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Large sessions support for 1000 attendees

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

We are very excited to announce that large scale sessions will be able to support 1000 attendees with this release!

You must change a session to webinar mode to support the 1000 attendees. To help manage the increased number of attendees, webinar sessions have these limitations.

  • Webinar sessions can't be longer than 24 hours in length
  • Guests must be assigned the participant role
  • Participant permissions are turned off
  • Breakout groups aren't available

To create a session in webinar mode, go to the Session Settings and select Allow 250+ attendees to join. If you don't see the option in Session Settings, submit a request to enable it on Behind the Blackboard.


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.

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.


Recording storage information in the Recording report

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

Discover which courses are using the most storage with the update to the Recording report. There is now a storage usage column in the report that shows the size for each recording in GB.


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



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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.