Many instructors like to utilize the Collaborate Ultra tool within Blackboard in order to deliver live or archived classroom sessions. Students will need to make sure they are able to type in the chat area and possibly speak to the instructor and other students via a microphone on their computer as well. A webcam may be useful as well depending on your instructor’s teaching preferences.

Let’s say your instructor wants to meet with you and/or the class via Collaborate. They will post an announcement or let you know when they plan on having this ‘virtual classroom.’ They may post a link to Collaborate in the menu or if not you can find Collaborate within the Tools area of Blackboard. Click on the Tools link in the menu and in the list you will see the Collaborate Ultra option.

Blackboard Tools Link 

Once inside Collaborate you’ll see what’s called a “hamburger” icon (three stacked lines). By clicking on this you’ll see an option for Sessions and another option for Recordings (if your instructor decides to record the session the recording will be found at this link).

Blackboard Sessions area


By clicking the Sessions link you will see a Join Session option to click and enter the live classroom.

Join Session image 

You will then be connected to the ‘virtual classroom.’ You will see four icons at the bottom of the screen: a connection confirmation icon, a microphone icon, a video icon, and a raising hand icon. If you plan on using a microphone during the session you will need to click on this icon and confirm it is working by the meter capturing your voice. If you use video you will need to click this to activate your webcam (you will see yourself in a small window on the Collaborate screen). Lastly, to inquire with the instructor/moderator during the session you would click on the “raising hand” icon to signal your attention. If you are using a mic during the session it is encouraged to ‘mute’ your mic (click it off) when you are not speaking.

Icons for Sessions image


During the session you can chat with the instructor and other students. At the bottom right of the Collaborate screen you’ll notice an options button which extends to show different options. The first icon (bubble) will allow you to chat throughout the session. The second option (people icon) shows the list of attendees for the session. The third option (arrow and square) is an option to share content but may be disabled by your instructor. The same is true for the fourth and last icon (rotor wheel) which is a list of settings for the session.

Options for Sessions image 


Again, if your instructor recorded an archived Collaborate session for you to view (or if the session you participated in was recorded to be viewed by the class later) they will provide the link for you in a content area within your learning materials or within the Recordings area within Blackboard.

Want to explore Collaborate Ultra a little more?

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