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Some Features Disabled in Collaborate Ultra (March 2020)

Due to the high demand for webconferencing, Blackboard has disabled some of the features in Collaborate Ultra to help minimize required bandwidth. The full list of disabled features can be found in this PDF document. Features that will be disabled include:

  • Timer (a countdown timer that helps with classroom time management)
  • Chat typing indicator (a visual indicator that someone is typing but have not yet completed their thought. The chat feature itself will still be available.)
  • Netstats indicator (a visual indicator of connection quality next to each user)
  • Reducing the number of video thumbnails from 4 to 2 (this is the maximum number of thumbnails visible in the grid view

Collaborate Ultra

Collaborate Ultra is a Webconference tool which is built in to your Blackboard course site, similar to Collaborate "Classic," also referred to as Webmeeting. (Collaborate Classic will be discontinued at the end of 2020 and will no longer appear as a default option in course site menus beginning Summer 2020.) With Collaborate Ultra, you can hold synchronous class sessions with your students, as well as pre-record lectures to post on your course site for students to view asynchronously. Collaborate Ultra is the TLTR-recommended web conferencing tool for synchronous class sessions.

Share Video over Collaborate Ultra

If you are sharing video synchronously over Collaborate Ultra and you want the best sound quality for your students, use the Chrome browser and follow these steps:

  1. Open the Collaborate panel and select the Share Content tab.
  2. Select Share Application/Screen.
  3. Select the Chrome Tab option (or select Entire Screen on a PC).
  4. Select the Share audio check box.
  5. Choose the tab you want to share from the list.
  6. Select Share.

Help for Collaborate Ultra

Comparison of Collaborate Ultra to Collaborate Classic

Collaborate Ultra has been rebuilt from scratch and works entirely within the browser.  Some features are improved from Collaborate Classic and some are not as fully developed. 

Some comparisons:

  • Refresh rate: Ultra has a much higher refresh rate (number of times per second it redraws the screen).  This results in much smooter video and screen sharing but potentially could cause problems for students with low bandwidth.
  • Application sharing: Ultra allows you to share your screen or an application but does not allow you to turn over control of the application to a student.
  • Whiteboards: These are more limited in Ultra - you only have one whiteboard at a time and its content does not persist. That is, if you switch to another mode and come back the whiteboard is blank again. There is no way to print or save whiteboards except with by taking a screen shot or right-click and save image.
  • PowerPoint: As with Classic you can load and show PowerPoint or images (and now PDF as well) and can mark or draw on them.  The markup does not persist (you can't leave a slide and come back without the markup disappearing) and you can't print the marked up slides.
  • Breakout Rooms: Breakout rooms are more limited - content cannot be saved or moved to the main room (except by being in the room, taking a screenshot, saving to your computer, then reloading in the main room).
  • Chat and Participant List: these are contained within the browser window.  They CAN be viewed at the same time by detaching the Participant list, although this menu is hard to find! It is hard to view either while screen sharing unless you have two monitors.
  • Recordings: As with classic you can record sessions and convert recordings to mp4 movies. Unlike Classic a separate recording is created each time you start or stop during a session.

For more details about the comparison see: Collaborate Ultra Compared to Collaborate Classic (pdf)


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