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Online Lectures

Collaborate Ultra is an online classroom tool available for all staff who are enrolled on a module or organisation in Minerva with a teaching role. It can be used to host online lectures with up to 250 participants by default.

SES have provided additional guidance for the 2021 session on using Collaborate Ultra in online teaching.

In general it is recommended that the Course Room is used to host lectures. However, lectures with 250-500 participants cannot use the Course Room and will need to make use of individual sessions which can be extented to accomodate 500 via the session settings. For more information, follow the advice in our tutorial guide, using individual sessions for each lecture.

How to add the room

To use Collaborate Ultra for an online lecture, it is recommended that you use the Course Room. This is a virtual classroom which is available to use at any time and requires little setup.

Setting up a link within the module/organisation will allow entry to the virtual classroom. Students should be invited to attend at a specified time, as they would a physical teaching room.

To set up a link to the virtual classroom, go to an area in the module to add the link (we recommend Collaboration) and go to Tools > More Tools > Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

Collaboration menu item Adding a Collaborate link

Change the title to Join Course Room and provide some further information in the text box. Let students know that this link will be used to access the virtual classroom for online lectures and tutorials, and to arrive at least 5 minutes before the start time on their timetable. Click Submit. This has now created a link to the tool.

Make the Collaoration menu item available to students if itsn't already by selecting the drop down options next the the menu item and Show Link.

Show link option

When a user clicks on the Collaborate Ultra link, they should select Course Room to access the virtual classroom for lectures.

Course room icon

Students will be assigned a Participant role when they enter the room. Staff will automatically have a Moderator role.

When an instructor clicks on the Course Room, settings can be accessed by clicking the cog icon.

Settings icon

Instructors should click on Course Room and then Join Course Room to enter. This will open the Course Room in a new tab.

The Collaborate Panel in the bottom right corner will be able to tell you who is in the room, allow you to write chat messages and share content.

You can close the room by closing the tab, or clicking the ‘session menu’ in the top left corner.

Sharing Content/Presentations

At least 15 minutes before your lecture is due to start, enter the session as above. Click on the purple arrow icon in the bottom right to open the Collaborate Panel.

Screenshot of the Collaborate purple arrow icon

Select the ‘Share Content’ icon. Screenshot of the Share Content icon, a square box with an arrow pointing left

Select ‘Share Files’, then either drag and drop or upload your Powerpoint presentation. This will create your slides so that they are ready to use. Click ‘Share Now’ when you are ready.

How to record a session

You need to inform students if a session will be recorded - see our full guidance on recordings for information.

If you wish to record your lecture, you must start and stop this manually. To start recording, go to the session menu in the top left corner and click ‘Start Recording’. Repeat this at the end of session and click ‘Stop Recording’.

Recordings take a few minutes to process, after which they will be available for both instructors and students.

To find recordings, go back to the lecture link that you set up within the module. Click on the menu icon towards the top left, then Recordings. All recordings will be listed here.

Equipment and location

It is recommended that all both instructors and students use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to access Collaborate Ultra. Please note that Internet Explorer is not supported.

Instructors will need to use headphones with a microphone, and a webcam if they wish to be seen. Make sure you enter the session 15 minutes before the start time to check that your microphone/camera are working.

Where possible, use a wired internet connection for the best experience.

Help and support

We recommend that you read through the help pages provided at