Connecting with students through synchronous sessions or recorded lectures can be great, but not all solutions are created equally. Some tools may have issues with security (Zoom, ahem) or may have a steeper learning curve for users.

If you already have an online conferencing tool you like, great! Keep using it! But if you’re in the market for a way to communicate with your students, we always recommend that faculty use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Here’s why:

  • Collaborate Ultra is designed for students. Because it’s specifically designed for educational use, it has features and functionality that reflect usual classroom needs.
  • It’s easy to record sessions and make them available and accessible to students. Accessibility is a huge issue for remote learning. Collaborate makes it easy to meet student needs in a variety of ways, whether they need captioning or can’t attend live sessions and need recordings.
  • Many students already know how to use Collaborate Ultra. While not every student will have experience with Collaborate, many will as it is commonly used here at COD and other colleges.
  • User support is available through Learning Technologies and the Student Helpdesk. Because Zoom is not an LT-managed technology, we can’t help you or your students if things aren’t working how they’re supposed to or you need training.
  • Collaborate Ultra lives inside Blackboard. This makes it easy to find and more secure for students.
  • It’s more secure. While Zoom has recently added some additional security measures, Collaborate is more restrictive in access by default.
  • You won’t lose access to features. Zoom has temporarily lifted the 40 minute limit on meetings as a kindness to those using it during the lockdown, but this won’t last forever. If you need more than 40 minutes for your courses, you may find this is a big problem going forward.

Keep in mind that we are not requiring anyone to use Collaborate Ultra, but if you want our recommendation (in part so that we can help you if you need it), Collaborate Ultra has our vote.

Have questions or need training? We can help! Send us an email at