'Collaborate' Ultra Notes

Starting Collaborate Ultra on your PC/laptop

Collaborate Ultra is a browser-based collaboration tool useful for involving online students in local activities. In particular, they can watch local classroom discussions and ask questions. The sessions can be recorded for later review by local and online students. There is a quick-start guide.

Some quick notes:

  1. Google Chrome is the recommended browser. This is necessary for the moderator. Firefox or Internet Explorer are supposed to be also OK for the students.
  2. Online students are recommended to use USB a headset+microphone.
  3. All students can watch the recorded sessions after the event.

There are 2 ways to get to the current Collaborate Ultra session:

  1. Via the course Learn panel - see below
  2. Via a direct URL. See the course web page for a list of these and dates.

With the Collaborate Ultra tool, students can:

  1. Check that their microphone and video camera are working (camera maybe not a good idea if many students)
  2. Hear what the Instructor (who wears a headset and microphone) says
  3. Watch what the Instructor does (video from the Instructor's USB camera)
  4. Type 'chat' style questions
  5. Click 'raise hand' button to flag a question has been asked
  6. Work in sub-groups coordinated by the Instructor/Moderator

Using the Collaborate tool from within Learn

  1. Either from the course main page or here: login into Learn. Login with your EASE account details, select your course (e.g.'Advanced Vision (Level 11) (2015-2016)[SV1-SEM2]').
  2. On the Learn toolbar at the left side, click on 'Weekly Question Answering Sessions'.
  3. Join a Question and Answer session by clicking on the 'SCHEDULED SESSIONS' tab and then the entering and End Date of April 1, 2016 and clicking 'Go'. This will list all upcoming Collaborate sessions. By default, it should show all sessions for the next week. Click on the one for today's class. You can join 15 minutes before the session on the relevant day.
    1. At the left edge, click Course Tools -> Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
    2. ***
  4. After you have found the correct meeting, click the 'tick mark' at the left. Then click on the (>>) symbol at the left. This goes to a page that has a grey 'Join Room' button. Click on the button. This will ask you if you need to 'Download Launcher'. Assuming that you have done this already, you want to click on 'Launch Blackboard Collaborate now.' on the next line. This will run Collaborate. It may take a minute to load up.
  5. Normally, students should use the chat box at the bottom right to ask questions so that the class assistant can help monitor these. Type your text there and hit return to submit your questions. You can enter text URLs and emoticons.
  6. Students can also view previously recorded Question and Answer sessions (e.g. ones they missed). At the left edge, click Course Tools -> Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. In the "Blackboard Collaborate Ultra" window, click the upper left menu button (3 bars) and then click on Recordings. You might have to wait an hour before the recording is available. Click on the (>>) button to replay the session. This launches a collaborate session. After a delay, the session will be loaded for replaying. Start this with the > button at the bottom (like normal video controls). You can see the video, hear the audio, see the chat entries that people made, see the drawings made on the 'board', see any screen sharing.

Instructor activities

The Instructor can:

  1. Schedule a set of Collaborate sessions in Learn: At the left edge, click Course Tools -> Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. In the "Blackboard Collaborate Ultra" window, click the upper left menu button (3 bars) and then click on Sessions. Click on 'Create Session', add date, time and title. Adjust settings. ***
  2. Record the session (click the camera option from the upper left pull down menu).
  3. In practice, you'll probably want a demonstrator to help with starting the recording, pointing the webcam, typing chat.
  4. Share (i.e. live screen grab) other applications (e.g. browsers, audio/video players, PPT/PDF/JPG/PNG content)
  5. There is a drawing tool for annotating on either a blank whiteboard, or on top of shared material.
  6. Make breakout subgroups (probably not used here).

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