whiteboard to use as a pointer. Select the arrow to move it where you want to highlight.
New Features

User experience improvements

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.12 | Release to Production 8 July 2021
Updated features

Based on feedback, we made a couple improvements to Collaborate.

  • In the recordings interface, previously the "date" was indicating the end date and time. We've changed this to have it indicate the start date and time of the recording. The interface also include the duration.
  • We have removed some ambiguous emojis from the emoji picker in chat.
Updated Features

Expanding the availability Gallery view for participants

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.10 | Release to Production 12-18 June 2021
New features

While all institutions are using Gallery view for moderators, we're continuing to roll out of this feature to participants. As we do this we'll monitor the experience and scaling to ensure the best experience for everyone.

We increased the number of institutions with gallery view for participants during the May release. Now we're activating it for all institutions located in Canada, USA, Europe, Middle East, and Africa and Asia Pacific regions.

We're working closely with several institutions in the LAC region (Latin America and the Caribbean) to validate the experience and performance in their regional context before rolling out to more institutions there.

Activation of the feature will happen gradually for institutions between the 12th and the 18th of June. Users who have devices, performance, or networks that can't support a good gallery view experience will see their number of videos automatically scaled down to 4. Limiting the number of videos they see gives them the most fluid experience for their situation.

Just like for moderators, when participants enter a room, the default view is the usual speaker view with 1 big video along the top and small videos underneath. If participants want to use gallery view, they can pick the view in the top right corner.

More on gallery view for participants

When gallery view is available for participants at the institution level, a new option appears for moderators that allows them to decide to limit the number of videos that participants see to 4, in order to limit distractions, while moderators continue to see all available videos.

More on the Gallery view permission settings

New Features

Camera as content on mobile devices

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.10 | Release to Production 10 June 2021
New features

Now moderators can share a camera on their mobile device as content on the screen. When attendees share their video using using the main tools along the bottom of the screen, their front facing camera is used. This ability to share the camera as content on a mobile device means that moderators can now choose to use their back or rear facing camera as well.

Only one camera can be shared at a time from a mobile device. Any video already shared will end to show the video from the new camera.

New Features, Mobile

Collaborate improvements in our mobile apps

Blackboard Instructor 4.4 and Blackboard app 6.4 | Release to Production 26 May 2021
New features

The functionalities of this release are only available for Ultra courses and requires minimum Learn version 3900.12.0.

With the latest Blackboard app and Blackboard Instructor releases students and instructors can now access recordings and be reminded when sessions are live.

Instructors can now also manage their sessions from the Blackboard Instructor app.

New Features

Pin videos to the top

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.08 | Release to Production 13 May 2021
New features

We know it's important for you to choose who you want to focus on in a session. Instructors may want to keep a close eye on students who are struggling with the course. Students may want to follow a sign language interpreter, stay focused on the instructor, or see their study buddies. Now with Gallery view, attendees can pin videos so they are always in view.

When you pin a video, it moves the video to the top of the list and pins, or anchors, it there. It doesn't change the number of videos you see, just the order you see them in.

Only moderators can see more than 4 videos at a time. We'll expand availability of all videos to participants in the future through gradual roll out.

Use the Attendee controls in the Attendees list or in the lower right corner of a video to pin and unpin videos. Jump to Pin videos to learn more.

New Features

Action Required: Switch to CloudFlare CDN for Collaborate recording streaming

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra | Release to Production 21 April 2021 for AU hosted clients, 4 May 2021 for CA, EU, & US hosted clients
Updated features

Network administrators will need to ALLOW *.collab.cloudflare.blackboardcdn.com prior to the dates listed above in order for recordings to stream properly.

Blackboard Collaborate will be switching to CloudFlare CDN (content delivery network) for streaming recordings.

This information is necessary if you have designed your network in such a way that specific traffic can be blocked, prioritized or made available through proxy. In such cases, network administrators will need to ALLOW *.collab.cloudflare.blackboardcdn.com prior to the dates listed above in order for recordings to stream properly.

We recommend that clients continue to allow *.cloudfront.net in the event that it is necessary to roll back to the current CDN, CloudFront.

