Blackboard Collaborate is our supported webinar (“web seminar”) platform that can be used both for synchronous teaching or student collaborations within VLE sites, and for external speakers to present without any VLE log in required.
Webinars are one of the PDLT’s key areas of support.
About Webinars with Collaborate
To summarise the above video, Blackboard Collaborate allows you to:
- Deliver presentations to remote attendees over the internet
- Share your desktop (for example, remote software demonstrations)
- Text-chat, audio-chat and video-chat with small or large groups
- Use polling tools and gain real-time emoticon reactions from audience
- Utilise full moderation options, if required
- Use a PC, Mac or mobile device for full participation (the mobile browser experience has been improved in 2019)
- Record sessions, including chat logs.
Bringing Professional Expertise Into The Virtual Classroom
An exploration of Health Sciences’ use of Collaborate to enable distance learners to interact with module tutors working in professional contexts.
View Case Study
Facilitating “Hybrid” Workshops via Webinar
An exploration of Education’s use of Collaborate Ultra to enable a remote presenter and remote participants to attend a physical, on-campus workshop.
View Case Study
Collaborate Classic vs. Collaborate Ultra
Blackboard’s Collaborate platform has two main versions: Collaborate Classic (aka Collaborate Original) and Collaborate Ultra. Classic is the older offering and Ultra the newer.
- Comparison: Collaborate Classic vs. Collaborate Ultra [Google Sheet]
Collaborate Classic is being discontinued towards the end of 2020, and so is no longer suggested for use. Ultra offers a smoother user experience in comparison to Classic (simpler interface, runs in-browser and works without needing to install anything) and is the recommended option.
- Learn more about the differences between Classic and Ultra here [help.blackboard.com]
More About Collaborate Ultra
The Collaborate Ultra interface works well for delivering presentations or having web chats with large numbers of participants.
Collaborate Ultra Guides
Due to the COVID pandemic in 2020 we have produced a large amount of training and guidance material around Collaborate and synchronous online activities. To access to latest guidance we recommend that you take a look at the following:
- A Crash Course in Collaborate Ultra [Blog Post], particularly the “scenario hub guides” which should link out to all required guidance for particular scenarios:
- Using Collab’ with One Group of Students via the VLE [GDoc]
- Using Collab’ with Multiple Groups of Students via the VLE (eg. seminars, reading groups) [GDoc]
- Using Collab’ with People not Enrolled on your VLE site (eg. Externals, other staff/students) [GDoc]
- Using Collab’ for Sensitive One-to-One Meetings/Consultations, etc [GDoc]
- Recording Collab’ Without an Audience to Create Video Resources for Later [GDoc]
- Our summer 2020 webinar series area on the VLE, which contains guidance materials, resources and webinar recordings about Collaborate and much more: “PDLT Webinars 2020” resource VLE site [vle.york.ac.uk]
In addition to the newer materials listed above, we also have our ‘legacy’ Collaborate material which is still relevant and up to date, but is not COVID-focussed:
- Webinars Homepage
- Webinars – Introductory FAQs
- Webinars – Why Run Webinars?
- Webinars – Choosing a Suitable Platform
- Webinars – Incorporating Webinars into Learning Design
Both versions of Collaborate offer a number of features to help increase inclusivity for users with differing visual, auditory or mobility needs.
- Accessibility in Blackboard Collaborate with the Original Experience [help.blackboard.com]
Collaborate features tested for accessibility in 2018 [help.blackboard.com]
Supporting Visual Impairments:
- Screen reader support for most in-webinar tasks, via JAWS with Firefox on Windows or VoiceOver with Safari on Macs
- Screen reader guidance from Blackboard [help.blackboard.com]
Supporting Auditory Impairments:
- There are various captioning options available within Collaborate: Collaborate Ultra – Staff – Accessibility – Captioning Options [GDoc]
Supporting Motor Impairments:
- Navigating Collaborate Ultra via keyboard shortcuts [help.blackboard.com]
- Navigating Collaboate Ultra via screen reader commands [help.blackboard.com]
- Collaborate Ultra’s Own Accessibility Pages [help.blackboard.com]
- University of Derby’s Excellent “Inclusive Use of Collaborate” Webpages [digitalhandbook.wp.derby.ac.uk]
Data Protection, Security and GDPR
Refer to our related guides in this area:
- Collaborate Ultra – All – GDPR – Using Collaborate In Line with GDPR [GDoc]
- Collaborate Ultra – All – GDPR – Technical/Policy Information [GDoc]
If you’re interested in using Collaborate for sensitive/confidential meetings, please take a look at the following guide: Using Collab’ for Sensitive Meetings/Consultations/Interviews (etc) [GDoc]