Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a virtual classroom system instructors can use to host live chat sessions.

You, your peers and the instructor can interact in these sessions via voice, chat, video and other features such as screen sharing or interactive whiteboard.


Setting Up Your Device

System Requirements

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra runs through the browser on Windows computers, Mac computers and Mobile devices. It is recommended to run Blackboard Collaborate Ultra on a supported browser.

Supported browsers: 

    • Google Chrome 32 bit latest version (recommended for optimal compatibility)
    • Mozilla Firefox 49.0 or later (recommended for optimal compatibility)
    • Safari 10 or later 

Unsupported browsers:

    • Internet Explorer

If you want to access the features such as sharing your voice and video, you will need the following:

    • Voice sharing: The device running Blackboard Collaborate Ultra needs to have a working microphone 
    • Video sharing: The device running Blackboard Collaborate Ultra needs to have a working camera

Providing Permissions

The first time you enter a Collaborate session, you are asked to provide permission to access your microphone and/or camera. You need to allow both Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and if prompted, your browser, to access your microphone and/or camera in order to use the voice chat and video sharing features. 

If you have denied Blackboard Collaborate Ultra access to your microphone or camera, you can enable it by exiting, re-entering the session and selecting allow for the permission prompts.

In case you have permanently blocked Blackboard Collaborate Ultra from accessing your camera/microphone, you can update the permissions in the permissions page of your browser's settings/preferences menu.

Set up Audio and Video

The first time you enter a Collaborate session, you will be prompted to test your audio and video sources. In the Audio Test and Video Test screens you can use the dropdown to select an active microphone or camera and confirm whether it is working.

Alternatively, you can choose to skip your audio and video setup by clicking on the "X" icon towards the top right of the "Video Test" popup.

You can setup your microphone and camera later by clicking on the Collaborate Panel in the bottom right corner of the session screen. 

In the "Settings" tab, there is a "Set up your camera and microphone" option which allows you to change your audio and video sources.

Entering a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Session

  1. Click the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra activity in your course home page.

  1. Select the session that your instructor has set up.

  1. Wait for the session to load, and you will automatically join the session. If it is your first time joining a session, you may need to set up a microphone and/or camera (see "Setting Up Your Computer" section).

Interacting with the Session

Depending on how your instructor set up the session, you can interact by sharing your microphone, camera and writing in the chat room. The instructor can also interact with students by uploading shared content and ask questions via polling. 


Media Space Tools

Collaboration Panel Tools

Media Space Tools

The media space is where your instructor displays session content. There are several tools at the bottom of the screen that you can use:

Note: Some of these tools can be disabled by your instructor

My Status

The Profile menu allows you to:

Share audio

Toggle your microphone on/off.

Share video

Toggle your video on/off.

Raise hand

Raise your hand. This displays a hand raised icon in the participants list and lets others know that you have a question.

Collaboration Panel Tools

Advanced tools are found in the Collaboration Panel, by opening the menu from the bottom-right corner of the screen.



You can use the chat menu to select chat groups and communicate with other participants via text.


You can use the participants screen to view all participants in the session and their current 'raise hands' or 'feedback' status. 

You can leave the participants open as an overlay in 2 ways:

    • Open the Collaborate panel and drag-and-drop the Participants icon to the main stage
    • Open the Collaborate panel and select Participants. Select More options at the top of the panel and select Detach Panel

You can close the panel by selecting Merge panel from the More Options link, or by simply dragging and dropping the Participants panel back to the Collaborate panel.

Share content

You can view all items that have been shared by presenters in the session on the Share content screen.

This includes teaching tools such as:

    • Whiteboard: Your instructor can use a whiteboard to illustrate certain ideas that are discussed
    • Shared Application: Your instructor can share programs running on their computer for you to see.
    • File Sharing: You can see files that your instructor has shared with the session. To share files as a student, your instructor must first change your role to either 'moderator' or 'presenter'.
    • Polling: Your instructor can ask you to provide your input through a poll during the session.

For student to share screens after they have received the Presenter role

  1. Open the “share content” tab from the collaborate panel 
  2. Select “Share Application/Screen”.  You can also choose to share Powerpoint files or PDF using "share files" option. 

  3. Select the Appropriate option and the click “share”

  4. Make sure to press the “Share Audio” option whenever you want to share the audio from a screen. When selected the microphone icon should be highlighted in green to show that it enabled.

  5. To end the screen-sharing, press the small square on the top right-hand corner.

My settings

Change audio/video settings, or notification options. You can adjust volume and microphone/camera device.

Access Session Recordings

Your instructor may choose to record the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra sessions, however recordings are only available after the session is complete.

There are multiple ways to view the content which may differ depending on the way your presenter has set it up.

Viewing through a Sharelink.

Your administrator may choose to provide a share link to the session recording. This link will direct to an in-browser media player where you can view the video. The link might be available on the course page or be sent through as an email.


Accessing recordings online

Students can view/download all their available recordings by navigating through the recordings tab on the Blackboard Collaborate site.

  1. On the home page, select the hamburger menu on the top left.
  2. Select the “Recordings” tab.
  3. In the list of sessions, click on the 3 Ellipses on the right of the recording you want to download/view. If unable to find a recording, please refer to our note on viewing past recordings below.
  4. Select the appropriate option. Not all recordings are available for download. If you would like to download a recording which does not have the option, please contact your session moderator.

Note: By default, the 'Recordings' page only displays recent recordings. To view older recordings, select the 'Filter by' dropdown on the top right of the page and set the resulting date filter to start near or before the start of term.

Breakout Groups

The Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Breakout Groups allow participants to engage in groups separate from the main room. Participants in the group can chat, share files, collaborate on the whiteboard and video call privately from the main group. Note: Breakout group interactions aren't captured in session recordings.

Breakout groups are designed for group collaboration independent from the main group. Participants can privately share files, video call within their own group. Note: Content shared in a breakout group is not available when breakout groups end.

Share Content within your Breakout group

When in a breakout room you can share content with the other participants in the group

  1. Click the Share Content button
  2. Select the type of content you want to share i.e Whiteboard or files
    • Share Blank Whiteboard: Share a whiteboard that can be drawn on
    • Share Application/Screen: Share your device's screen
    • Share Files: Upload a file to share
    • Polling: Create a question for others in the room to answer

3. Confirm by clicking "Share"

Switching Breakout Groups

Instructors can activate a setting which allows participants to manually switch between groups. If this is active, you can switch groups by:

  1. Go to the participants tab
  2. Click the arrow icon next to the group you want to join
  3. Click "Join Group"

Using chat within Breakout Groups

You can choose to chat with the people in your group or to everyone in the session, to do this:

  1. Click the chat bubble icon in the collaboration menu
  2. Select the group you want to chat with

Leaving a session

You can leave a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session by:

  1. Click the "Open Session Menu" icon on the top left
  2. Click "Leave Session"

Note: If you close the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session's tab or window, you will be treated as inactive and soon automatically removed from the room.