Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is Blackboards’ video conferencing solution / webinar tool.  Take a look at our resource on What is A webinar?

Collaborate Ultra is web conferencing software specifically aimed at education. It enables lecturers to deliver a lesson online to students in remote locations in much the same was as they would in live classroom. Students can take part in the lesion from a PC, laptop or mobile device. Collaborate Ultra also has the ability to record a session for students to review later.

Collaborate Ultra will work with the most up to date versions of Edge, Safari, and FireFox, but for the best experience use Google Chrome. It no longer works in Internet Explorer or the old version Edge. It is also available for mobile devices. For more info about using Collaborate on a mobile device go to the Collaborate Ultra Mobile help page

NOTE – Please refer to our tips and techniques on how to run a successful webinar. 

Here are some short videos on using Collaborate


For further information click to expand the links below:


Scheduling a room

When scheduling rooms you have two options.

  1. Give student access to the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra page. This means your students will have access to all the rooms and all the recordings. You won’t be able to restrict access for anybody on the module to any of the rooms or recordings. This option doesn’t work directly from the BBstudent mobile app, but it can prevent anonymous entry to the rooms. This option is setup by default in the blackboard template
  2. You don’t give student access to the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra page. Instead you create individual web links to each room and recording and place those link in an appropriate place in your module. You can then restrict when and who can access rooms and recordings. This option will work on the BBstudent mobile app, but you can’t restrict anonymous entry to the rooms.

If you choose option 1 you can still create link to rooms and recording but if you use a link to a room you can’t restrict anonymous entry.

Each module has one “Course Room” by default (This should probably be called a module room). You can get to the room by clicking on module Tools to open the Module tools menu.

Then click on “Blackboard Collaborate Ultra” to open you Collaborate Ultra Page.Collaborate scheduling page

To join the default room click on circle with three dots to open the menu then click the “Join room” button.

To create a new room which you may want to do if you are using a rooms for a different purpose like private tutoring, Open webinar, or group rooms. Click on the “Create Session” button. A right menu will appear. First enter the event details.

Enter a name for the Room / Session.

Enter start and end date for the session to be available.

If the session has no end date click on the “No End” option.

If you want the session to be repeated. Click on the repeat option and the repeat section will open.

Chose Daily, Weekly or monthly.

Choose which days you want the session to be available.

Choose either the number of occurrences or an end date

If you want to allow early access to the room choose how long before the session people can enter.

Optionally add a description for the room

After entering the event details you can also set the session setting (See below).

When you are happy with the event details and the session setting click “Save”. The session will now appear in a list. If you chose to repeat the session mutual session will appear on the list.

Session Settings

Session setting can be set for scheduled rooms or for the course room.

To access the session setting for the course room or a schedules session click on the session options button Right in the list and choose “Edit Settings” for a single occurrence or “Edit Recurring Session” for Recurring Session. Alternatively you can set the session setting when you create the session.

The Guest access section only becomes available after a session has been Named. It isn’t there until you enter a session name. By default it is turned on.

Turn on Guest access for open webinars if you are not going to give students access to the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra scheduling page. Anybody accessing a session through a guest link will be asked to enter a name on entering the room. This means you only have their word they are who they say they are.

Turn off the guest link for private tutoring session where students are accessing the room through Blackboard Collaborate ultra page using a web browser.

Guest Role sets role for all guests.

Participant gives guests the rights you set below

Presenter give guests the right to upload content and control the main screen.

Moderator gives guests the same rights as the tutor

Guest link is a web URL that can be copied and either places in a web link in blackboard or emailed to a guest.

Default Participant Role sets role for all students logging in through the collaborate ultra page.

Participant gives students the rights you set below

Presenter give students the right to upload content and control the main screen.

Moderator gives students the same rights as the tutor

For a group room you give the guests / students moderator access, for a webinar you give them participant access. For a classroom session you can choose which level of access to give them.

As a moderator you can change individuals’ permissions during a session.

Allow recording downloads makes a down load button available on the recording. If you want a recording to be downloadable you have to choose this option before you make the recording. You can’t change this setting on the recording afterwards.

Anonymise chat messages remove the names of the users in the chat window in the recording. You may want to do this if you are recording a webinar for data protection reasons.

Only show profile pictures for Moderators removed the profile picture of participants. You may want to do this to stop student uploading inappropriate messages.

Share their Audio and Share their Video allows student to speak and be seen in a session. You would use these option for a collaborative session but not for a webinar with a large number of participants. If you don’t use these option you can still invite people to speak by changing their permissions during a session.

Post Chat Messages allows participants to post to the chat window. You would want this on in most cases the only exception would be for a large webinar where you weren’t inviting audience participation.

Draw on whiteboard and files gives students access to the drawing tools. You wouldn’t use this for a large webinar. It’s up to you if you want to use this for other sessions. If you don’t use these option you can still invite people to draw by changing their permissions during a session.

Collaborate Phone access

Enable Session Telephony It is highly recommended that you disable telephone access as it is a Canadian phone number and students accessing session through this could soon find themselves with a large bill.  

