Here's everything you need to know about the December 2015 release of Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra experience.
The December 2015 release became available on the following dates.
- Monday, December 28 in European and Australian data centers
- Tuesday, December 29 U.S. and Canadian data centers
What's New and Improved
We're ending the calendar year with a bang as we continually improve the teaching and learning experience with Collaborate. In this release we focused on features allowing you to extend use case support for larger classes, giving students the ability to call into the session from a phone, and providing a chat channel just for session moderators. We also updated the scheduling experience. All of this in time for your first 2016 term!
Call Into a Session
Now moderators and participants can call into a session using their phone. Each phone user is identified as a full session participant. No more wondering who is speaking on the phone line. A great benefit for students with less than ideal internet conditions.
Due to an unforeseen networking issue in Canada, we were unable to roll out Teleconferencing for Ultra to our Canadian hosted clients only. We will fix the issue in a future maintenance window.
Collaborate with the Ultra experience is included in Bb Student for iOS and Android devices. Moderators need to use Collaborate with the Ultra experience in order for participants to collaborate in Bb Student. Collaborate with the Original experience is not supported.
Meet With Up to 100 Participants
Host sessions with up to 100 participants! You can now use Ultra for those larger class sizes. With the first term in 2016 right around the corner, we suggest updating your virtual class experience to Ultra so students can benefit the fully browser-based, high quality Ultra experience.
Have a Private Chat With Other Moderators
Moderators can now chat with each other in a private chat channel while in session. Collaborate makes it really easy to switch between chatting with moderators and chatting with everyone in the session.
A New Scheduling Experience
Moderators enjoy a new look and feel with scheduling sessions and viewing recordings in 26 different languages. After switching to the Ultra experience of the Session Administration System (SAS) you'll encounter an intuitive design for scheduling sessions in the Ultra experience and viewing recordings. You can easily switch back and forth between scheduling Ultra experience and Original experience of Collaborate (12.6) sessions any time.
You'll also get a basic profile page where you can edit your account information - without the Java plugin!
This is an introduction to the Ultra experience for Collaborate administrative functionality. Like the Ultra session experience, we'll continue adding functionality to this interface over time, eventually replacing the current SAS interface entirely.
A New Experience In LTI Compatible LMS
If you are using Collaborate in your Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI) compliant Learning Management System (LMS) you enjoy the new look and feel of the Ultra scheduling experience automatically.
Schedule sessions and view recordings from your course.
User Experience Improvements
We hear you. Many of you have requested some user experience improvements over the past few months. We've added a few of these in this December update, including:
- The whiteboard eraser is now only available to moderators. Other participants can select and erase their own annotation.
- The whiteboard pointer now remains enabled when progressing through slides and images.
- There is now a chat notification sound and setting
WebRTC Experience in Firefox
This December release originally had Firefox WebRTC support included. Unfortunately Firefox v43, the version we had anticipated supporting, has an unresolved stability issue that we consider unacceptable for our customers. Firefox users will continue to use the Flash plugin with the December release. We will work to resolve this issue and release Firefox WebRTC support as quickly as possible.
We resolved many known issues.