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Conducting Online Class Meetings and Office Hours

Using Blackboard (Bb) Collaborate Ultra tool to host synchronous class meetings and office hours.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a web conferencing tool specifically for teaching and learning. 

Conducting an Online Class Synchronously

When conducting a synchronous class meeting online, understand that you cannot see visual cues from students and have the same dynamics as you do in an in-person class. You will need to use strategies and tools to engage students.  Bb Collaborate Ultra has many features to help you make learning in your synchronous class meetings active and engaging. Watch a short video below to get an overview of the main features.


Download the PowerPoint slides and upload them to your first online meeting on Bb Collaborate Ultra to show students how to use different features of the Collaborate Ultra user interface.

Creating and Editing a Bb Collaborate Ultra Session

  1. On your course menu, click "Collaborate Ultra." If you do not see it, create one by clicking the "+" sign on the top left of the course menu > Tool Link. Type in a meaningful name. For Type, click the drop-down and select "Blackboard Collaborate Ultra," check the checkbox for "Available to users" and click Submit. It will be added at the bottom of your course menu. You can move it up by dragging the up-and-down arrow on the left.  Then click on it. 
  2. On the Blackboard Collaborate page, click "Create Session."
  3. Type in a meaningful session name.
  4. Complete the rest of the settings is quite straight forward.  However, if you do need more detailed guidance, check out Bb's Session Settings page. 

Using Different Features to Accomplish the Teaching and Learning Goals

With Bb Collaborate Ultra, you can share PowerPoint, PDF files and images along with your voice, share your screen or a specific application on your computer, poll students or use Whiteboard to gauge their understanding, interact with them by audio or chat, break out into groups for collaboration, and more.  You may figure out how each of the features works easily by trying it out from the intuitive user interface. You can always go to Bb Collaborate Moderate Sessions page to learn more details.

Obtaining Session Attendance Report

After your session is completed, follow the steps in the tutorial to access, view and download the attendance report. The complete attendance report may appear a few hours after the session is completed.

Accessing Session Recordings

  1. On the "Blackboard Collaborate Ultra" page, click the 3-line (e.g. hamburger) icon on the top left.

    3-line or hamburg icon

  2. Select Recordings.

    Click Recordings tab

  3. You will see the links to the recent recordings. Click the link to the recording you want to watch to play.
  4. If you want to watch a recording older than those listed in the "Recent Recordings," click the Dropdown box on the right and select "Recordings in a range." Pick a date range, the recordings in this date range will be listed.

    Select a time range for recordings

Hosting Online Office Hours

  • Creating a session for your office hour each week or create weekly repeat sessions (by checking the checkbox for "Repeat Session" in the session settings) to set up weekly office hours for the entire semester at once.  
  • Using Breakout rooms to talk with individual students privately if necessary