2 Replies Latest reply on Sep 13, 2017 10:45 AM by kg37683

    What is the easiest way to get a faculty member to start and a student to access a Collaborate Ultra session from within Blackboard Learn Classic?


      Many of you have promoted the use of Collaborate at your campuses. I need your advice.


      We are going to send a blast to all faculty, increasing awareness of the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra service that we have incorporated into Blackboard Learn Classic. Most have never used Collaborate. Some have never used Blackboard. I am looking for the easiest "get started" instructions.

      • Use case 1: Faculty member is stuck in the keys and needs to teach the class remotely.
      • Use case 2: one or more students will miss some class periods because they will not be able to return right away. The professor will want to sue Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to allow the students to join the class live or else view a recording of the class.

      Two specific questions:

      1. What are the minimum/easiest steps to get the faculty member presenting (using PowerPoint?) in Collaborate Ultra?
      2. What is the best/easiest way to give the students access to the live and recorded session?

      We don't expect many people to need this access, since airline flights have already started and Miami will return to pretty much normal (for Miami) on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. But we want to make them aware of it, if they need it. The only assumption is that I expect to use the Classroom Session, not create/schedule special sessions.


      Any suggestions for questions 1 and 2?

        • Re: What is the easiest way to get a faculty member to start and a student to access a Collaborate Ultra session from within Blackboard Learn Classic?



          I would suggest that you create a session and send a link to the instructors and do a quick demo so they can see how easy it is and get familiar with it.


          They just need to create a Ultra session in their course, add the link so students can easily locate it. They can email or make an announcement with the link. Faculty can upload the PPT in Ultra interface to share or they can use the share app/screen option but that's a little harder to navigate.


          A hard-line connection or a very stable wi-fi connection with high band-width is recommended. Make sure there's no firewalls blocking the connection. Make sure instructors select the record session and it should save in their course. They can then give students access to the recorded session if instructors put the link to the session in their course.


          Faculty should have a good mic and a headset is better since you won't get the repeating feedback from the speakers. They might need to go through the audio setup to select the proper mic setup (headset or camera mic). Students can also access the session through Blackboard mobile app but they may be using their data.


          Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra Experience | Blackboard Help



          • Re: What is the easiest way to get a faculty member to start and a student to access a Collaborate Ultra session from within Blackboard Learn Classic?

            Bill, my first suggestion is to make your "blast" be a link to a very brief and very fun Collaborate Ultra recording.  (ie. do what I have done rather than, do what I am telling you to do.)  (I think that this is even more effective when I can convince faculty to open the link from a mobile device.)  When I am trying to talk to faculty about using Collaborate, I try to do so through Collaborate and when I have strategically positioned myself in a very comfortable setting. Thus, participants can see that I am working while in a very desirable location (e.g. my couch, outdoors in a garden setting, at the lake that is physically located next to our campus, etc.) More than anything else that I have tried, this approach seems to catch the imagination of lots of faculty.


            Things to remember to get faculty up and running:

            1. Chrome is by far the best internet browser from which to present in Collaborate Ultra.  (Is is still the only browser that truly enables application sharing?)

            2. Sound quality and consistency is critical.  Many factors influence sound quality, but a steady internet connection and a good quality (not necessarily expensive) noise-cancelling microphone really are essential. When possible, we provide headsets or external microphones to faculty who regularly record audio content. If you can't microphones, you may at least want to encourage faculty to try a couple of the options that they already have available and choose the one that has the most clarity. Also, remind them that a quiet environment, using any type of "pop" shield, and staying close to the microphone all can make a significant difference.

            3. NOBODY wants to watch or listen to more than 7 minutes at a time of an educational audio or video file.  Especially in challenging situations, shorter is definitely better.  For faculty who think that students MUST watch an hour lecture, we always encourage them to break that lecture into five minute chunks.  After recording several of the chunks, the faculty often realize that they can be much more efficient and eventually reduce the number of recordings that they produce, but improve the quality and efficiency of their videos.

            4. High-end production quality rarely increases the effectiveness of instructor-produced videos.  (Although things like very low quality audio or unreadable graphics can be counterproductive.)  Effective instructional videos are ones that students watch and that communicate clearly to the student.  When instructors new to video production get hung-up on wanting to "look good" we often send them to a few carefully selected low-budget productions on YouTube.  For most folks, this is enough to get them to relax and focus on doing what they do best--connecting to students.


            Good luck!