Virtual Classroom

UCD's primary Virtual Classroom tool (Collaborate Ultra) can be accessed directly from within Brightspace modules via the Module Tools menu in the navigation bar. Collaborate Ultra is a virtual classroom tool provided by Blackboard that is integrated into Brightspace at UCD. It is a real time web conferencing tool which can be used to support teaching delivery.

There is a maximum capacity of 250 participants per session. Instructors can create sessions in webinar mode to support up to 500 attendees. Note: Participants in a webinar session cannot share audio, video, post chat messages or draw on whiteboards and files.

NOTE: Blackboard have notified us that they have disabled some features in Collaborate Ultra to help with performance issues related to a sharp increase in demand for their service. The list of disabled features is here.

IT Services recommend using the latest version of the Google Chrome browser when using Collaborate Ultra. Safari is not recommended. 

For smaller groups, Bongo Classroom is available via the Module Tools menu.

You can create polls using Poll Everywhere and share them with your class by using the Chat feature in the Virtual Classroom. Open the Collaborate panel at the bottom-right of the screen, click Everyone and enter the url to your poll there.

We recommend reviewing these troubleshooting guidelines

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Virtual Classroom can be accessed directly from within Brightspace in the Module Tools menu.  The Instructor sets up a session and the student can access the session from the same Module Tools\Virtual Classroom menu.
 
You can also contact ithelpdesk@ucd.ie for information about upcoming courses & events on Virtual Classroom and with any specific queries you may have.

Sharing content within Collaborate Ultra

 

Note: Chrome is the only browser that allows full content sharing functionality.

Mac users should ensure they have allowed screen sharing: From System Preferences select Security & Privacy and then select the Privacy tab. Scroll down on the left hand side of the screen to Screen Recording. Check the box next to Google Chrome.

All sharing options are accessed via the Share Content icon in the Collaborate panel at the bottom-right of the screen.

 

How to share files:

  • In the Share Content panel click Share Files
  • Click Add Files to choose your file to be shared (PNG, JPEG, PDF or Powerpoint only)
  • When the upload is complete, click Share Now

 

You can navigate through a Powerpoint presentation by using the forward and back arrows under the displayed slide.

Click the Stop Sharing button on the top right corner of the displayed area to stop sharing the content.

 

How to share videos with audio

  • Select Share Application/Screen
  • Select the Chrome Tab option
  • Choose the Chrome tab you want to share from the list
  • At the bottom left Select the Share audio check box
  • Select Share.

 

Sharing a PowerPoint presentation that includes an embedded video with audio

  • Select Share Entire Screen
  • Select the Share audio check box at the bottom left.
  • Select Share (A cascading screen will appear initially within your Collaborate session)
  • Start your presentation in full screen mode

 

Sharing a PowerPoint presentation (window option)

This process allows you to present while also keeping the Collaborate window visible to you. This allows you to monitor chat messages, create a poll etc while presenting.

  • In PowerPoint open the Slide Show menu and select Set Up Show.
  • Select Browsed by individual (window) and select Ok
  • Start your presentation
  • Resize the presentation window to the size you want
  • Select Share application and select the PowerPoint application screen
  • Click Share

 

FAQ

What equipment do I need to attend a virtual class or meeting?
What are the minimum requirements for my computer?
How can an instructor schedule a virtual class from Brightspace?

How to Allow Recording Downloads
How can a staff member or instructor upload a presentation to virtual classroom or meeting?

How can I share audio from a video or file?
How can I join a virtual class or meeting through Brightspace?
How can I configure and test my microphone?
How can an instructor record a virtual class and how long will they remain?
How can an instructor download a session recording?

How to Share Links to Recordings
How to privately test a virtual classroom session as a participant

What are the filsesize limits within sessions?

Is attendance at sessions automatically recorded?

Is it possible to poll students during a live classroom session?

 
What equipment do I need to attend a virtual class or meeting?

Before you attend a virtual class or meeting you will need to consider

  • Your location - is it a quiet place or shared office?
  • How you can minimise potential interruptions during the meeting - phones etc.

You will need a headset with both headphones and microphone to listen to & contribute to the session. It is advisable not to use laptop built-in microphones as these create echo, feedback and the sound quality is not as good for other attendees of the virtual meeting.

 

What are the minimum requirements for my computer?

Virtual Classroom (Collaborate Ultra) supports Windows and Mac PCs, Google Chromebook and Microsoft Surface Pro devices provided one of the supported browsers are being used and audio/camera devices work with those browsers.  (Microsoft Surface devices running Windows RT are not supported.)  Please see Collaborate Ultra System Requirements for full details.

  • Speaker and Microphone combination headsets are preferred
How can an instructor schedule a virtual class from Brightspace?
  • Log in to Brightspace and select your module as normal
  • Under "Module Tools", click "Virtual Classroom"
  • Click on "Create Session"
  • Specifiy a session title
  • Specify both a start and end date/time
  • Configure Session Settings as required
  • Click on "Save" to create the session
  • Course members access the session by clicking on the link which is created in the session list under Module Tools\Virtual Classroom
How to Allow Recording Downloads

If you tick the “Allow Recording Downloads” box on your Virtual Classroom session’s settings, then you (and anyone else with access to the link) will be able to download their own copy of the recording as an mp4.