Private Chat can be enabled and as a moderator you can chose if you want access to the private chat channels.   

Locking the course room

To lock a course room preventing student access, click on the round course room options button and choose “Lock Course Room” This will make the course room unavailable to everybody. You will see the Room logo now says locked.

Course room locked

To unlock the room just click on the course room options button again and choose “Unlock Course Room”

Create Web links to Rooms

First you need to get the link to the room. If you are scheduling a new room/session the link won’t become available until after you save the session. You can only get the link if the course room or scheduled session has guest access enabled.

Get the link

If you want the link for the course room click on the room course room options button Top center and choose “Copy guest link”.

If you want the link for a scheduled session click on the session options button Right in the list and choose “Copy guest link”.

In both cases a link will appear. This will automatically copy the link to your clip board.  If it doesn’t copy the link to your clip board then right clicking on the link and chose Copy from the pop up menu.

This link can be added to a blackboard content area or emailed to someone.

Adding a link to the content area

Go to the content area where you want to add the link, hover over build content and click on add web link.

Enter a name for the web link usually the room name.

Paste the link into the URL box.

You can add a description if you like and set the usual blackboard item options.

Then click Submit.

The link to your Collaborate Room will appear at the bottom of the content area.

Giving Students access to the Collaborate recording

If you have given student access to the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra page, they will already have access to all the recordings so long as they are not using the Blackboard student mobile app.

If you or the students click on the burger menu button     top left of the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra page, the left menu will appear.

Click on recording to see the list of recording of all the recordings for that module.

If you haven’t given student access to the Blackboard collaborate ultra page, you will need to create individual links for each recording. Go to the Recording page using the instructions above.

You can filter the recording by a date range by clicking on the dropdown arrow and entering dates.

To get the link for a recorded session by clicking on the recording options button Right in the list and choose “Copy link”.

A link will appear.  This will automatically copy the link to your clip board.  If it doesn’t copy the link to your clip board then right clicking on the link and chose Copy from the pop up menu.

This link can be added to a blackboard content area or emailed to someone.

Add this link to a content area in the same way as you would for a room link (See “Add the web link to a content area” above).

Deleting a recording

Go to the recording as described above.

Clicking on the recording options button Right in the list of recording, and choose “Delete”.

Click on the “Yes, Delete it” button to confirm.

Note: you will not be able to recover a deleted recording.

Using Collaborate Ultra

Collaborate User Guide

The above image can be downloaded as a PowerPoint Slide.  Add it to the beginning of your PowerPoint presentation or upload directly to your collaborate room as an intro slide for your first time user students.

Blackboard Collaborate have a good  Ultra User Interface video Tour that’s worth watching. 

For full details about Blackboard Collaborate Ultra try the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra help:

Getting Started guide

When you first enter a room be asked to test your mic and video. 

The interface consists of 4 main areas

  1. The main screen (this contain presenter video or the presentation everybody can see what’s in the main window)
  2. The bottom control bar (this has your video, and mic controls, and raise hand button )
  3. The Right Purple collaborate panel (this has chat, participant, content, and setting)
  4. The Left Black session menu (this has the recording button and access to help)

The Mic and video controls are the most important controls. When you start a session they are both muted.

Click on the mic button at the beginning of a the session to test you mic, the diagonal will disappear indicating you are not muted  If your mic is working the white in the middle of the mic will go up   and down   as you speak.

If you are going to be using your web cam click on the video button. You will get a Video Preview window you can use this to test you video is working. If your computer has two video sources you can choose which one to use from here.

Click on the cancel button if you were just testing the video, or click on the share video button to start sharing.

Click on the purple tab (bottom right) to open the collaborate panel 

At the bottom of the collaborate panel you have the follow five buttons

  1. Chat shows the text chat panel
  2. Participants shows participants panel, a list of participants grouped by permission level
  3. Share Content gives you access to the content options panel
  4. Setting opens the settings panel
  5. Close Collaborate panel button. Minimizes the panel

The most important of these is the Content options panel


When you click on Share Blank Whiteboard the main screen change to the white board.

With the white board you can write and draw just like the whiteboard in a classroom.

The tools are quite basic you have a pointer, pen, shape tool and text. The rubber will remove everything

These drawing tools are also available over PowerPoint slides.

Click the stop button to stop sharing the whiteboard. 

Application sharing

When you click on the application Share Application button.

You get a popup window.

Choose “Entire Screen” if you want to share your desktop. If you have more than one monitor you can choose which monitor you want to share.

Note: if you chose this option make sure you are not showing any sensitive data on any application as it could be being recorded without your knowledge.

Choose “Just an application” this is the more secure option but can be cumbersome if you are swapping between apps.

You will get a window with a list of open application.

Choose the application you want to share and click the Share button.

Note: This is not suitable for sharing full screen video applications as the frame rate is very slow and the audio will not be broadcast.

Note: if you have another application open over the top of the application you are sharing then the hidden area could appear blank to other users. There is also the possibility that the top application could be shown to the users.