Please visit the Ultra Experience - Collaborate with the Ultra Experience Networking Information article on Behind the Blackboard for full details about network requirements and dates.

Updated Features

See more students with Gallery view

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.06 | Release to Production 8 April 2021
New features

Gallery view isn't available in Safari® on iOS or iPadOS at this time.

Built for education, we understand that instructors want to be able to see their students' faces clearly. Body language and facial expressions help instructors tell if their students are paying attention and understanding the material. For this reason, moderators can see up to 25 videos at a time in Gallery view. This is the ideal maximum number of videos to show at one time and still see enough detail for the non-verbal feedback instructors are looking for. With the zoom controls, Tiled view, and Speaker view moderators have even greater control over how they want to see their students.

The number of videos you see depends on the size of your screen and if you have the Session menu or Collaborate panel open. Limitations on the number of videos imposed by browser support or large sessions (250+) setting remain. Firefox® only shows 2 videos at a time.

The Gallery view zoom controls give you the ability to zoom in on fewer videos at a time, making each video larger. While the Tiled and Speaker views emphasize who is speaking. These views show up to 4 videos with one video larger than the others. This larger video shows who is speaking so you can see them more clearly. As the discussion unfolds, the larger video changes to match the active speaker.

In Gallery view moderators can use the previous and next buttons to see all of their students. Moderators can also point to an attendee video and select the Attendee Controls to send them a private chat, promote a participant, mute the attendee, or remove the person from the session.

In this first release, you share content, you can switch between all videos and the content in the bottom right corner. In a further release you'll be able to see videos and content side by side and this workflow will likely change a bit.

While Gallery view is made available only to moderators in this first release, we're going to expand availability to students as soon as scalability monitoring allows. Making it available to students won't require downtime so this may be made available outside of the monthly release schedule.

More on Gallery view

Gallery view

Speaker view

Tiled view

Watch a video introduction of Gallery view

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.


Video: Gallery View in Blackboard Collaborate introduces Collaborate's Gallery view.

New Features

User experience improvements

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.06 | Release to Production 8 April 2021
Updated features

Based on instructor feedback, we made a couple improvements to Collaborate.

  • We made the the whiteboard editing tools easier to see.
  • We also updated the Clear whiteboard tool. Clear is now a trash can to better represent that the tool clears the entire whiteboard and not just a selected element.

    To delete just one thing off the whiteboard, select the item and press Delete on your keyboard.

  • We moved the Remove attendee option so it is now the last option in the Attendee controls menu. The option is now also red to make it easier to see. We made these changes so that moderators don't accidentally remove people from a session when trying to mute them.
Updated Features

Collaborate Support chatbot available in more places

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.04 | Release to Production 11 March 2021
New features

Now, attendees have more access to immediate support when they need it. The Collaborate Support chatbot, released in January in sessions, is now also available on some error pages, as well as on the Report an Issue panel.

New Features

Always have access to previous institution reports

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.04 | Release to Production 11 March 2021
New features

Now, managers have access to institution reports previously generated. Managers can download existing reports or generate new ones. If the report includes a lot of data, it may take some time to generate. Managers can leave the panel while the report generates and go back later to download it.

New Features

Sessions that run for very long are automatically disconnected

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.04 | Release to Production 11 March 2021
New features

Based on user feedback, we've changed the time from 8h (previously announced) to 12h. In future releases, we'll be looking at providing a shorter duration with an option to extend the length while in the session. Learn more on the Community site.

By default, sessions that last longer than 12 hours are disconnected. While sessions can be scheduled for any length of time including no end date, it's unusual that anyone stays in the session for more than 12 hours at a time. We assume it is unintended and disconnect the room. Attendees can rejoin the session, if they need.

New Features

Maintenance release

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 21.02 | Release to Production 25 February 2021
Updated features

The release of Collaborate Ultra version 21.02 has been rescheduled for all regions on Thursday, February 25, 2021. For more details visit, the Collaborate Ultra Version 21.02 release article.

The Collaborate team has been actively working and focusing on new big features so we can release them as soon as possible. Much of this work is behind the scenes and not visible for end users yet. The Collaborate 21.02 release is considered a maintenance release for this reason. A lot of work has been done to improve stability and current experience. You can view maintenance items on Behind the Blackboard on February 25.

