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. 

Screenshot of popup with "Firefox would like to access the microphone" and mouse cursor hovering over "OK"

screenshot of popup with "Will you allow to use your microphone?" and a mouse hovering over the "Allow" button

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.

"Audio Test" window with a progress bar for microphone input displaying at 1 pip, a microphone dropdown and the mouse hovering over "Yes - It's working" button

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. 

Purple cog Icon

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.

A "Collaborate Ultra" activity link inside a "Week 6" course section

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

Mouse hovering over a Collaborate session titled "Week 1"

  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).

Collaborate session with no other participants and microphone and camera disabled

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:

    • View your connection speed with the session
      Mouse hovering over green upload speed icon with 48kbps upload speed displayed
    • Set your status to 'Away' to let others know
      mouse cursor hovering over "Away" button
    • Select a feedback to provide.
      Feedback section with mouse hovered over the "Happy" button
      Selected feedback will display for a short period beside your profile in the participants list and chat room.
      Chat message "hi" said by John Snow. There is a happy face icon beside the profile.
      Participants list with "John Snow" and a smiley face feedback as its icon

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.



Purple speech bubble icon

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

Chat log for chat room titled "Everyone". There is 1 post by John Snow saying "hi"


Purple participants icon

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

Collaborate main area with a participants list overlay

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
      Mouse in the process of dragging and dropping participants list icon into content area
    • Open the Collaborate panel and select Participants. Select More options at the top of the panel and select Detach Panel
      Mouse hovering over 'Detach panel' button in the top right participants list 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

Purple Share contents icon

You can view all items that have been shared by presenters in the session on the Share content screen.
"Share content" window with a "Share Blank Whiteboard"

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 
    Share content
  2. Select “Share Application/Screen”.  You can also choose to share Powerpoint files or PDF using "share files" option. 
    Share application
  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.
    end share

My settings

Purple settings icon

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.
    list of sessions
  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.
    watch or download

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
    Mouse hovering over "Share content" button on bottom right  
  2. Select the type of content you want to share i.e Whiteboard or files
    Share content section with options Share blank Whiteboard, Share Application/Screen, Share files and Polling
    • 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
    Mouse hovering over the "Participants" tab
  2. Click the arrow icon next to the group you want to join
    Participants list with mouse hovering over green arrow beside a room
  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
    Collaboration menu with mouse hovering over chat tab
  2. Select the group you want to chat with
    Chat menu with the mouse hovering over "Group 1"

Leaving a session

You can leave a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session by:

  1. Click the "Open Session Menu" icon on the top left
    Mouse hovering over the top left "Open Session menu" hamburger icon
  2. Click "Leave Session"
    Mouse clicking on "Leave Session" button in menu

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.
Inactive list in the participants list with "John Snow" under it

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