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UMBC's Blackboard Collaborate receives regular updates as part of Blackboard's continuous delivery model. As a software industry standard practice, continuous delivery updates are small, may include maintenance, enhancements and/or new features, and are delivered on a more frequent and consistent basis.

The most recent updates are posted to the top of this page.

August 12-19, 2021 (21.14)

Feature

About

Example

New whiteboard tools

With the new whiteboard all attendees can enjoy better formatting, usability, and annotation persistence. With the improvements to the annotation tools, attendees can enjoy these features on a session whiteboard or shared file.

  • Better formatting: Pencil thickness, fonts and font size, shapes with color fill, arrows, and more are added to the annotation tools.
  • Usability: It's easier to copy and reuse elements and paste text. You can now erase part of the annotations or clear all. There are multi line text blocks, text wrapping, and safeguards before clearing all annotations.
  • Interaction with breakout groups: You can annotate a file in the main room and then share it with the breakout groups including annotations. You can bring a breakout group's own annotated file into the main room together with its annotations.

    More on sharing files with breakout groups

  • Annotation persistence: Annotations made to the whiteboard, or on a file, are saved in the session. You can share something new, go to a new slide, or stop sharing. The annotations remain. Select Clear Annotations to remove them all.

    TIP: Create a blank file of several pages to have a multi-page whiteboard.

The new whiteboard doesn't include a pointer, but you can easily draw your own (arrow, dot) and move it around easily.

July 8, 2021 (v21.12)

Feature

About

Example

Dynamic gallery view adjustment

Streaming videos can demand a lot from your network connection or device, especially with a high number of videos such as the 25 at once that gallery view now supports. Collaborate will now monitor your experience and when the load is too much will automatically reduce the number of videos to 4, to improve your experience. When it does, it will show you a notification in the banner at the top of your screen.

You can also turn the full gallery view off yourself to limit to 4 videos, if you want. Go to My Settings, open the Audio and Video Settings, and uncheck the Auto (recommended) check box under Video Quality Experience. To turn Gallery view back, on check the Auto (recommended) check box any time you want.

User experience improvements

Based on feedback, Blackboard made a couple improvements to Collaborate.

  • In the recordings interface, previously the "date" was indicating the end date and time. This will now indicate the start date and time of the recording. The interface also include the duration.
  • Bb have removed some ambiguous emojis from the emoji picker in chat.


July 18, 2021 (v21.10)

Feature

About

Example

Gallery view for participants

Gallery view will be available for participants. 

NOTE: When participants enter a room, the default view is the usual speaker view with 1 big video along the top and small videos underneath. If participants want to use gallery view, they can pick the view in the top right corner.

When gallery view is available for participants at the institution level, a new option appears for moderators that allows them to decide to limit the number of videos that participants see to 4, in order to limit distractions, while moderators continue to see all available videos.

June 10, 2021 (v21.10)

Feature

About

Example

Share content from mobile devices

Moderators can share a camera on their mobile device as content on the screen. When attendees share their video using using the main tools along the bottom of the screen, their front facing camera is used. This ability to share the camera as content on a mobile device means that moderators can now choose to use their back or rear facing camera as well.

Only one camera can be shared at a time from a mobile device. Any video already shared will end to show the video from the new camera.

May 13, 2021 (v21.08)

Feature

About

Example

Video pinning

It's important for you to choose who you want to focus on in a session. Instructors may want to keep a close eye on students who are struggling with the course. Students may want to follow a sign language interpreter, stay focused on the instructor, or see their study buddies. Now with Gallery view, attendees can pin videos so they are always in view.

When you pin a video, it moves the video to the top of the list and pins, or anchors, it there. It doesn't change the number of videos you see, just the order you see them in.

April 8, 2021 (v21.06)

Feature

About

Example

Gallery view

Moderators can see up to 25 videos at a time in Gallery view. This is the ideal maximum number of videos to show at one time and still see enough detail for the non-verbal feedback instructors are looking for. With the zoom controls, Tiled view, and Speaker view moderators have even greater control over how they want to see their students.

March 11, 2021 (v21.04)

Feature

About

Example

Collab chatbot available in multiple places

Attendees have more access to immediate support when they need it. The Collaborate Support chatbot, released in January in sessions, is now also available on some error pages, as well as on the Report an Issue panel.

