Texas Tech University

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Why Choose Blackboard Collaborate Ultra?

by Justin Louder, Ed.D., Associate Vice Provost, Worldwide eLearning
Gail Alleyne-Bayne, Research Assistant, Worldwide eLearning
Suzanne Tapp, Executive Director, TLPDC
John Thomas, Managing Director, Technology Support

Earlier this summer, TTU Worldwide eLearning worked with the TTU Office of the CIO and the TLPDC to deploy Blackboard Collaborate™ Ultra. The University has licensed Blackboard Collaborate for a number of years and this new product allows for increased functionality.

Blackboard Collaborate is a reliable online collaborative learning solution, delivering engagement via collaboration and conference tools. Blackboard Collaborate Classic is the original Java-based web conferencing tool that is integrated into Blackboard Learn 9.1. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is Blackboard's newest web conferencing solution which uses the web browser as the delivery medium.

Why would an instructor choose to use Collaborate Ultra over Collaborate Classic? Collaborate Ultra is not tied to a course in Blackboard and does not require eRaider login. Students do not need to be enrolled in a course or login to Blackboard to access the session. It is a convenient tool that is ideal for quickly setting up office hours, committee meetings, dissertations/thesis presentations and small group collaborations that are not course related or that involve someone from outside of the University. Students or participants can be given the ability to present content without giving them full Moderator privileges by assigning the Presenter role. Most importantly, there are no Java launcher installs or periodic updates to manage.

Blackboard Collaborate does not replace Skype for Business; rather, it provides additional functionality as well as another option for faculty who want to conduct synchronous discussions outside of a Blackboard course shell. The university will be running both versions of Collaborate, Classic and Ultra, for the foreseeable future so faculty can continue to utilize Collaborate Classic in Blackboard courses. To learn more about Collaborate Ultra, please contact blackboard@ttu.edu.