New Features in Collaborate
List of new features which have recently been added to Collaborate and upcoming releases.
New Features Recently Added to Collaborate
May 2022, Based on user feedback Collaborate have added small improvements to the user experience of poll reports:
- If an attendee gets disconnected, their poll answers will be saved in the report anyway.
- If the poll question or options is updated by the moderator, the poll report will include the update, and will not include the old version
May 2022, from this release onwards, when a moderator shares a file on the board or a whiteboard, session attendees can download the full document, including annotations, as a PDF file, using new tools in the whiteboard toolbar.
Please Note: If instructors don't want students to download the document, they can use application sharing to share the document.
April 2022, the Engagement Insights Panel is a tool companion for moderators that shows with data how the audience is engaging while the session is occurring; opening the space to think on actions that may help keep or improve the energy of a session.
In this first release, instructors can see at-a-glance the most representative students' interactions: number of hands raised and the number of chat messages sent.
April 2022, with the new recording usage tab, you will get a sense of how your students are engaging with their recordings. The recording usage tabs allows instructors to see how many students have watched and downloaded recordings. And the last time a recording was viewed or downloaded.
This new tab also enables instructors to make data informed decisions on which recordings to keep and which to delete, or download to archive, while supporting their institution’s effort with recording lifecycle management and storage optimization.
March 2022, Collaborate released new functionality which allows more flexibility when creating a large session (250+ people). No session end date, can have an end date more than 24 hours after start date, and can schedule large recurring sessions.
Find out more about creating large sessions on our webpage: Size limit on sessions
The initial release of the new whiteboard didn’t include a pointer for moderators/presenters out of the box. Following feedback from users and highlighting the importance of such a feature in particular for teaching, Blackboard added the pointer back in from the 13th of January. They've also changed the icon so it is more visible and more consistent with commonly known design standards.
With this feature, viewers can choose between a range of speeds (0.5x, 0.75x, 1x, 1.25, 1.5, 2x) to playback recorded video.
A long-awaited feature in Collaborate is for Learn groups to integrate with Collaborate breakout groups. This functionality was released week beginning the 9th of September and allows up to 20 groups to be imported into Collaborate, provided that the groups belong to a group set within your Learn course
How does it work? When you go into Collaborate and set up breakout groups you will get the choice to use Learn Group sets from your Learn course. Collaborate will then populate the groups with the correct people and group name. This new feature should ease the time-consuming set-up when using break out groups in Collaborate.
Collaborate will warn attendees and advise them to update their browser in order to join the Collaborate session if their browser is out of date. Hopefully, this will improve the experience of people joining sessions
Collaborate recordings are now set to private by default, so if you want to open them up to the world (through a direct link), you need to change their availability. A video has been created to show you how to make recordings public.
On 12th of August, Blackboard released a new and improved whiteboard for Collaborate. Some of the new features include better formatting with different fonts, shapes and colours to add to the whiteboard and improvements to usability, as it’s easier to copy text and reuse elements.
The whiteboard now has annotation persistence, meaning if anything is drawn on the whiteboard or slides this will remain if you go to a new slide or stop sharing and come back. This is particularly handy when interacting with breakout groups as you can annotate a file in the main room and send it to the breakout groups for an activity. Then bring the breakout groups annotated file back into the main room.
The new whiteboard does not have the much used pointer tool, but you can easily draw your own (arrow, dot) and move it around the whiteboard as a workaround.
On 17th of June, Collaborate released Gallery View (ability to view up to 25 video feeds) for all roles. If participants want to use gallery view they do so by clicking on the square icon in the top right corner of their Collaborate session. Moderators can choose if they would like the participants to have the gallery view option on/off via the Session settings.
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.
The ability to pin videos was released by Blackboard in May. This is particularly useful in cases where participants need to follow a sign language interpreter or where teaching staff want to focus on particular students. 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.
Now, participants can get support troubleshooting common issues while still in their session. With the new access to support, participants can troubleshoot first and contact their institution administrator for support after. You can find the new Chat Support feature at the end of the My Settings panel.
Now moderators and session owners in Learn or Moodle 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.
Now participants 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.
Update to the the Rich Text Editor (RTE) in the Chat panel. Now participants can format their messages to really get their point across.
Learn and Moodle session only: Chime sessions feature visibly higher quality video and application sharing, as well as benefit from high reliability and scaling.
These features are not yet part of this beta release:
- Breakout groups
- Large scale sessions (more than 250 attendees)
- Joining the session by phone dial in
- It is also not yet suitable for conducting sessions with accessibility requirements (including captioning)
New Features Coming soon to Collaborate
Date to be confirmed: Instructors can now leverage the help of artificial intelligence to improve the accessibility of their recordings (available in English only for now). Creating captioning for recordings from scratch can be very time consuming for instructors or accessibility staff. With this new feature, Collaborate gives you a head start by automatically creating a transcription based on speech to text recognition technology. After the session, the instructor or session owner can create the auto-caption. These captions can be reviewed, downloaded, and edited if necessary.
For more details on this please see the Captions documentation.