Click on the stop button in the top right of the main window to stop sharing. 

Share files

Share files is the most important button in the share content panel.

This is where you upload your presentation. When you open the Share Files panel you get a grey box.

You can upload your content just by dragging your files into this box. Alternatively click on the box to open the files choosing window.

It will only accept PowerPoint, PDFs and standard internet image formats Gif, Jpeg and Png.

When you upload PowerPoint it will take a while to process, a minute or so. It will remove any animation and turn all your slides in to flat images. When it is done select it and click share now, you will then have a list of slides to choose from.

Click on the slide you want to start from and the slide will appear in the main window.

The drawing tools will appear (See the whiteboard section for information about the drawing tools) you can draw over the PowerPoint slides but the drawing is lost if you change slide.

At the bottom you have the navigation buttons to move you through the presentation.

Click on the stop button in the top right of the main window to stop sharing    or chose something else to share.

Note: you can upload multiple files to share.

Note: your files will still be here next time you enter this room.

When you have finished with the Share Files panel Click on the “< Share Files” button to go back to the share content panel.


The Polling button opens the polling panel.

You ask the student a question verbally and ask them to select an answer, you then choose how many options there should be.

The students then chose from the numbered answers.

You see the results.

When the students are done you can share the results by clicking on the show responses button.

Click the end polling button   to stop the pole. This will clear the results and close the window.

When you have finished with the Polling panel Click on the “< Polling” button to go back to the share content panel.

Breakout Groups

Breakout Groups allow you to split your students in to smaller breakout room to collaborate in smaller groups.

You access Breakout Groups from the Shaire Content Tab

You can rename groups by clicking on the group name and editing the name.

You can create as many groups as you like. You create new groups by clicking on the + button

You can allow students to choose which group to join by clicking on the allow participants to switch groups option

Alternatively you can drag and drop students from the main room into the breakout rooms, or assign student to groups randomaly. The changes you make to which rooms the students are in doesn’t take effect until you click on “Start

Once breakout Room are active you can still move students from room to room, you have to click the “Update” Button.  for any changes to take place.

As a tutor you can go into any breakout room by clicking on the join room button

To end all the breakout sessions click on the End breakout Groups button.

When you have finished with the Breakout Groups Click on the “< Breakout Groups” button to go back to the share content panel.

Session Menu

Click on the black tab (top left) to open the Session Menu.  

From the session menu you can start a recording, report an issue and access the help files.

Making a Recording

To start a recording open the session menu   and click on the Start recording button.

While you are recording the session menu tab also shows a recording camera with a red dot.

To finish recording open the session menu and click on the stop recording button.

It may take several hours for recording to be processed and appear in the recordings list in your module.

Accessing and Sharing a Collaborate Recording

To access a collaborate recording, go to the scheduling page.

Link to collaborate

Then click on the burger menu.

sessions/recordings menu

Then Click on recordings

Collaborate burger menu

You will then see a list of recording from the last 30 days. For older recording click on the Recent Recording drop down box and choose Recording in a Range. You can then pick a date range to look for your recording

recording date range

When you have found your recording click on the three dots to access the options.

recording menu

You only get the download option if Download recordings option was chosen in the room settings before the recording was made.

To share the recording, click on Copy Link button to add the URL to the paste buffer and paste the URL into the location where you want to make the recording available form.


Session Reports

This reports on who came, how long for and an average attendance time. A separate report is available for every session, if you use a session more than once.

To see a report, click on the three dots next to the session, then choose View Reports.

Click on View report next to the session you want to see. An overview of all the data is available. You can also export the data to print or CSV for Excel analysis.

More information about reports can be found here.

Adding captions

There are a number of options to help create captions or summarise the key points made in collaborate sessions. You could ask another member of staff to act as a live captioner – where captions will appear over the slides during the session. The recording of the session will also capture these for those who are not able to attend live.

The other option is to download the recording and then upload it into Panopto. You can then edit the video and add automatic captions. · To be able to download the recording you need to change the session settings to enable downloads.

· Download the recording:

o Go to the Blackboard Collaborate area

o Click on the three line menu in the top left

o Click on Recordings

o Next to the recording you want to download click on the 3 dots icon

o Click on Download

o Save this somewhere on your computer

· You will now need to upload this into Panopto

· Once uploaded you can then go in and click to edit the video and you can then add the automatic captions. The document also provides you with guidance on how to edit these captions if they are not accurate.

· Watch back the recording to check the accuracy of the captioning and easily correct obvious errors.

Note that machine-generated captions clearly aren’t the same as human transcription, so they need to be revised and edited to ensure they are 100% accurate.

Also consider that any subject specific technical language or acronyms may not be picked up on the auto generated caption service, so please do check over these areas of the recording to ensure it will be understood by the students.

It is good to provide students with a warning that the captions are automatically generated, so anything that doesn’t make sense they will be more likely to ignore.

Click To learn more about Inclusive use of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Case Studies

Case Studies from the University of Reading

To view a recording of a Collaborate training session click below

DELTA Staff Development Traing room / Collaborate Training Session 29/01/2020