We have collated the following list of frequently asked questions to support you when teaching remotely. We will update this list with new questions as we receive them. If you cannot find an answer to your query below, please drop into the Digital Education Clinic where someone will be able to support you. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to raise a support ticket about your issue or contact your College Digital Education Developer directly.
I am unable to access Blackboard Collaborate, I just see a purple spinning wheel.
This is a known issue that Blackboard have advised on. It is related to third party cookies being disabled on your web browser. Please continue to use Google Chrome as your default browser for accessing Collaborate, but make sure that you enable cookies on your browser or, at the very least, allow the Blackboard Collaborate domain.
The chat messages are not included on the Collaborate Ultra video I have downloaded
By default when you download a video that has been recorded from Collaborate Ultra, the chat is not included in the video. However, if you wish to share the chat you can do so by copying and pasting it before you finish your session and making it available as a document alongside your video.
Alternatively, you can point students to watch the video directly on Collaborate as this will show the video in a special viewer which includes the chat messages in real time. To do this:
1. Direct the students to click 'Collaborate Ultra' on the side navigation within the Blackboard site.
2. Ask them to click the mobile menu on the top left, denoted by three lines.
3. Click 'recordings'.
4. All recordings that have been made will be shown, you can click any of these recordings to watch them in real time with the chat appearing to the right.
I have an issue with camera, microphone or other hardware on my device
If you have a technical issue with your hardware set up, the best approach would be to contact the ICT service desk by email: email@example.com to raise a ticket. You can also call the service desk on 01522 88 6500. The ICT team are best placed to support you at this time as they are able to remotely connect to your PC/Laptop and help you to resolve your hardware issue.
My Chromebook is not supported by Blackboard for Blackboard Collaborate
Students should use their smartphones to access sessions if they are not able to join using their Chromebook. An additional work around is to record your session and make the video available via Panopto once you have finished. Full details can be found on the other pages of this remote teaching blog site.
Where do I find Collaborate Ultra in Blackboard?
Collaborate Ultra is available on all module sites on Blackboard. It may appear in your left hand navigation bar, or you may need to add it using the (+) plus icon at the top of your navigation bar and choosing "Tool Link" > Adding a Title > Selecting "Collaborate Ultra" from the dropdown list.
Remember to make the Collaborate Ultra link visible to students, or they won't be able to access the tool. You can do this by clicking the grey arrow to the right of the link and choose "Show this link to students."
Does the Collaborate App work on an iPad?
There is an app for Collaborate Ultra that is available to download from the app store on iOS. You can also use Collaborate Ultra in the browser on your iPad, but make sure you access using Google Chrome and not Safari.
Do you have to have headphones to hear the conversation?
A headset is advised when using Collaborate Ultra, but it is not a requirement. If you are using a headset with a microphone (or a hands free kit)m you will get a better quality sound. However, if you don't have a microphone or headset you can use the microphone that is built into your PC/Laptop/Mobile device. Just make sure you are somewhere quiet when you do so!
When I click on Collaborate Ultra in the Blackboard menu it takes me straight to a course room, am I able to deliver through this direct route or do I need to follow a different set of instructions?
The course room is recomended for most Collaborate Ultra sessions as it is the most straightforward way for students to access the Collaborate Ultra tool. If you want to, you can set up specific sessions for your lecture or seminar. This is particularly advised if you have two sessions running concurrently as it will mean you have a separate space for each session on Collaborate Ultra.
Can Blackboard Collaborate work if I run it from my personal PC from home?
Collaborate Ultra is hosted by Blackboard on their servers, as such, it works on any device with an internet connection. Make sure you are using Google Chrome as your browser and log into Blackboard to find your module site and the Collaborate Ultra tool.
How do I create a session on Collaborate Ultra?
You can create a session by navigating to 'Collaborate Ultra' on your Blackboard site and instead of joining the course room, you can click 'Create Session'.
When I try to join a session or the course room, it asks me to 'dial in' what does that mean?
The Collaborate Ultra tool allows users to dial in using a special phone number. However, we do not advise this approach and providing you have a good internet connection and access to Blackboard through the Google Chrome browser, you should have no issues with accessing Collaborate Ultra in the usual way.
How do you start and end a session on Collaborate Ultra?
