Blackboard Collaborate

What is Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Edition is an interactive web conferencing tool, also referred to as a virtual classroom environment. It is an online environment that can be used to facilitate virtual events such as lectures, meetings, presentations, workshop, and virtual office hours.

What is the purpose of Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing supports audio and video communication for learning and collaboration. It can be used: 

  • to provide lectures or other presentations
  • for virtual guest lecturers and collaborations with external colleagues
  • for distance education
  • to conduct virtual meetings
  • to conduct office hours or interviews
  • synchronously or asynchronously

Where to find Support

This tool is not centrally supported

Help and Documentation

Tool Evaluation

Functionality overall rating: 2 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 2 stars


Collaborate has a standard capacity of 250 that can be scaled up to 500. Different sessions could be created for smaller sub-groups or communities of practice.

Ease of use rating:3 stars

Ease of Use

Collaborate UE has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and personalize.

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

Western technical support/help documentation is readily available. See the Blackboard Collaborate UE page in OWL Help Wiki or contact the Helpdesk.

Hypermediality rating: 3 stars


Collaborate UE allows users to communicate through different channels (audio, video, whiteboard, screensharing) and allows for non-sequential, flexible/adaptive engagement with material.

Accessibility overall rating: 2 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 3 stars

AODA Friendly

Collaborate UE meets accessibility guidelines (AODA and the W3C WCAG 2.0 standards). Note that moderators can assign a participant to be a captioner to provide viewers with captions.
User Foused Participation rating: 3 stars

User-focused participation

Collaborate UE is designed to address the needs of diverse users, their various literacies, and capabilities, thereby widening opportunities for participation in learning.

Required Equipment rating: 2 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of Collaborate UE requires, at a minimum, audio. For optimal use, participants are encouraged to use a headset (headphones and microphone) and a built-in or external video camera.

Technical overall rating: 3 starsTechnical

Rating Rationale
OWL Integration rating: 3 stars

OWL Integration

Collaborate UE is already embedded and fully integrated into OWL. See How to Use Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing section above for instructions on set up.

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Users can effectively utilize Collaborate UE with any standard, up-to-date operating system (i.e. Windows, MacOS, etc.)

Web Browser rating: 3 stars

Web Browser

Instructors and students can effectively utilize Collaborate UE with any standard, up-to-date web browser (i.e. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Edge etc.). Blackboard Collaborate browser support

Additional Tech Requirements rating: 3 stars

Additional Tech Requirements

Users do not need to download additional software or browser extensions.

Mobile Design overall rating: 1 star Mobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

Blackboard Collaborate has a web application that is available through web browsers on all mobile devices.

Mobile Functionality rating: 2 stars

Mobile Functionality

Basic features of the main tool are functional on the mobile app but advanced features are limited.


Offline Access rating: 1 star

Offline Access

The platform cannot be used in any capacity offline.

Usage and account set up overall rating: 3 starsUsage and Account Set Up

Rating Rationale
Sign Up/Sign In rating: 3 stars

Sign Up/Sign In

Use of Collaborate UE does not require the creation of an external account or additional login beyond a Western Identity and access to OWL.

Cost of Use rating:  3 stars

Cost of Use

All aspects of Collaborate UE can be used free of charge to Western account holders. Western has a license allowing campus-wide use. Non-Western participants can join a session created and hosted by a Western moderator at no cost.

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 3 star

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

Users can record and save sessions. In session, click More Tools button and select Start/Stop Recording. Recordings can be viewed or downloaded.

Data Privacy and Ownership rating: 3 star

Data Privacy and Ownership

Users maintain ownership and copyright of their intellectual property/data; the moderator can keep data private and decide if/how data is to be shared.

Social Presence overall rating: 2 starsSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 3 stars


Collaborate UE has the capacity to support a community of learning through both asynchronous and synchronous opportunities for communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning between users.

User Accountability rating: 2 stars

User Accountability

Instructors cannot control participant anonymity (participants can join under any name) but Collaborate UE provides some solution for holding participants accountable for their actions (participants can be removed from session by moderator)

Diffusion rating: 2 star


Student familiarity with Collaborate UE is likely mixed, some will lack basic technical competence with its functions.

Instructor Presence overall rating: 2 starsInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating:3 stars


Collaborate UE has easy-to-use features that would significantly improve an instructor’s ability to be present with students via active management, monitoring, and engagement.

Customization rating: 3 stars


Collaborate UE is adaptable to its environment: easily customized to suit the classroom context and targeted learning outcomes.

Learning Analytics rating: 2 stars

Learning Analytics

Instructor can monitor students’ performance on limited measures (i.e. conversation, feedback, etc.)

Cognitive Presence overall rating: 3 starsCognitive Presence

Rating Rationale
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s) rating: 3 stars

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

Collaborate UE enhances engagement in targeted cognitive task(s) that were once overly complex or inconceivable through other means.

Higher Order Thinking rating: 3 stars

Higher Order Thinking

Use of Collaborate UE easily facilitates students to exercise higher order thinking skills (given consideration to design, facilitation, and direction from instructor)

Feedback on Learning rating:3 stars

Feedback on Learning

Through Collaborate UE, students can regularly receive formative feedback on learning (i.e. they can track their performance, monitor their improvement, test their knowledge, etc.)

Security and Privacy

This tool has been formally reviewed by Western’s Technology Risk Assessment Committee

Security and Privacy Flags

Information Collection

  • Application collects information that could identify the user specifically (email address, class schedule, etc..)


  • Application's Terms of Conditions or End User License Agreement poses a risk of binding the institution to an agreement thereby requiring legal counsel to review the application. However, this is mitigated as it has undergone legal review during the Technology Risk Assessment process.

Last Updated: September 23, 2021


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