You can still tick/untick this box on the session’s settings after the recording has been made, and the system will honour the change.

The downloaded version of the recording will not contain the text chat, but the online version will.


How can a staff member or instructor upload a presentation to virtual classroom or meeting?

Note: only moderators can upload presentations

  • Within the session, open the "Collaborate Panel" button in the bottom right-hand corner
  • Click on the "Share Content" button in the options in the bottom right-hand corner
  • Click "Share Files", then "Add Files" to choose your file to be shared
  • When the uploaded is complete, click "Share Now" and select the first slide to display
  • You can navigate through your presentation by using the forward and back arrows under the displayed slide
  • Click the "Stop Sharing" button on the top right corner of the displayed slide to stop sharing the presentation
How can I share audio from a video or file?

You must use Chrome if you will be sharing audio. When you select Share Content, select Share Application/Screen. Select the item to present and at the bottom of the screen click the 'Share Audio' box.

If the content being shared is Powerpoint with voiceover, select Share Entire Screen (include audio) and start the presentation in full screen mode.

How can I join a virtual class or meeting through Brightspace?

A link will appear in the main content area or it will be emailed to you by your instructor.

Sessions can also be joined by navigating to Module Tools\Virtual Classroom and choosing the session to join.

 

How can I configure and test my microphone?

Within a Virtual Classroom, click to "Open Collaborate Panel" on the bottom right-hand corner and click "My Settings"

Under "Audio and Video settings", click to set up your camera and microphone.

 

How can an instructor record a virtual class and how long will they remain?

Click to "Open Session Menu" in the top left-hand corner and click Start Recording.

Recordings will last as long as UCD continues its contract for Collaborate Ultra.

Recordings can be downloaded if the download setting has been allowed in the Session Settings.

 

How can an instructor download a session recording?

To download available session recordings, go to Module Tools, Virtual Classroom. Click on the menu button and click Recordings. Recent recordings will be shown and the listing can be filtered by date range.
Session recordings that have "Allow recording downloads" on at the time of session setup will be available to you for download. Click the Recording Options to the right of the session listing and choose Download to save the recording as an MP4 file.
To enable recording downloads, open the session settings and click "Allow download recording". Any recordings made in this session can be downloaded while downloads are allowed.
More information on recordings: https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Moderate_Sessions/Recordings

 

How to Share Links to Recordings

In the module, from within the Virtual Classroom tool - Recordings - Click on the three bars on the top left - Choose recordings - From the list of your recordings, Choose the one you want - Click on the circle with three dots (on the right) to view the Recording Options - and there you can copy a link. You can share the link in the module in content items, announcements, ...etc.

 

For recordings made from 10 September 2020 onward, only instructors and students enrolled in the module can see the recording with its default settings,  public access to recordings is off by default for new sessions.  Access for earlier recordings may be changed in the recording settings.

 

Instructors can choose to allow public access in the Recording Settings by selecting the public access check box.  This will enable a shareable link to the recording to become available. If the instructor clears the Public access check box later, the shareable link will stop working.

 

How to privately test a virtual classroom session as a participant

In your Sandbox module Navigate to Module Tools - Virtual Classroom.
Click on the Course Room - and click on the box to “Join Course Room” to launch the Virtual Classroom (It will open in a new tab)
In your original tab (your sandbox) Click on the three dots on the right hand side of your course room - and select Copy Guest Link
Open a new tab in your browser
Paste the guest link into the tab and join the room as a participant
You can then practice sharing files etc and see what the participant sees.

You could also send the guest link to another account.

 

File sizes limits within sessions

File size up to 60 mb in a single session.
Total files size is max of 125 mb in a room.
Note: You can compress powerpoint files to get smaller than 60 mb 

 

Is attendance at sessions automatically recorded? 

help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Reports

 

Is it possible to poll students during a live classroom session?

Yes, it is possible to create and use polls during a live Collaborate virtual classroom session. More information on setting up and using polls in Collaborate is available https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Moderate_Sessions/Polling 

Alternatively, you can create polls using Poll Everywhere and share them with your class by using the Chat feature in the Virtual Classroom. Open the Collaborate panel at the bottom-right of the screen, click Everyone and enter the url to your poll there.

The  Collaborate Ultra help section is a knowledge base to support faculty/instructors in using the Virtual Classroom. 

If the Virtual Classroom doesn't load check your browser settings.

You can view the current status of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra here, this will have details of any issues.

Toll Free Irish Telephone no. for Collaborate Ultra Tech. support

This number connects you to a 24/7 help desk operated by Blackboard (the producer of Collaborate Ultra, the virtual classroom tool integrated into Brightspace at UCD.

Ireland: 1.800.413.802

A short video on using Breakout Groups

https://media.heanet.ie/page/f1600d5f39a440e1b99d2fd5e93ac1fb

Collaborate Ultra help page on content

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

Collaborate Ultra help page on recordings

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

Collaborate Ultra help page on Breakout Groups

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

Collaborate Ultra - File and Recording Storage FAQ

https://blackboard.secure.force.com/publickbarticleview?id=kA770000000CbqL

Collaborate Ultra video tutorials on Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLontYaReEU1thrYkZR4tynKpyvuTB_dkD

Collaborate Ultra Experience - Best Practices for Application Sharing

https://blackboard.secure.force.com/publickbarticleview?id=kA739000000028q