Blackboard Collaborate has been updated to Collaborate Ultra! For the faculty using the classic version now, this will mean some changes but should not negatively affect how Collaborate is being used in your classes. Some of the major improvements include the ability to join sessions quickly (without downloading Java), an updated modern aesthetic, and an easy-to-use interface that allows instructors to focus on teaching.
The chart below helps to layout some of the changes and restrictions with the main features of Collaborate:
|Application Sharing||Changed: Application sharing is noticeably faster and easier to use. Application sharing uses the new WebRTC standard giving a high definition experience with superior image quality. To learn more from the moderator’s perspective, see Share Content for Moderators.Restriction: Application sharing requires an extension on Google ChromeTM.|
|Audio and Video||Changed: The Ultra experience uses the new WebRTC standard giving a high definition experience with superior image and sound quality for users with Google Chrome. Browsers that do not yet support WebRTC will receive audio, video and application sharing using a Flash plugin.|
|Breakout Rooms||Not Available Yet|
|Chat||Unchanged: Users can still chat during a session. Moderators may disable chat in their session.Restriction: Private chat is only available for moderators.|
|File Sharing||Changed: Like application sharing, file sharing is faster and easier to use. Uploaded files are accessible during the specific session they are uploaded to.Restriction: Users can upload PPT, PPTX, PDF, and most image files at this time.|
|First Time Connection Walkthrough||New: Users are presented with a choice to switch to the Ultra experience.|
|Live Closed Captioning||New: Sessions can now include live closed captioning. Moderators must make participants captioners. Captioners type what is being said during a session. Other participants can view what is being typed in real time. You can have multiple captioners for multiple languages.|
|Plan||Not Available Yet|
|Recording||Changed: Moderators can record their sessions and share them. The recordings are saved as MP4 files. Users can stream or download them to view them.|
|Navigation||Changed: Navigation in Collaborate with the Ultra experience is simple and intuitive. Everything users need is available exactly when they need it. The interface dynamically adapts to all activity in the session, putting the focus on who is speaking and any content that is being shared.|
|Polling||Not Available Yet|
|Profiles||Changed: Users will have access to simple profiles with their names and the ability to add profile pictures.|
|Timer||Not Available Yet|
|Whiteboard||Changed: Users have access to a basic whiteboard, which includes basic annotation and text entry tools for making edits.|
|Moderator||Unchanged: Moderators continue to have the same privileges in their sessions.|
|Presenter||New: Presenter is a new role created to allow students to present content without giving them full moderator privileges.|
|Participant||Unchanged: Participants continue to have the same privileges in sessions they attend.|
|Captioner||New: This new role is designed to provide an accessible learning experience for students who are deaf or heard of hearing, as well as for students whose native language is different from the moderator’s.|
|Accessibility||Changed: Some of the accessibility features include full-screen reader support of all key workflows, whiteboard activities, and uploaded files. Global keyboard shortcuts for common actions are also supported.The Ultra experience now provides live closed captioning. This provides an accessible learning experience for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as for students whose native language is different from the moderator’s.|
|API Framework||Changed: Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra experience uses REST APIs for custom LMS integrations.The public Collaborate APIs have been updated to include scheduling session, requesting session links, and attendance. Please contact Blackboard Services for more information.|
|Bandwidth Efficiency||Changed: The Ultra experience uses WebRTC encoding.|
|Deployment||Unchanged: Collaborate is a SaaS deployment.|
|Downloads||Changed: The Ultra experience is entirely browser-based. No downloads or installs are required.|
|Localization||Unchanged: Collaborate continues to be localized.|
|Integrations||Changed: The Ultra experience is available through the following means.
The public Collaborate APIs have been updated to include scheduling session, requesting session links, and attendance. Please contact Blackboard Services for more information.
|Mobile||Changed: Browsers on mobile devices are not supported at this time. Students can use Bb Student to join sessions.|
|Telephony||Changed: With Integrated Telephony, you don’t need your own teleconference provider. The teleconference service is provided by Blackboard Collaborate. Teleconference phone numbers and PINs are automatically generated during session creation. Anyone can dial into the session and initiate the connection between the session and the teleconference bridge.
We supply a Virginia-US number for U.S. and Canada, a UK number for Europe, and a Sydney number for Australia. Long distance and international calling charges may apply.