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Blackboard Help

Collaborate in Bb Student

Bb Student includes Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra experience—a synchronous web conferencing solution for high-quality virtual classes and meetings. Instructors can share files and video while interacting with the class. You don't have to install anything extra to join a session.

Instructors use Collaborate with the Ultra experience on a desktop web browser to moderate sessions with users in Bb Student. Collaborate with the Original experience is not supported.

Join a session

If you can, join your session early and get to know your way around.

  1. You must install the Bb Student app before you can collaborate. If you don't have the app yet, go to Quick Start.
  2. Open the link provided by your instructor or session moderator in your phone's mobile web browser. Typically, your instructor emails the link or posts it in a course.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions on your device.
  4. If you are already logged in to Bb Student, the session opens automatically.

    If you are not logged in to Bb Student, you can do one of the following:

  • Type your name and tap Join as Guest.
  • Sign in to Blackboard. Use the same credentials you use to access your Blackboard courses on a computer. This method autofills your name in the Collaborate session and logs you in to Bb Student.

More details on joining sessions and troubleshooting issues

The experience might be slightly different depending on your device.

  • iOS: After opening the link from your instructor, you might see a pop-up window that asks Open this page in Bb Student? Select Open.
  • Android and Windows: The Collaborate session opens directly if you are already logged in to Bb Student.

Let's collaborate!

Image of Collaborate session in Bb Student

You can view your instructor's content and video and perform the following tasks:

  1. Tap your avatar to change it, set your status to Away, or access help information. Use the controls to share video or voice, raise your hand, and chat with others. When files or whiteboard are shared, your local video appears in the lower left corner and the current speaker is in the lower right corner.
  2. Tap the arrow in the icon bar to access drawing tools. The arrow only appears after your instructor or session moderator turns on the whiteboard. Select the pencil or a shape to draw on shared files or a whiteboard. Tap the arrow tool to pinch and zoom.
  3. Tap the three dots at the top of the screen to see who is in the session or to select a shared file.
  4. Leave the session.

More features

Activity notifications. Just look to the top of the app screen to know when someone joins or leaves a session, chat messages are waiting, a hand is raised, or session recording starts and stops.

Multi-page documents. When you share files, you can navigate through documents and advance through presentation slides.

Multitask. If you leave Bb Student to perform another task on your device, just tap the status bar at the top of your screen to return.

Mute all. If your instructor mutes all participants from the web version of Collaborate with the Ultra experience, all microphones are turned off in the mobile app as well.

Profile picture and away status. Tap your avatar to upload a picture. Other session participants using the Collaborate app or web experience will see your avatar. You can also change your status to Away and access help information.

At this time, your Bb Student avatar functions separately from your avatar in a Collaborate session.


Wi-Fi provides the best experience. This also reduces the amount of mobile data used. Make sure you are fully charged or plugged in. Versions prior to iOS 8.4 and Android 4.4 can experience rapid battery drain.

Having trouble? If you experience problems with Collaborate, submit a case on Behind the Blackboard (available in English only).

Do more with different roles

In general, you are a participant in the session and your instructor is the moderator. A moderator might choose to give you additional capabilities by making you a presenter or moderator. Access these functions by tapping the three dots at the top of the screen:

  • Upload and share content.
  • See hand raise notifications and lower hands.
  • Turn on the whiteboard functions so that participants can draw on shared files.
  • Record sessions if you are a moderator on an Android or iOS device.

In Bb Student, the presenter and moderator roles have the same capabilities. Collaborate with the Ultra experience on your desktop web browser provides additional capabilities to moderators.

Share files

If you are given presenter or moderator privileges, you can show files to the rest of the participants. You can display an image, PowerPoint, or PDF while you talk about it. Turn on the whiteboard to enable drawing on the file.

All files uploaded by moderators or presenters can be accessed by all other users with file sharing permissions.

Image of file sharing

  1. Tap the folder icon. This icon appears only if you have moderator or presenter privileges.
  2. Tap Add File.
    • From my phone: In iOS, you can share only photos from your phone. Android and Windows allow you to upload GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, and PowerPoint files.
    • From a course: You can share files that instructors previously added to courses. For example, share a PDF that your instructor added to a folder. The file selection screen displays only items that are available for sharing. Tests and assignments are not shareable.
  3. Select a file from your phone or a course.
  4. Stop Sharing ends the participants' view of the file.

If you join a session without logging in to Bb Student, you can only share files from your phone. You can't share files from courses.

Breakout groups

A session moderator can divide participants into groups for smaller projects and collaboration. You're notified when you are placed in a group or moved out of a group.

Only group members see the audio, video, chat, and shared files in a breakout group. Every participant in a group is a presenter, so you all can share the whiteboard, files, and applications with the rest of the group. Breakout group interactions aren't captured in session recordings.

Content shared in a breakout group isn't available when breakout groups end. If you want to keep anything for future use, you can take screen captures of files and whiteboards your group shared.

Compare to Collaborate in web browser

If you've used Collaborate with the Ultra Experience in your desktop web browser already, you'll feel right at home collaborating in the Bb Student app. To use the following functions, use Collaborate on your desktop web browser as these features are not currently available in the app.

  • Closed captioning
  • Polls

Need Help?

Email Support (available in English only)

@BbMobileSupport on Twitter (available in English only)