Getting started with a Virtual Classroom

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

It’s now easier than ever to lead virtual classes, office hours, tutoring and mentoring sessions, departmental meetings, tutorial space, student discussions, informal chat, seminars, private or public webinars, and more.

How to locate your virtual classroom on Blackboard

To access Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, go to the course on Blackboard you want to use.

 On the main menu, select Virtual Classroom

We recommend that you use Google ChromeTM or Firefox® (versions 49+) for the best experience. Collaborate Ultra works in most web browsers, but the best experience and full functionality use either of the above.

To instantly begin using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, select Join Room to join the dedicated room set up in every Blackboard course.

Collaborate Ultra opens right in your browser, so you don’t have to install any software to join a session.

Audio and Video Set up

You must give the browser permission to use audio and video so that you are seen and heard when you participate in a session. You’ll be asked to do this when you first join a session or when you first go to share your audio or video. A wizard will launch to guide you through the steps, although you can access these settings at any stage within the application.

Select Set Up Your Camera and Microphone. (Note: You can also use your phone for audio, although this may incur charges on your phone is not the typical option selected)

Choose the microphone you want to use. Collaborate tells you that you sound great when it is receiving your audio. Select Yes, it’s working to proceed.

Choose the camera you want to use. Collaborate tells you that you look great when it is receiving your video. Select Yes, it’s working to proceed.

By default, you are hidden and muted after you complete the setup. Select the microphone and camera icons to begin full meeting participation.

Finding your way around the meeting interface

The Collaborate Ultra meeting interface is organised into three areas: a Media space, the Session menu, and a Collaborate panel.

1. Media Space

The Media space is where the content of the session is displayed. The content you share is automatically the main focus of your screen – either you, or your slides.

For example, you may be sharing a PowerPoint or PDF file and this will display in the main media space. Or you may simply be using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to speak face to face. In this instance, the speaker will appear, along with other participants.

You have access to share your audio and video from the icons on the bottom of the Media Space interface. Look for the following icons to adjust:

Audio and video: Click Share Audio and Share Video icons to turn those tools on or off. If you use your keyboard to navigate, press Alt + M to turn your microphone on and off. Press Alt + C for your camera.

Hand raise: Raise your hand to answer a question or get another moderator's attention. Click Raise Hand. If you use your keyboard to navigate, press Alt + H.

My Settings: If you click on your avatar, you can also quickly access and adjust your audio or video settings at any time.

2. Session Menu

The Session menu opens a collection of high level session actions and information. Open it using the Session menu button at the top left of the screen. Tools and features you use only once or twice a session are grouped here, including:

Record sessions: Click Start Recording. When completed recordings can be accessed, on your Blackboard course, under the Virtual Classroom link (look for the menu icon).

Report an Issue: If you experience any problems during your session, you can report this directly to Blackboard.

3. Collaborate Panel

The Collaborate panel takes your session experience to the next level. Here you can engage other participants with all the great collaboration tools. You will need to click to open it.

The main collaboration tools include the following:

Chat: Chat with participants. Click Open Chat.

Participants panel: View the list of participants. Click Open Participants List. You can also check the strength of their network connection during a session by looking here.

Share Content: You can share a blank whiteboard, an application, PDFs, PowerPoint® presentations, and images. Click Share Content.

Session Settings: Decide what you and others can do in your session.


Further information