Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate and its newer version, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, are easy-to-use web conferencing tools that enable you to create virtual classrooms and meeting spaces. People at various sites can participate as if they are attending in person.

Key Features

  • Share live and recorded audio/video meetings, lectures, training sessions, and any other events easily via the web
  • Highly customizable, browser-based product
  • Screen, application and presentation sharing
  • Whiteboard and interactive polling
  • Public/private text chat
  • Mobile apps for access from iOS and Android devices
  • Integrated Telephony allowing participants to call in for audio


Both versions of Blackboard Collaborate (the original version and Ultra) are integrated with the Canvas learning management system (LMS). They are also available as the “Web Conferencing (Collaborate)” app in the MyUW portal.

Instructional Uses

Web conferencing enables instructors to optimize their time and engage students in new and stimulating ways. It can be used to support traditional, blended or online courses. Current UW-Madison instructors are using it to deliver:

  • Online lectures
  • Guest speakers
  • Virtual office hours
  • Student group projects
  • Student presentations
  • Paper and project conferences
  • Virtual and outside class review sessions and more

For more information about how to use Blackboard Collaborate for instruction, read our “What are the pedagogical uses for web conferencing” guide.

Getting Started

If you’re new to Blackboard Collaborate, it may be helpful to check out this feature comparison of web conferencing tools. If you’re an instructor using Collaborate from within your Canvas course, you will find “BBCollaborate Ultra” on the side navigation bar, but will need to add “BBCollaborate Original” to the sidebar if you wanted to use the non-Ultra version in your course. For information on adding Blackboard Collaborate and more information on using the tools in Canvas, refer to the Learn@UW-Madison Knowledgebase for helpful information on how to get started.

To get started with using Blackboard Collaborate or Collaborate Ultra in the MyUW portal, see this getting started KnowledgeBase document.

Helpful Resources


The DoIT Help Desk provides instructors, staff and students with free tech support and troubleshooting help by phone at 608.264.4357, email at and chat at In-person support is also available at the DoIT Help Desk service desk in the Computer Sciences building. Visit for hours and more information.

Instructors and instructional staff can also request a consultation through the DoIT Help Desk. A DoIT AT consultant will help you select and use the right learning technology to improve student success. In addition, the Learn@UW KnowledgeBase offers helpful documents for instructors, course owners and students.