Based on user feedback, we improved further the privacy status of recordings to add clarity for non public recordings. Now, you can tell at-a-glance if the recording is available to the public or to course members only.

Updated Features

Support chatbot available in the session

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.24 | Release to Production 14 January 2021
New features

We're excited to introduce our new Chat Support feature. Now, attendees can get support troubleshooting common issues while still in their session. With the new access to support, attendees can troubleshoot first and contact their institution administrator for support after, if they still need. You can find the new Chat Support feature at the end of the My Settings panel.

New Features

Recording privacy status more visible

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.24 | Release to Production 14 January 2021
New features, Updated features

Now moderators and session owners know at-a-glance if a recording is locked or public. Locked means only course members can view the video. Anyone not enrolled in a course can't view the video even with a link. Public means anyone with a link can view the recording. You can change the recording sharing privacy in the Recording settings.

Updated Features, New Features

Large sessions support for 1000 attendees (postponed)

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra | Postponed from December release

We're having to postpone the release of this feature that was targeted for December, to address performance concerns in particular use cases. We're working to fix this and release the extension to 1000 users as soon as we can, and will update this release note accordingly. Improvements to the participant list's performance, rolled out in the December release, will remain available for all, but the attendee limit for large sessions will remain at 500 for now.

New Features

Chat mentions and formatting

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.22 | Release to Production 10 December 2020
New features

Interactions with peers and instructors can lead to greater student success. It's important for students to be able to engage socially and collaboratively. With this in mind, we are excited to introduce two new features added to Collaborate's chat.

  • Chat mentions
  • Message formatting

Chat mentions

Now attendees can tag someone in Chat when they mention them. Anyone tagged is notified so they don't miss it. Type the at (@) symbol and start typing who in the session you want to tag. Select the name when it appears in the list. Moderators are identified with a MOD label so they are easy to find.

Attendees can turn off chat mention notifications in their personal notification settings.

Message formatting

We've updated the Rich Text Editor (RTE) in the Chat panel. Now attendees can format their messages to really get their point across.

New Features

Recording storage information in the Recording report

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.22 | Release to Production 10 December 2020
New features

Find out the storage space used by each recording at your institution. There is now a storage usage column in the Recording report that shows the size for each recording in GB.

The Recording report is a manager level report.

New Features
Updated Features

Update

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.18 | Release to Production 30 October 2020
Updated features

We've applied an update to Collaborate. Based on your feedback, we’ve made changes to the library of words removed by the profanity filter in English, Spanish, and French.

This feature primarily filters out some of the most commonly used offensive terms relating to race/national origin and gender identity/expression, as well as derogatory slang for body parts or sexual acts. It is in English, French, and Spanish. It is primarily intended for use by K12 schools.  The default is that this feature is disabled. We understand that, by its nature, no such list will be complete and is likely to be over- or under-inclusive.

Changes in profanity filter settings will apply for new sessions and subsequent session recordings. Reloading the current session is not sufficient.

Learn how to enable and disable the chat profanity filter

Updated Features

Performance improvement maintenance window

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra | Release to Production 5/6 November 2020
Updated features

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.

Visit Behind the Blackboard for the schedule and more details

Updated Features

Recording processing status

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.18 | Release to Production 8 October 2020
New features

Collaborate now shows the status of recording processing. You can see if a recording is still processing or ready to watch from the Recordings page in the Scheduler.

New Features

Bulk invite attendees

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.16 | Release to Production 10 September 2020
New features

In this Collaborate release, session owners can save time and invite more than one attendee to a session at once. From the Invitations panel, select Import Attendees to upload a CSV file with attendee information. Collaborate sends invite emails to the attendees with all the information they need to join.

New Features

Beta release of the new whiteboard

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra | Release to Production BETA 10 September 2020. Non Beta target to be confirmed
New features

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.

    More on sharing files with breakout groups.

  • 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.

More on the new annotation tools

Watch a video about the benefits of the new whiteboard on YouTube

New Features, Updated Features

Recording reminder

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.16 | Release to Production 10 September 2020
New features

Now Collaborate reminds moderators to start recording the session before they begin. As soon as moderators join the session, Collaborate presents a recording reminder. The reminder is visible until the moderator starts the recording or closes the reminder.

