Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Quick Start Guide for Instructors

Basic instructions for instructors on how to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

  1. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a full-featured web conferencing tool built into the Blackboard learning management system. 
  2. NOTE: To use Collaborate Ultra effectively you will need a laptop with built-in webcam and microphone or a USB webcam that includes a video camera and microphone that you can use with your computer. If your webcam is video only, you’ll need a USB headset that includes headphones and a microphone. 
  3. NOTE: Use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to log into your Western Blackboard account and open the course where you want to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. 
  4. Once logged in, you can open Blackboard Collaborate Ultra in two ways: 1) Click on Tools > Blackboard Collaborate Ultra or 2) Click on the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra link under Course Tools (instructors only). See illustration below:
Bb Collaborate Ultra in Tools

  1. When you click on the Collaborate Ultra link, you will see a dotted, rotating circle on a black screen while you connect to Collaborate Ultra on Blackboard’s servers.  
  2. The next window that appears (see below) gives you the option to click on the icon which brings up the options for either your Course Room or the Sessions you create. NOTE: The Course Room and Sessions you create are two different things. Make sure you direct your students to the one you will be using so everyone is in the same web conference.
Bb Collaborate Session Screen
  1. You can also create a new session by clicking on the “Create Session” button (highlighted above). There are many options you can configure when you create a new session. These include setting a session start and end time, what default roles those who join the session will have, etc.
  2. As you connect to Collaborate Ultra, there will be a message that you are joining the Course Room.
  3. When you enter the session, you will see the window below. Note the location of the Session Menu Tab, Collaborate Panel Tab, and the buttons to share and mute your Audio and Video.
Collaborate welcome screen
  1. The Collaborate Panel has five areas: Chat, Participants, Share Content, Settings and Close Panel. You can find these options at the bottom of the Collaborate Panel window.
  2. Collaborate panel
  3. By clicking on the Chat button, you open up chat within the Collaborate Panel. You can send chat messages to participants in your session and they can chat with you. NOTE: At the top of the Chat window, there is a drop-down menu that allows you to select if you want to “Chat with: Everyone,” or only with other Moderators.
  4. By clicking on the Participants button, you can see all of the people participating in your Collaborate Ultra session. As the creator of the session, you will be listed as the Moderator. Other participants will be listed below you. NOTE: By clicking on the "circle with three dots inside" icon to the right of a participant’s name, you will see options to make that participant a moderator, a presenter, mute their audio, or remove them from the session.
  5. Share Content graphic
  6. The Share Content button brings up a number of options.
    1. You can Share a Blank Whiteboard and use the whiteboard tools menu to draw, point, add text, and add shapes to the whiteboard.
    2. You can Share an Application or your Screen such as Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint or share your entire screen. NOTE: If you plan to share an application, it’s a good idea to have it open before you start your Collaborate session.
    3. You can Share Files which can include PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and images in GIF, JPEG and PNG formats.
    4. You can use the Polling option to poll your participants during your session.
    5. Collaborate Ultra allows you to divide your participants into Breakout Groups during your session so they can collaborate in smaller groups.
Session Menu Tab
  1. The Session Menu tab offers a number of options as well.
    1. You can Start Recording your session. After you are finished with your session, you will find the Stop Recording option here, too.
    2. For those who would like to join your session with their phone to listen to the audio portion of the session, clicking on the Use your phone for audio button provides you with a phone number and PIN your can share with a participant who is dialing into your session. NOTE: The phone number is not toll-free.
    3. The last three buttons allow you to Report an issue to Blackboard, get access to Collaborate Ultra moderator help, and an see an overview of Collaborate.
  1. When participants join your session and turn on their webcam, their video will appear in the center of your Collaborate Ultra window. The moderator’s video, if it is shared, will be in a smaller window at the bottom of the screen. As more participants join and share their video, their video windows will populate the middle of the screen as well.
Bb Collaborate connection view
  1. When you have finished your Collaborate Ultra web conference remember to stop the recording if you started one by clicking on the Session Menu tab and click Stop Recording.
  2. To leave the session, open the Session Menu tab and click on the Leave Session button at the bottom of the panel.
  3. Leave Session Link
  4. After clicking the Leave Session button, you will receive a one-question survey about the audio and video during the session. This is from Blackboard and you can choose to answer the question and click “Submit and Exit” or not answer the question and click “Skip.”


  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a web conferencing application. You will need a webcam, microphone and speakers or headphones to fully utilize the software.
  • Use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to log into Blackboard when using Bb Collaborate Ultra.
  • You and your students will need a relatively fast Internet connection to use both the video and audio portions of the web conference. If a participant’s network connection is slow, they can try turning off their webcam. They will still see what the moderator is presenting.
  • Students should mute their microphones when not speaking to minimize background noise during the session.
  • If you are recording a session, but then use breakout rooms, the recording will automatically stop. You will need to start recording again once everyone is back in the main session.
  • After you finish recording a session, it can take at least several hours before the link to the recording appears in your Blackboard course.
  • There is a Blackboard Student mobile app for iOS and Android that students can use to connect to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra sessions without a computer.
  • You can add a link to Collaborate Ultra within a content area (i.e. Assignments) by going to ①Tools > ②More Tools > ③Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
  • Instead of always using the Collaborate Ultra course room itself, you can create unique Collaborate Ultra sessions with start and end times, control the rolls of participants, and more. Do this by clicking the Create Session button. These sessions can be created for your office hours, and help and review sessions. You can also create sessions that students can use for group collaboration by themselves without your involvement.
  • Blackboard has an Introduction to Bb Collaborate Ultra video on YouTube. It’s only three minutes long and worth viewing:
  • You can view Bb Collaborate Ultra’s extensive Moderator Help website at:

Keywords:Blackboard, Bb, Collaborate,   Doc ID:98873
Owner:Larry S.Group:Western Technical College
Created:2020-03-16 08:48 CDTUpdated:2020-03-16 16:52 CDT
Sites:Western Technical College
Feedback:  0   0