Reviews (1-24 of 24)
- The ability to break students out into smaller groups and then bring them back to the main room
- Having all tools (chat, participant management) all on one page
- Quality of video in large meetings
- Price is high compared to competitors
While Skype and Google Hangouts are useful for video chat, they aren't designed for academic purposes and lack many of the tools available in Bb Collaborate.
- The Whiteboard feature is perfect for tutoring. We use it to write out formulas, draw diagrams, etc while in video chat to enhance explanations.
- The file attachment feature is also very handy. This means we don't have to do a follow-up with a student using their email to send files of handouts, etc.
- It's great that we only have to share a classroom access link for a student to enter a session. With other products, they had to set up a username and log-in with an account. Link access means 1 less hassle.
- We are currently beginning to use the "record session" feature video sessions to use as training for new employees.
- I recently tried to use the Share Screen feature, which would be extremely valuable for online tutoring, but despite installing the additional Blackboard Screensharing app, it won't work. I have not yet contacted support to get help with it, but it seems this should work when one follows the instructions.
- It's not incredibly intuitive in its setup. For example, to get the "share video" icon to appear (the only way you can activate the camera to start video feed), you have to do a sound and video test first.
It is not as interactive as some video tutoring platforms I have seen, but it is something that our support services at school have access to with a site license, so it's ideal for us.
Collaborate Ultra is integrated with our LMS (Blackboard, though they support other integrations), so essentially there is no setup involved for the faculty member. Students just click a link, type in their name, and they are able to join the session, simple as that. Smartphones and tablets are also supported.
The Collaborate team has been aggressively working on making the tool more and more accessible.
- Very simple to use. While not overbearingly rich with features, there are a lot of features available to get workflows done.
- Allows for several options to make a session accessible, while the developers are working on even more ways.
- Mobile friendly.
- Takes advantage of features available in Firefox and Google Chrome browsers for application sharing; these features are not yet available in Safari or Microsoft Edge.
- Enables teachers to upload PowerPoint presentations and display them for the class
- Allows multiple people to be present at one time
- Has adequate tools for teachers to be able to engage class in interaction (polling, raising hand, allowing microphone and video camera sharing)
- Blackboard Collaborate frequently causes us to see "Exception errors"
- Students and teachers regularly get "kicked out" of the online classroom/lose connectivity
- PowerPoints are static. Does not support animations unless using another program to upload.
- The ability to host a number of people in a meeting and manage their participation via text and audio.
- The screen sharing features allows presenters to demonstrate procedures exactly as instructed on the screen. This also allows the presenter to permit others to share their screens if they need clarification of something or to share further ideas.
- The software gives you the freedom to use a whiteboard to draw/demonstrate concepts to students and other employees.
- Some of the newest computer high resolution screens are not as compatible with the interface. The font and windows are much smaller and the user is not able to increase the size of the windows to make it easier to read/navigate.
- The audio can sometimes be inconsistent and tune in and out when someone is speaking. This is not every time though and many times the audio is clear.
- The login process takes a bit longer to get into the program. You have to go through a few step process and loading time to get into the application.
- Whiteboard: Professors use this feature to explain topics by drawing some diagrams on the Whiteboard.
- Share Documents: This feature is widely used by the professors to share their notes with the class.
- Breakout Groups: Professor use this feature to create groups in the class for some tasks.
- Complexity: Some non-technical professors find it difficult to use different features of Blackboard Collaborate.
- Video Quality: Some times Blackboard Collaborate provides very poor quality videos even if there is a good internet connection.
- Audio-Video Synchronization: In the recordings, the video does not keep up with the audio and you will sometimes see that they are out of sync.
- The synchronous environment is great for online and hybrid courses. Students are able to ask questions and receive feedback in real time.
- The video option is great, especially for 100% online courses. It gives a face to the professors name--humanizes us a little bit for the students.
- The record option is wonderful for students who cannot be in class, students with special needs, enrichment/supplement, and content reviews.
- Logging in can be challenging for students who are not exactly computer literate. The program's reliance on an updated Java can be a real source of frustration for students and parents.
- Accessing sessions once they've been recorded is a bit cumbersome. It is especially difficult for professors who are not as computer literate.
- Accessing a virtual classroom could be improved. I would like to see a customizable "button" or "widget" option that can be placed on a professor's webpage.
- Collaborate makes it easy to share screens, presentations, and images in a digital classroom, which is essential when teaching difficult concepts to people who are not in the same room as the presenter.
- Collaborate even allows for small-group work WITHIN a larger group. Our teacher was able to break us out into smaller "rooms" for small discussions and presentation prep.
- The basic controls and modules are easy to learn and teach with presenters.