When you create a session you must set a date and time for it start and end. The session will become available just before the start time, depending on what you have chosen as your lead in time (15mins, 30mins or 45mins). During this lead in time, you can join the session, check your mic and video and upload your files.
How do students communicate when using Collaborate Ultra?
We usually advise that you adapt your room or session settings to turn off mic and video for participants (students). The reason for this, is that it stops too many students talking over each other which can affect the audio quality. If everyone on Collaborate Ultra was using their webcam, this would also put unnecessary strain on the internet connection of each user. Students can talk to you and the other participants using the Group Chat and you can enable their microphones, video and sharing features on a case by case basis by making them a 'presenter'.
How do you create groups within Collaborate Ultra?
You can create 'breakout groups' within Collaborate Ultra. These are automatic or manually created groups that take students out of the main window and into their own smaller groups where they can discuss and use their microphone, video and share features as standard. We advise you use the automatic breakout groups as this means that Blackboard Collaborate handles the automatic splitting of students into groups and you just have to tell the tool how many you want in each group.
When you hit the 'stop' button, all students are pulled back into the main room and their breakout group work is not saved. So make sure you ask them to save a screenshot of their work before they leave.
In addition, breakout groups are not recorded and the session will continue to record in the main room.
How do you use the Poll feature in Collaborate Ultra?
The poll feature can be found in the share tab, this allows you to ask simple yes or no questions and multiple choice questions. The answers can be shown or hidden to students by clicking the icon of an eye just below the question. Please note, when the results are shown students cannot reply. You can click the 'stop' icon to stop sharing your poll question.
Poll questions can only be created in real time, they cannot be created in advance.
When might you use private chat in Collaborate Ultra?
Collaborate Ultra has several chat options, there is the 'everyone' chat which most staff and students will use to communicate during a session. In addition there is also a 'moderators' chat where moderators and technical support users can chat privately away from the main conversation. There is also the option of chatting a user individually. This might be useful where you want to ask a student about their specific technical issue without asking these questions in front of the whole group.
Are you able to mute/unmute a student's microphone on Collaborate Ultra?
Collaborate Ultra lets you change the settings for microphone and video use by participants (students). We would recommend in your room or session settings for Collaborate Ultra, that you do not enable microphone and video for your students. This will then allow you to change this setting on a case by case basis, usually by making a student a 'presenter' from the attendees menu (click the three dots … to the right of their name and choose 'make presenter'). This will also allow the students to control their own microphone, video and share files.
Can you record a Collaborate Ultra session?
Yes, you can record a session on Collaborate Ultra. You just need to click the menu item to the top left when inside your session, and click 'start recording'. You follow the same process to stop the recording when you have finished. NOTE: Only the academics who have joined a session via Blackboard (not via a guest link) will have the option to start a recording.
For ease of access, we suggest downloading your recording after you have finished and uploading this to Panopto. However, to enable recording downloads you will need to have set this option in the settings of your room or session.
Each recording will be stored separately on Collaborate no matter if you use a session or a room.
Can you use PowerPoint with Collaborate Ultra?
Yes, you can share your PowerPoint files to Collaborate Ultra. We recommend uploading your PPT file to the share space on Collaborate Ultra. This will turn the PowerPoint into a PDF and you will loose all animation and interactive features. Please don't use any video or audio in your slides.
Once you have uploaded your PowerPoint, you will be able to click 'share now' to show it in the main room. You will get a navigation menu under the file you have shared, this will allow you to move back and forth through the presentation.
Students can also follow the above guidance to share their own work, if you have made them a 'presenter'.
What about sharing video or other media on Collaborate Ultra?
It is fine to share images on Collaborate Ultra either within your PowerPoint or separately. But you should not share audio, video or other media files. The problem is that the users on the other end will likely not be able to hear the sound coming out of your device. The best approach, is to upload any video content to Panopto and ask students to watch this before or after the session.
How do you mark, draw or annotate on Collaborate Ultra?
If you have enabled the setting for participants, then as soon as you share a file into the Collaborate Ultra window, then all users will be able to draw, write text or draw shapes. The menu for doing this is shown about the shared document. If you have changed the setting, only the presenter will be able to annotate the document that has been uploaded.
I am unable to join a Collaborate Ultra session by telephone (in cases where you do not have a good internet connection)
This is a known issue, it is caused by problems with the telephone lines around the world. When too many people are trying to call into a session via telephone, there will not be enough capacity and you will be cut off. We advise you keep trying if you continue to have this issue. It may take you several attempts, but usually you should be able to connect eventually. We should stress, most users will not encounter a problem when trying to join a session or room with a telephone.
