Please note that this software has been bought by Durham Business School and so is currently only available to staff and students in the Business School. If you want this tool to be available in your department then please lobby your Departmental Education Committee.
This post describes the new (java-free) version – Blackboard Collaborate Ultra – which is being rolled out in 2017.
Highlights of the new version
Simple yet effective collaboration
With quick startup (no more Java or need for a launcher app) and very intuitive workflows, staff and students are free to focus on interaction and engagement, rather than the technology.
HD video for face to face collaboration
Engage students with high definition video, audio and webcam support. Display up to 5 HD videos at once. With a follow-the-speaker layout, it is easy to know who’s talking by placing the active speaker in a larger view.
profile pictures personalise the learning experience and can represent you in place of video – for times when you’d rather not go live in HD.
Quick & easy file and application sharing
Share files with drag and drop ease. Share your entire screen or a specific application – for example your web browser, a PowerPoint a spreadsheet or statistics programme – more easily than before.
Interact with students and get real time feedback with class polls. Quickly set up a poll where participants can choose yes or no as their answer, or use multiple choice questions with up to 5 responses.
Experience a face to face collaborative environment while in breakout groups with the ability to share files and whiteboard together. Staff can choose to randomly assign groups in class or custom select them. Participants can even create their own groups!
Students can join the session directly from the Bb Student app. You can also record sessions in a mobile-friendly format, perfect for flipped lessons. Captured video, audio and shared content can be played back as streamed MP4 files.
Instant, convenient chat with all participants promotes participation, but can be disabled as needed to focus the mind! The chat supports twemoji – Twitter’s emoji standard.
Ask a question
Participation counts. That’s why the hand-raising feature tracks the order in which hands are raised and lets the moderator call on participants to speak.
Live closed captioning
Choose a person to act as a captioner and provide an accessible alternative to audio content. Improve the learning experience for your students who are deaf or have impaired hearing, or whose native language differs from the speaker. This tool also offers the chance for creativity in modern language classes.