- Some of the more advanced features are difficult to use.
- Troubleshooting at home can be difficult--if it doesn't open for some reason, etc.
- I have been kicked off repeatedly before (although this might be more my own computer functionality, rather than the program).
- Sometimes there is a lag, causing the presenter's voice to need to catch up/speed up.
Currently, some instructors use it for virtual office hours, some use it for lecture capture and still others use it for remote lecturing back to their class when they are off campus. Some of our organizations use it for web conferencing as well. With the greater availability of the tool next semester, I figure the use cases will at least be the same but more likely new ideas for using it will come about.
- The new UI is so much more simpler to use.
- Every month more features from the classic UI are being implemented.
- In my experience, the only bad aspect that I can bring up is that the video does not keep up with the audio and you will sometimes see that they are out of sync.
- I have also read that some people are experiencing degraded audio in their recordings. During the session the audio is fine but in the recordings it is not good.
- Blackboard Collaborate allows for simultaneous video, chat, audio, and sharing and does so in a very efficient way.
- I really like the feature that allows you to record the entire event, and how well that recording captures the session.
- It is generally easy to use, once it's open.
- Trying to get started can get very confusing. If you've already downloaded it once, sometimes it doesn't seem to find the previous downloads.
- When you're downloading, there's no indication that anything's happening until suddenly a small screen appears. This has caused me and others to start the download again and end up with two different windows open.
- Screen sharing can be glitchy - the person sharing can't necessarily see how fast (or how slow) the scrolling is happening on the other end. I usually have a second computer set up so I can "see" as both the facilitator and a participant.
- Teal time communication with students.
- Sessions with students or in meetings can pass documents if needed in real time.
- Can share not only my desktop but an internet link if needed.
- Sometimes the settings seem a little complex for instructors. There have been vast improvements over the last year in this regard, but I lost some of my instructors due to the setup issues and now have to coax them back in. Making the setup as seamless as possible is very important when trying to get adoption from faculty members.
- Very easy to launch
- Lot's of tools available to communicate/interact, (emoticons, chat, voice, hand raise).
- Simple interface - easy to navigate and use.
- Have a more detailed polling option that allows you to add questions in with the answers instead of using the whiteboard or PowerPoint.
- Ability to play a video simultaneously.
However, in many ways I wish the organization would have adopted Blackboard Collaborate as it allows students and faculty easy ways to connect and since LMS evaluations take a long time the lack of having a tool like Blackboard Collaborate is highly noticed.
In our evaluation, we suggested that Blackboard Collaborate would be used solely for academic purposes and in addition to other stuff, it would solve the problem of remote meetings, team collaboration and online office hours.
- Connecting students: Collaborate allowed students to connect with each other based on their current classes and past classes.
- Dynamic permissions: Allowing students to change their own permissions so student could set the level of access they wanted for other students. They could do this while still allowing instructor and TA access at the classroom level.
- Making the LMS more engaging: Collaborate made Blackboard seem more like Facebook which may have made some students and faculty more interested.
- Video and audio was lacking when we evaluated it.
- Multiple language inputs were not well developed when we looked at it - and what was there was very klunky and confusing.
- Security wasn't clear. I didn't understand how my organizations information was separated from others. (I'm not really sure of the technical stuff here - but our security guys were not happy with Blackboard's explanations to their questions.)
- It has a user friendly interface that allows someone to quickly become comfortable in the virtual environment.
- It gives moderators control of participant tools and makes classroom management easier.
- It provides more features than other web conferencing tools.
- It would benefit in providing more customizable options for the moderator and preset settings.
- I would appreciate expanding to a wider variety of file formats that are acceptable on the platform.
- Since the majority of presentations are in PowerPoint format, it would be nice if the animations would integrate in Blackboard Collaborate when presenting.
- The platform would benefit from an updated look and feel.
- Real-time interaction using VoIP and web cams among a group of students in an online class.
- Polling and breakout rooms during a presentation to make the conversations lively and engaging for a distance audience.
- Allows for the recording of key presentations to be viewed at a later time.
- As Blackboard Collaborate is dependent on Java, we have had issues with users accessing the tool depending on recent Java updates and compatibility issues with browsers and operating systems. However, Blackboard's new version, Collaborate Ultra, will be moving away from Java which should resolve many of these issues.
- Sharing of flattened (image) Power Point slides
- Recording/capture of sessions for later review in mp3, mp4, and proprietary playback formats
- Real-time audio and video interactivity, with tools for text-based supplemental interaction
- Audio and Video quality is in need of performance
- Ease of access/use (e.g. launcher software is required by the current version to gain access)
- Overall responsiveness is in need of improvement, as audio and video delays are fairly commonplace
- Allows for sharing of the whiteboard between participants
- Easy to enter rooms
- Ease of recordings and retrieval of recordings
- The tools that are available...text, write, chat, talk, app share, go directly to videos
- The app sharing feature - it is great that it exists, but it is clumsy and lags behind. It is also hard sometimes for the 'sharer' to tell if they are sharing or not. There is also a lag between the sharer and the participants.