Here is some further advice from Blackboard directly:
Our external teleconference provider is working to provide everyday more and more ports to allow us to allocate more people via teleconference but there some points where they are completely full (not only in UK, other countries like Italy or France too) and the call can’t be established.
In this situation our recommendation is to join Collaborate Ultra though their mobile browsers to get the audio via Voip (which will definitely will improve the sound quality) Collaborate Ultra is fully supported from mobile browsers (Chrome or Safari).
We are working with the teleconference provider to continue expanding the service for us, but unfortunately there might be times where the service is completely overloaded.
My students cannot see the video feed on my Panopto recording when viewing via the Panopto app?
This is a known issue when students are viewing Panopto videos using the Panopto mobile app. The video will default to stream one (Panopto has several streams) and if you have not recorded any live video using your webcam or another type of camera, students will see a blank grey screen and only hear the audio. The way to resolve this issue is to edit the settings of your recording via the module site on which you uploaded it.
You can go to the 'Share' area and look for the 'Podcast' settings. You will have the option to choose which stream is your primary media. If you wish to show only your PowerPoint slides, select this option. You will need to reprocess your video once you have made a change to any of the settings and this will mean the video is unavailable for a period of time while processing completes.
Further info from Panopto on this issue here: There is a requirement for users to log into Panopto using the Blackboard provider in order for the permissions in Panopto to sync with the enrolments in Blackboard. Clicking on the Panopto video link in the Blackboard course will essentially log the user into Panopto and sync their permissions. Each user would need to do this as the sync will only happen for the person who sign in. Once the permissions are synced, they should be able to view the videos embedded in the various areas of the courses. The permissions will stick so they will not need to click on the link again.
The Panopto desktop software does not work with my version of MacOS
Unfortunately, this is an issue which is related to the version of MacOS you are running. Both Apple and Panopto have taken the decision not to make their software available on older version of Mac devices, as the systems and Mac OS software gradually improve with time. Obviously, not all legacy devices can be supported indefinitely. Further advice on which version of Mac OS works with Panopto desktop can be found here under 'prerequisites': https://support.panopto.com/s/article/Install-Panopto-for-Mac To find out which version of Mac OS you are running, click the 'Apple' symbol top left on your Mac and click 'About This Mac'. If you are unable to install the Panopto desktop software on your Mac, we suggest using the app on a mobile device to record content, or entering a Collaborate Room on your Blackboard Test Site in order to record lectures. You can download videos from Blackboard Collaborate then upload them to Panopto.
My students are requesting access to a video on Panopto, even though I have made it available on my module site.
Sometimes, particularly if you share a link to a Panopto video immediately after you have uploaded it, the link may not work for students. This is a known issue on Panopto. If your students are requesting access via email, please embed a link to the video on your learning resources page by following these steps:
1. Go to your module site
2. Go to the 'Learning Resources' area
3. Click 'Tools'
4. Click 'Panopto Video Link'
5. Add the relevant details and click 'Submit'.
I am unable to install Panopto Desktop Recorder on my laptop/PC
Sometimes, you will find that you are unable to install software on your laptop/PC if you don't have administrator rights. This is particularly true if you are using a University provided device.
ICT are looking to resolve this problem, but in the meantime you can make sure of the Panopto web recorded which has recently been released. It works in browser and lets you record Panopto sessions without needing any software. You just need access to a webcam and microphone.
To use the Panopto web recorded, click the 'Create' button inside Panopto on your module site and choose 'Panopto Capture (BETA)' from the menu.
A helpsheet is being produced on this approach now, and we will post it here when it has been shared.
I cannot install Panopto on my UoL-provided laptop.
Unfortunately this seems to be a difficult to resolve issue at the moment for staff with UoL-provided laptops.
Can you try
- Checking if Panopto is already installed (it may be depending on when you were given your laptop)
- Seeing if can be installed via Software Centre
If neither of the above solutions work, you have two main options at this moment in time:
Do we have to install Panopto on each module site?
Panopto does not nee to be 'installed' on each module site, however each module site you teach on does need to be 'provisioned' on Panopto. This process is required as not all modules will want to use Panopto and so do not need to be provisioned.
