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Blackboard Ultra - any hints?

reeven
Community Member
5 4 1,203

Hi all from Tasmania! We are about to embark on a migration from Fronter to Canvas and an upgrade from Blackboard Collaborate to Ultra for our video conferencing software. Are there any users out there with any tips/hints for using Canvas with Blackboard? 

4 Comments
kenneth_rogers
Community Champion

Hi, reeven‌!

We use Bb Collab both inside Canvas as well as outside of Canvas. We "upgraded" to Ultra last summer and went through quite a bit of training/implementation with Bb over the course of several months with multiple people across our district (we are a community college district made up of five individually accredited schools).

Because we previously ran the "Classic" version of Collaborate, we chose to run both versions of Collaborate concurrently inside of Canvas. A year later and we still have the classic version running (both inside of Canvas and outside of Canvas). 

Internally, we created a help guide for the transition: https://alamo.softchalkcloud.com/lesson/serve/4pdicfKZ7Mn5yb/html. It's pretty specific to the Alamo Colleges, but hopefully it will provide a pretty decent framework. Also, I previously started a discussion on accessing Collaborate Mobile from Canvas. It's a bit of a pain because it involves using the Bb Student app, but it's possible. Check out the discussion: "Integration" with Bb Collaborate Ultra Mobile 

BUT - Bb's help guides/site is actually pretty good. For our internal documentation, we actually link to these help guides as they are updated with new releases and links generally remain static. You can drill down based on role for what you're looking for: Collaborate: Ultra Experience | Blackboard Help 

Maybe one of the more important things, though, is staying up with their release notes. They don't do a good job of announcing changes like Instructure does for Canvas, and they aren't always major, but every now and then you get hit with an update that will change how you used to interact with the interface (usually for good). Check them out: Release Notes for Collaborate Ultra | Blackboard Help 

Let me know if you have any specific questions or hurdles. I'm more than willing to help out!

abunag
Community Champion

Thanks for the info.  We're actually running Collaborate as a secondary option to WebEx, as we had some ADA concerns about WebEx.  Have you done any sort of evaluation of the ADA comparability of Ultra?  Would it be worthwhile to look into upgrading from Collaborate classic to Ultra?  How big of a difference is it from a faculty perspective?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

kenneth_rogers
Community Champion

Hey,  @abunag ‌!

I personally have not done any sort of ADA testing for Ultra. I will say they tout quite a bit (but then again, most vendors do!). I'd suggest checking out some of their documents online: Accessibility | Blackboard Help  and Welcome to Blackboard  (this last one is more sales-y, so you have to register to see the document. Just a warning!).

Yes! Please upgrade from Classic to Ultra! I've been a Collaborate Admin since they combined Wimba and Elluminate (I was a Wimba customer at my old institution). Now where I work we're running both Classic and Ultra concurrently, but we only push new users to Ultra. There are some reasons we have to keep Classic, but if Ultra meets your needs, then that's what you're using!

From a faculty perspective, it can be slightly different. Layout is different, some of the tools aren't there (in order to erase the whiteboard you have to clear the entire thing, not just an eraser), and it's SaaS so they roll out updates like Canvas does. But, as long as you stay on top of the release notes as an Admin, you'll be fine (Release Notes for Collaborate Ultra | Blackboard Help ).

Let me know if you have any other questions. I'd love to help out however I can!

kenneth_rogers
Community Champion

Hi there, reeven!

It looks like it's been a bit since we've heard from you. How's it going with Bb Collaborate Ultra? Did any of the resources put here work out for you?

For the time being, I am going to mark this question as "Assumed Answered." This won't prevent further dialogue from happening, so don't worry!


We'd love to hear from you!