New Features

Secure recording links

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.16 | Release to Production 10 September 2020
New features

Secure recordings will only be available for clients with Collaborate Scheduler and Blackboard Learn clients using the Collaborate Ultra Building Block and LTI integration.

As part of our commitment to security and privacy, we want to give instructors more control over their recordings. Public access to recordings is now off by default for new sessions. Only session owners and students enrolled in the course can see the recording. Any links shared to the recording will no longer work when the recording is secure. When public access is off, the recording is secure.

Instructors can choose to allow public access in the Recording Settings.  When the Public access check box is selected, a shareable link to the recording is available. Anybody with the link can view the recording while public access is allowed. If the instructor clears the Public access check box later, the shareable link stops working.

If you want the default changed to public access always on, submit a request on Behind the Blackboard. Instructors can choose to turn public access off in the recording settings.

Only recordings made after the 20.13 release have public access turned off by default. All previous recordings have public access on by default. You can change the access for earlier recordings in the recording settings.

New Features

Chat profanity filter

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.14 | Release to Production 6 August 2020
New features

We are excited to announce the new profanity filter for English and Spanish terms. Now, if someone uses inappropriate words in the chat those words are filtered out. The words are replaced with a series of stars.

This feature primarily filters out some of the most commonly used offensive terms relating to race/national origin and gender identity/expression, as well as derogatory slang for body parts or sexual acts.  It is in English, French, and Spanish.  It is primarily intended for use by K12 schools.  The default is that this feature is disabled.  We understand that, by its nature, no such list will be complete and is likely to be over- or under-inclusive.

The chat profanity filter is off by default. Moderators can turn it on in Session Settings.

  1. Select the checkbox next to Hide profanity in chat messages
  2. End the current session
  3. Start a new session to apply the changed setting. Changes will also apply to subsequent session recordings.

    Reloading the session is not sufficient.

Learn more about the chat profanity filter

New Features
Updated Features

Session owners and admins can always download recordings

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.09 | Release to Production 13 June 2020
New features

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.

More on session recording settings

Updated Features

Share camera

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.09 | Release to Production 13 June 2020
New features

Collaborate 20.02, 20.04, 20.06, and 20.08 releases included in this 20.09 release.

The Share camera option gives you the ability to share more than one camera. Share your video and share another camera connected to your computer. Students can see you and anything else you want to show. You're only limited by the number of cameras and USB ports in your computer.

The video will appear backwards to you in the preview. This is normal. Your video will appear correctly to others in the session and in recordings. The video won't appear backwards to other attendees or in recordings. Video is only mirrored in the preview window.

New Features

Improved the create and edit session functionality

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.09 | Release to Production 13 June 2020
New features

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.

Updated Features

Download poll results report

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.09 | Release to Production 13 June 2020
New features

Collaborate 20.02, 20.04, 20.06, and 20.08 releases included in this 20.09 release.

Now moderators, instructors, and administrators can download a session's Poll report. This report includes the poll question and how each attendee responded.

New Features

Whiteboard updates

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra 20.09 | Release to Production 13 June 2020
Updated features

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.

Updated Features

Collaborate sessions secure by default

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra | Release to Production 14 May 2020
Updated features

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.

Updated Features

Webinar mode

Continuous Delivery Collaborate Ultra | Release to Production 15 April 2020
New features

Webinar mode is not available for our clients on the Moderator Access (Classroom) license. It is available for clients on our Department and Enterprise licenses. For questions about your license or to upgrade, please contact your Blackboard Account Executive.

We are excited to announce that administrators can now create large sessions that support up to 500 attendees. You no longer need to submit a large session request. Change any session to webinar mode in the Session Settings.

If you don't see the option in Session Settings, submit a request to enable it on Behind the Blackboard.

More on Collaborate's webinar mode

New Features

A special note from Product Management

COVID-19

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.

Updated Features

Maintenance release

Continuous Delivery Collaborate 19.24 | Release to Production 13 February 2020
Updated features

The Collaborate February release is a maintenance release. You can view maintenance items on Behind the Blackboard on February 13.

Updated Features

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