If you have not used Panopto on your module before, you will need to 'provision' it. Go to your module site and click the Panopto link on the navigation menu. Then follow the steps on screen to provision your site.
How do I record to someone else's module?
Panopto works on a module basis. You will need to be added as an instructor on the module, for it to appear on your list of folders to which you can record. That module will also need to be provisioned on Panopto too.
How do you enable the camera?
In the Panopto Desktop software, you will have a dropdown list next to your 'video source' from here you can choose your camera. You will get a number of options, depending on how many cameras you have on your device. Panpoto does not need a camera to successfully record. As a minimum Panopto will need will need an audio source to record.
How do I add captions to Panopto?
Can I use Panopto with videos embedded in my PowerPoint?
When using Panopto to record your lectures or resources, we do not recommend playing any video. You can select 'record computer audio' within Panopto Desktop recorder, but the problem is that if you also have your speaker turned on, you will get a lot of feedback when the video plays. Better advice is to upload any video clips as separate files to Panopto and embed these alongside the recording resource.
Which secondary source options need to be ticked?
This depends on what you want to achieve with Panopto. If you want to record only a PowerPoint tick 'record PowerPoint' and your slides will automatically be split into difference markers when they transition. Alternatively, if you choose 'record main screen' then everything on your PC/device screen will be recorded. This can be good or software demos. You can use a combination of both options.
Where do we access the PowerPoint we are recording on?
You first need to open the PowerPoint file, then navigiate to Panopto Desktop recorder and click the big red record button to start the recording. Then, navigate back to PowerPoint and present your whole PowerPoint in the usual way, full screen. When you have finished, exit PowerPoint and navigate back to Panopto to stop the recording and upload it.
How do you know a video has uploaded?
Panopto will upload your recording in the background if you are using the Desktop Recorder. You will see a blue progress bar as it does this. Once the video has uploaded it will need to process on your module site before it is available to watch or embed.
How do I add a Panopto video to my learning materials page?
There are various ways to do this. The most reliable is to go into the Learning Materials page and click 'Tools' and 'Panopto Video Link'. You will then be asked which video you would like to embed and after hitting submit a link will be added to the bottom of your Learning Materials list. If you wish to add this video inside a sub-folder, make sure you navigate to that sub-folder first.
You can also copy a link from the share section of the video itself or an embed code. Both of these can be added to Blackboard but are not as reliable as the solution outlined above.
Turning on the video is good for accessibility, how does this affect my PowerPoint?
When you record using the Panopto Desktop recorder, you can also record your video from a web cam or other source. Although you cannot see this video feed while you are presenting, please be aware that it is recording. The video will be captured as the 'first stream' and the PowerPoint or screen as the 'secondary stream'. Both will be shown as a picture-in-picture (one smaller video bottom right, usually of the presenter) and these settings can be changed once the video has been uploaded to the module site. Having a video of you presenting helps students who need to lip read or have other accessibility requirements.
What is the best way to let users to know a video is now available?
Students will not be automatically notified when videos are available. You will need to let them know or advise them to look in the Learning Materials page or on the Panopto section of your module site. You could send an announcement or email.
Can student pause the video?
Anyone who is watching a video on Panopto will have a series of different controls, they can pause, stop and rewind/fast-forward video content. They can also speed up an slow down video and add their own personal notes if they wish.
Is there a particular Teams format (desktop, mobile, web) we should advise students to use?
Microsoft Teams is available in a variety of formats. The best version of the tool to use is the desktop software which is available to install on a laptop/PC/Mac from http://365.lincoln.ac.uk or on the Software Centre on a University of Lincoln provided device. The reason we recommend the desktop software is that it has the most functionality and allows you to share your desktop, documents and use an external headset.
The desktop software works well with the mobile app, which you can install on your phone or tablet. This lets you check MS Teams and receive/make calls while you are not at your desk.
At a push, you can also use MS Teams on the web by visiting: http://teams.microsoft.com but be aware that the web versions has much more limited functionality than other alternatives.
Can you call someone outside the University, provided they have MS Teams?
Yes, you can. If this is something you wish to do please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further support and advice.
Is there a Test Call function in Teams?
There is not a test call function within Teams, there was on MS Skype, but this no longer a feature in the version of Skype that has been migrated into MS Teams.