- The tool bar seems to get stuck sometimes. I will try to write or highlight and I cannot switch between the different options.
- The Blackboard Collaborate app commands are hidden.
- It would be nice if the chat feature to the moderator went to the main room chat by default, rather than the moderator chat.
- Its ability to share the presenter's desktop to distance learning classrooms/students.
- Its ability to share the presenter's video feeds to distance learning classrooms/students.
- A particularly nice feature is the ability for an instructor to be able to share his notes with the class.
- It is nice that students can participate in the class as if in the classroom using a chat session.
- Students can actually see the instructor which makes them have a more personal experience.
- Whiteboard feature.
- The ability to upload assignments and docs is a nice features.
- Synchronization across devices and quick syncing time.
- Ability to make timed quizzes.
- Easy to learn interface for instructors and from what feedback I have heard it is easy for students to use.
- Loading of presenter slides is not as intuitive as it could be.
- The interactive whiteboard allows instructors to load PowerPoint or other presentations into the display which can then be highlighted, marked on, typed on, or used for real-time presentations with students.
- Blackboard Collaborate features a robust desktop sharing component that allows instructors to share their entire desktop, portions of their desktop, or just specific applications with participants. They can also pass control over those applications to session participants. This is very useful for demonstrating software programs that session participants may not have on their own computers.
- The user feedback buttons in Blackboard Collaborate allow session participants to express a variety of emotions during online sessions through buttons that represent a smiling face, thumbs down, and a confused face. In a face-to-face classroom, instructors who notice a confused face on some of their students know to stop and re-explain a concept. These digital faces provide the same interaction in the virtual classroom.
- Currently, the audio and video features are enabled separately from each other. You could end up in a situation where 6 people in a 12-person classroom have their cameras enabled and 6 different people have their microphones enabled. It would be ideal if one "Talk" button turned on that person's audio and video simultaneously.
- The number of active participants able to turn on their microphone or camera is still limited compared to other products on the market. Competing products allow dozens of participants to enable their audio and video during the entire session without having to switch back and forth as Blackboard Collaborate requires with larger sessions.
- Blackboard Collaborate still relies on Java to function. As such, it has to bundle a Java launcher application in order to open sessions. Similar products can function using HTML5 entirely within modern browsers.
- Desktop sharing is not visible on mobile apps although the chat, whiteboard, and audio is fully functional.
- Fast synchronization accross devices upon a change
- Well organized and simple to use
- Able to take short quizzes and put a timer on them
- Able to upload documents for assignments and provide a quick review of that document
- First time users have it hard to understand how to use it. Maybe, provide a "User Guide for the first-time log in users" would help to navigate easier with Blackboard.
- It is convenient and easy to set up virtual meetings at any time.
- Quick and simple access that people can use easily.
- Easy ways for teachers, students, and classmates to engage with one another.
- It can be hard to use all of the features when accessing from a mobile device.
- Advance features like desktop conferencing and multi-point video are more likely to have glitches.
- The numerous components can make it difficult for new users.
- File sharing can be done in session and is quick and seamless.
- No software downloads are required if you are using the Ultra version.
- Very user friendly.
- I've run into issues with downloading the launcher especially for remote users.
- There are some known issues with the launcher not playing recordings of sessions.
- There is a bit of lag when sharing the desktop or trying to do a web tour.
Blackboard Collaborate Scorecard Summary
Feature Scorecard Summary
About Blackboard Collaborate
Blackboard Collaborate is an online, collaborative learning platform well-suited for the education industry and corporate learning needs. It includes features such as screen and application sharing, web conferencing, and integration with Blackboard Learn to provide a complete learning management system (LMS).
Blackboard Collaborate offers a browser-based web conferencing tool to facilitate interaction between instructors and students. It has a classroom chat feature that offers a messaging platform for students to share images, text, audio, and video. It also supports live captioning to meet the accessibility needs for deaf and hard of hearing students with its Blackboard Live Closed Captioning Service feature.
Its interactive Whiteboard feature is used for conducting presentations using PowerPoint slides for engaging multiple participants with a single presentation. However, Whiteboard content can be added or edited directly from Blackboard Collaborate without opening PowerPoint. And despite being browser-based, Blackboard Collaborate does offer some features through its Blackboard Collaborate ™ Mobile app.
Blackboard Collaborate Technical Details