Similar to Skype or Google Hangouts, but designed specifically for education, Collaborate Ultra is a communication tool integrated within courses in Blackboard that faculty can use to conduct online office hours and synchronous web-based meetings with students.This mobile-friendly tool supports up to 250 participants in a session with live webcam streaming and call-in options in addition to tools for chat, break-out groups, presentation, polling, and recording. For a brief introduction to this tool, see these videos.
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Possible uses for this tool include tutoring, alternative lecture delivery, and authentic assessments requiring live dialogue. When using this tool, the instructor should model best practices in netiquette for online courses, such as joining a webinar session early to resolve technical issues, active contribution to discussion, and muting the microphone when not speaking. See the following resources to get started with this great technology!