BBC Ultra Troubleshooting Tips & Common Errors
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is one of UW-Parkside's web conferencing softwares. With web conferencing, issues can arise at the worst times, so here are some steps you can take to try and resolve any issues that might come up during a session.
Do a Test Run
The best possible thing any presenter or moderator can do with web conferencing is to join a session early and test out your equipment. Go through your presentation as you plan to with an audience. Share your screen, share a document, share your webcam and audio, ask a colleague or friend to join the session with you. If any problems occur, you'll have time to troubleshoot using some of the tips below or contact technical support to resolve the issue before the actual session begins. The Innovations team would also be happy to join a test session with you to make sure everything runs properly before the live session. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a test session or if you experience any technical issues.
Choose the Correct Browser
By far, the best browser to use when joining a BBC Ultra session is Google Chrome. Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer have had many different issues with Ultra in the past including: not being able to share a screen, not recognizing a camera or microphone, and crashing during sessions. Google Chrome is also highly recommended for Canvas, so downloading the browser should resolve some problems in both Ultra and Canvas.
You can download Google Chrome for both Mac and PC for free by clicking on the following link: Download Google Chrome
My Audio Isn't Working
When you first open an Ultra session, your browser should have you confirm that the microphone is working. If the microphone is working, the sound bar will be moving. If you've confirmed that your microphone is picking up your audio but participants in the session cannot hear you, double check that you are unmuted. To make sure you are unmuted, at the bottom of the session screen you'll see a microphone icon. If the microphone icon has a slash through it, that means that you are muted, but if the microphone icon is green, that means that you are unmuted. You can toggle between muted and unmuted by clicking on the icon.
If you've confirmed that your microphone is working, that you're unmuted, and are using Google Chrome for your browser, the next thing you can do is use the dial in number for the session and use a phone as your microphone. To find the dial in number, go to the course in Canvas that houses your Ultra session. Click on the session. A panel will open up on the right hand side of the screen with a Join Session button, and under that link will be the dial in number. The number will also appear in the session itself under the top left menu.
These dial in numbers are unique per Ultra session. It is recommended that the moderator of the Ultra session share the dial in number with participants before the session begins in case technical issues arise.
Important: If you also use Webex and/or MS Teams Meetings, please be aware that switching back and forth between platforms can cause audio and/or video issues. The most efficient way to resolve an application hardware conflict is to restart your computer.
For more information on audio issues, please visit the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Help site.
I Can't Share My Webcam
As well as your microphone, your browser will also have you confirm which webcam you will be using (if you have multiple webcams) and will ask you to confirm that your camera is working. If your camera is working, when you go to share your video you will see a preview of your video.
After you share your video, you'll know that your camera is on when the camera icon at the bottom of the screen is blue. If the camera icon has a slash through it, it means that your video is not being shared with the session participants. You can toggle between turning your camera on and off by clicking on the camera icon.
If your preview does not show up or is not correct, double check that your camera is set up properly. You also want to make sure that you are using Google Chrome for your browser and have a strong internet connection. If your internet connection is weak, it's very possible that your video will stop being displayed to the session participants.
For more information on video issues, please visit the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Help site.
I Can't Share My Screen
When trying to share your screen in Ultra, it is extremely important to use the most recent version Google Chrome as your browser. Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer have all caused issues for presenters trying to share their screens in Ultra.
If you are using Google Chrome, are on a Mac, and still cannot share your screen, it's more than likely that you will have to allow Chrome to share your screen in your system preferences. To view the instructions on how to allow Chrome to share your screen on a Mac, please click on the following link: https://kb.uwp.edu/99214
For more information on screen sharing issues, please visit the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Help site.
How to Avoid the Tunnel Effect
The tunnel effect occurs when a presenter is sharing their screen and is viewing an Ultra session at the same time. This looks really scary and like something is broken, but it will happen every time a presenter shares their whole screen.
To avoid the tunnel effect, you can choose to just share an application rather than your entire screen. For instance, if you're sharing a powerpoint you can choose to just share the powerpoint with the participants instead of everything on your screen. The other way to avoid the tunnel effect is to click on a different browser window or application as soon as possible after sharing your screen. Keep in mind that after you begin sharing your screen and click off of the Ultra page, you are still sharing your screen with participants.