How To: Collaborate Ultra

Collaborate Ultra allows for real-time lectures, including video and screensharing. Students can chat and raise their hands for questions. It also allows others to share videos and screens (for student presentations), and it supports breakout rooms and office hours.

Overall details here:
https://keepteaching.ubc.ca/lectures/#real-time-collaborate
https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra

To enable Collaborate Ultra, open up your Canvas shell. Is there a universal Canvas shell for all GRS courses? If so use that one. If not, we should probably create one, or look at another option.


[YouTube] Add Collaborate Ultra Link to your UBC Canvas Course

  • Log in to your Canvas course, and choose Settings from the course sidebar.
  • Select the Navigation tab.
  • Find the Collaborate Ultra menu item, select the options menu (i.e., the 3 dots), and choose Enable.
  • Save your changes.
  • Refresh the page. The Collaborate Ultra menu item will now be available in the course sidebar. 
  • Feel free to move it up in the sidebar to make it more prominent for students.

To set up a session:

[YouTube] Getting started with Collaborate at UBC (for faculty)

  • Log in to your Canvas course, and choose Collaborate Ultra from the course sidebar.
  • Choose the available “Course Room” session or create a new session using Create Session.
  • Session options you can choose from include:
  • Specifying a start and end time
  • Repeating a session
  • Links for guests to use
  • Specifying default roles for participants
  • Allowing recording of session
  • Once you’ve set your options, choose Save.
  • Students will be able to view and join sessions once they click Collaborate Ultra from the course sidebar.
  • As the phone number for joining is a US one, it’s best if students don’t access sessions by phone.
  • If you are recording the session, let students know this at the beginning, so they are aware any participation will be captured as well.

BEST PRACTICES

For a list of general best practices, please refer to Collaborate Ultra’s Session Best Practices Documentation.

Sharing PowerPoint presentations

To provide the best presentation experience, upload your PowerPoint presentations to Collaborate Ultra using the Share Files feature. Depending on your internet connection, uploading and converting presentations may take some time. Upload your files before the start of your session to make the most of your lecture time.

Sharing unsupported files

The Share Files feature can only accept GIF, JPEG and PNG images, PDF files, or PowerPoint presentations of 60MB or lower. If you want to share a file that is not supported by this feature, you can do the following:

  1. Open the file in your computer using the application of your choice
  2. Go back to your Collaborate Ultra session and open the Collaborate panel by clicking the arrow icon on the lower right
  3. Select the Share Content tab from the options at the bottom and click Share Application/Screen
  4. Select the application you want to share in your browser’s popup and click Allow (Firefox) or Share (Google Chrome)

While sharing your screen, you will see the following elements appear depending on your browser:

Firefox Chrome
Firefox Collaborate Ultra share application/screen icon Google Chrome Collaborate Ultra share application/screen icon

To stop sharing your screen, go back to your Collaborate Ultra session and click the Stop icon on the top right or click Stop Sharing (Google Chrome).

FURTHER RESOURCES

Sharing content
https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Moderate_Sessions/Share_Content

Breakout groups
https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Moderate_Sessions/Breakout_groups

Student presentations
https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Moderate_Sessions/Manage_Attendees

Recording sessions
https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Moderate_Sessions/Recordings

For students
https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Participant/Get_Started
https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Participant/Get_Started/Browser_Support

UPDATES

March 18th
Reports are that recorded sessions are taking up to a day to process.

Also, some features have been removed to accommodate the huge demand on the service:

We have been carefully monitoring Collaborate as more schools and organizations increase their use, and we have already taken specific measures to optimize its reliability. In the coming weeks, we are projecting an unprecedented increase in the use of Collaborate in different regions around the world. Out of an abundance of caution, and in order to maintain the highest continuity of service possible, we have made the decision to disable specific features that can impact overall system stability. These features are:

  • Timer (a countdown timer that helps with classroom time management)
  • Chat typing indicator (a visual indicator that someone is typing but have not yet completed their thought. The chat feature itself will still be available.)
  • Netstats indicator (a visual indicator of connection quality next to each user)
  • Reducing the number of video thumbnails from 4 to 2 (this is the maximum number of thumbnails visible in the grid view)

We believe that the removal of these features will not significantly impact the overall Collaborate user experience, which will still include video, screen sharing, chat, a virtual whiteboard, and other favorite features. We believe that disabling them is in the best interest of our global client community. Consistent, reliable service is our top priority. We expect to reinstate these features once we have more information about how the system is performing and we continue to make improvements.

KNOWN ISSUES

If often annotate your PowerPoint presentations during lectures and want to continue doing so while presenting remotely, use Share Application/Screen to share your presentation/PDF directly from an app that automatically saves them for you.

To change slides/pages while in Share Files mode:

Windows
Move back a slide - Alt + Page Down
Move forward a slide - Alt + Page Up

Mac
Move back a slide - Alt + Fn + Down Arrow
Move forward a slide - Alt + Fn + Up Arrow

For more information, please refer to Collaborate Ultra's Content Editing Tools Documentation.

To erase a single annotation while in Share Files mode, you can do the following:

  1. Click on the Select tool (indicated by the icon of a mouse pointer)
  2. On your presentation, click on the annotation you want to delete
  3. Press the Delete key on your keyboard

If you want attendees to view your cursor while in Share Application/Screen mode, use Google Chrome.

If you want attendees to hear your computer's audio while in Share Application/Screen mode, use Google Chrome. Please note that the way you share audio and video with audio depends on if you're using a Windows or Mac OS computer.

For more information on how to share audio, please refer to Collaborate Ultra's Share Audio and Video Documentation.