Session disconnect after long period

By default, sessions that last longer than 12 hours are disconnected. While sessions can be scheduled for any length of time including no end date, it's unusual that anyone stays in the session for more than 12 hours at a time. We assume it is unintended and disconnect the room. Attendees can rejoin the session, if they need.

January 14, 2021 (v20.24)

Feature

About

Example

Support chat bot 

Attendees can get support troubleshooting common issues while still in their session using an AI-chatbot. With the new access to support, attendees can troubleshoot first and contact their institution administrator for support after, if they still need.

Find the new Chat Support feature at the end of the My Settings panel.

Visibility of recording privacy status

Moderators and session owners will know at-a-glance if a recording is locked or public. Locked means only course members can view the video. Anyone not enrolled in a course can't view the video even with a link. Public means anyone with a link can view the recording. You can change the recording sharing privacy in the Recording settings.

March 11, 2021 (v21.04)

Feature

About

Example

Long session disconnectNoth

Attendees can get support troubleshooting common issues while still in their session using an AI-chatbot. With the new access to support, attendees can troubleshoot first and contact their institution administrator for support after, if they still need.

Find the new Chat Support feature at the end of the My Settings panel.

January 14, 2021 (v20.24)

Feature

About

Example

Support chat bot 

Attendees can get support troubleshooting common issues while still in their session using an AI-chatbot. With the new access to support, attendees can troubleshoot first and contact their institution administrator for support after, if they still need.

Find the new Chat Support feature at the end of the My Settings panel.

Visibility of recording privacy status

Moderators and session owners will know at-a-glance if a recording is locked or public. Locked means only course members can view the video. Anyone not enrolled in a course can't view the video even with a link. Public means anyone with a link can view the recording. You can change the recording sharing privacy in the Recording settings.

December 10, 2020 (v20.22)

Feature

About

Examples

Chat mentions

Interactions with peers and instructors can lead to greater student success. It's important for students to be able to engage socially and collaboratively. Attendees can tag someone in Chat when they mention them. Anyone tagged is notified so they don't miss it. Type the at (@) symbol and start typing who in the session you want to tag. Select the name when it appears in the list. Moderators are identified with a MOD label so they are easy to find.

Attendees can turn off chat mention notifications in their personal notification settings.

Text formatting

Blackboard updated the Rich Text Editor (RTE) in the Chat panel. Now attendees can format their messages to really get their point across.

October 30, 2020 (v20.18)

Feature

About

Examples

Profanity filter update

Blackboard applied an update to Collaborate. Based on user feedback, Bb made changes to the library of words removed by the profanity filter in English, Spanish, and French.

This feature primarily filters out some of the most commonly used offensive terms relating to race/national origin and gender identity/expression, as well as derogatory slang for body parts or sexual acts. It is in English, French, and Spanish. It is primarily intended for use by K12 schools.  The default is that this feature is disabled. By its nature, no such list will be complete and is likely to be over- or under-inclusive.

Changes in profanity filter settings will apply for new sessions and subsequent session recordings. Reloading the current session is not sufficient.

See → How do I enable the profanity filter in a Collaborate session?

Recording processing statusCollaborate now shows the status of recording processing. You can see if a recording is still processing or ready to watch from the Recordings page in the Scheduler.

September 10, 2020 (v20.16)

Feature

About

Examples

Recording reminder

Collaborate reminds moderators to start recording the session before they begin. As soon as moderators join the session, Collaborate presents a recording reminder. The reminder is visible until the moderator starts the recording or closes the reminder.

Secure recording links

Public access to recordings is now off by default for new sessions. Only session owners and students enrolled in the course can see the recording. Any links shared to the recording will no longer work when the recording is secure. When public access is off, the recording is secure.

Instructors can choose to allow public access in the Recording Settings.  When the Public access check box is selected, a shareable link to the recording is available. Anybody with the link can view the recording while public access is allowed. If the instructor clears the Public access check box later, the shareable link stops working.

August 6, 2020 (v20.14)

Feature

About

Examples

Profanity filter in Collab sessions

If someone uses inappropriate words in a Collaborate session chat, those words are filtered out and are replaced with a series of stars. The chat profanity filter is off by default. Moderators can turn it on in Session Settings.

See → How do I enable the profanity filter in a Collaborate session?

View previous updates to Collaborate