8 Recommendations for Conducting Quality Collaborate Ultra Sessions

When it comes to conducting online classes, there are three crucial elements that contribute to an effective online session as follows: the quality of the session, the confidence of attendees in dealing with Collaborate Ultra and the ability of the moderator to control and monitor what’s going on during the session.

Thus, from these three perspectives, below are 8 recommendations that contribute to conducting a quality online session using Collaborate Ultra.

 

 

 

Recommendations:

 

1) Close all unneeded programs on your computer before you start the session.

 

2) Only use up-to-date Chrome or Firefox browsers.

 

3) Introduce your students to Collaborate Ultra features and to Breakout Groups. Having your students confident in using the Collaborate Ultra tool to engage and participate will definitely make your session more effective. You can use the following presentation as an introduction at the beginning of the semester. You can also share the following video (Collaborate Ultra – Student Experience) with your students on Blackboard.

Note: you need to be logged into www.office.com with your HCT username and password to view the presentation or video.

Introductry-slides

 

4) Disable sharing videos when it’s not needed. This is to maintain the quality of the audio during the session as sharing videos will increase the amount of bandwidth used. So, it is recommended for the instructor and students to not share their videos unless needed for instruction. The session moderator can disable sharing videos for all participants from the session settings.

From a pedagogical aspect, the instructor and students can share videos at the beginning of the session to welcome each other and feel more connected. But once the session starts, students should be focusing on the shared content, not the presenter’s or attendee’s webcam.

Disable-video

 

5) Share presentations using Share Files instead of Share Application unless required for the instruction. Share Files is better for the session bandwidth and it is easier to control. Ensure also to convert the PowerPoint to a PDF file before uploading it, as this is what the file will look like after it’s been converted by the conversion tool in Collaborate. Also, it is quicker to upload a PDF file than a PowerPoint file to Collaborate.

This doesn’t mean that Share Application cannot be used, but now you know that it requires more bandwidth. So, if you are sharing applications in a session and your students report issues in audio or streaming quality, then you should switch to Share Files.

Share-Files

 

6) Keep an eye on the network connection. You can check the connection status for everyone in the session, including yourself from the Attendees Panel. You can tell if the network connection is excellent, good, fair, or poor. You can also identify if there is a delay for your/attendee’s audio data. For more information, see this article.

NetStat-attendees

 

7) Disable audio notifications for chat messages. This is to avoid distractions. You can keep the visual notifications and monitor the chat panel for notifications alerts. You may also disable other audio notifications as convenient for your session.

 Disable-audio-notifications-1

 

8) Practice conducting your session and breakout groups through a demo session and demo participants. Create a demo session (other than the ones for instruction) and join it as you join your regular session. For demo participants, open another browser tab and join the demo session using the guest link. Ensure the guest role is set to ‘Participant’. You can join through multiple tabs with the same guest link. This way you can have as many demo participants as needed. Load your presentation into the demo session, check its appearance, check your audio and practice starting breakout groups.

Steps:

a) Create a demo session with guest access enabled, and guest role set to ‘Participant’.

b) Join the demo session as you join your regular session.

Demo-session

c) Copy the guest link and paste it into another browser tab then join as a participant using the guest link.

  Join-guest-link

d) For more demo participants, repeat c.

 

References:

Ultra Experience – Bandwidth Consumption FAQ’s

Ultra Experience – Best Practices for Using Collaborate with the Ultra Experience Interface

Blackboard Help

 

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