Is there a way of getting notifications when there is a question waiting for me?
If you are not on Teams and someone has tried to reach you, you will get an email at the end of the day. If you have Teams open, you can customise if you do or don't get notifications. You will see a number on the chat or activity if you tagged or someone chats to you directly.
Does the share screen function also have a drag/delay?
The screen share feature does not have a big delay on MS Teams, but it does take up additional bandwidth. So you should use it where appropriate. If it's appropriate use it, if not don't.
Can we record calls on Teams?
You cannot record one to one calls or small group calls. If you have a Team set up for your large group or team, you can then record calls. However, if you are calling one-to-one it works more like a phone and you cannot record.
Do multiple speakers cancel out all sound?
As with any online web conference software (Teams/Collaborate) you will find there are some issues with everyone talking at once, particularly if they talk over each other. It is recommended that students and staff only turn their microphone on when they wish to talk and then turn it off when they have finished. It is easy to toggle your microphone from the icon in the centre of the screen. Following this advice will lead to a much better experience for everyone on the conference.
Would you recommend MS teams over Collaborate Ultra for Personal Tutoring?
Collaborate Ultra is the University live web conference tool and is a virtual classroom, so very useful for lectures and seminars. However, it is not a private conversation tool so it is not suitable for certain types of conversation such as Personal Tutoring, Supervisory Meetings or 121s. In such cases, MS Teams would be a better alternative as you can call any member of staff or student privately and get many of the same features as in Collaborate Ultra.
Can you have a team of just two people?
You can certainly have a team of just two people, or just yourself. You might end up with a lot of teams if you use it in this way.
Is there a number of participants when it's best to go for Collaborate rather than Teams? Or functionality is the same?
Your choice should be made based on your requirements rather than number as both tools can support a large number of attendees. If you are doing any aimed at your whole module, use MS Collaborate or if you are doing one-to-one or external discussion, you should use MS Teams.
Do you have to have Teams open in order to receive a notification that you have a message?
Teams will give you a range of notifications if you have it running in the background. If you are using Teams regularly, we suggest you should have it running in the background. The reason for this is you will get notified when someone calls you or sends a message. However, if you don't have Teams running you will get all your missed calls, voicemail messages and updates when you login. You will also receive a range of notifications via email if you don't change your notification settings within MS Teams.
What's the best way to share files?
The best way to share files is to use the 'Share' button on the bottom of your conversation, once it starts. There are two sub-menus, chats and files. If you send a file using the Chat your students will see it. But the nice thing about Teams is that that file will be stored indefinitely in the file section for the conversation. So, you can go back in 6 months and find those files in the conversation. That is true if you share 60 files with students. They will all be organised in the files section.
Can I schedule meetings for individual teams without entering email addresses over again?
If your students or colleagues have already been added to a Team, you can schedule meetings within a Team Site. The button across the bottom will be called 'Meet Now'. If you click this button you have two sub options, 'Meet right now' or 'Schedule a meeting'. That is scheduling a meeting for a Teams site.
I have a lot of scheduled tutorials. Could I schedule them through Office 365 Outlook as normal inviting the student and add a Team meeting there?
If you use Outlook in the web, navigate to 365.lincoln.ac.uk and you will be able to access it. If you set up a meeting in this tool, you can choose MS Teams from the meeting location for your calendar invitation.
What types of content is not suitable to share on Teams?
As with many online web conference tools (MS Teams / Collaborate) there are certain types of files that you should not try to share. The main files to watch out for are video and audio as both of these files will play fine on your own PC but will not be heard by anyone who has joined the conference. It is much better to share these files onto Panopto or in the case of audio, on your Blackboard site, and then ask the students to watch this content before or after the session.
What does the 'Exclude Bibliographic Materials' option do on Turnitin?
Turnitin has a number of 'optional settings'. One such setting is 'Exclude Bibliographic Materials'. This option allows you to exclude any content within the Bibliography from the similarity check. This is very useful, especially when students will be using a series of similar texts for their work. This option is very simple, it works by looking for the word 'Bibliography' or 'Reference List' and ignores everything written below this point. As such, you need to be careful where the word is placed as if the list of references is at the start of the document, as in some disciplines, it can lead to the whole essay being excluded.
What is the best approach for students uploading large .zip files for assessment?
As you may know, we are advising against the upload of video files or large .zip files to Blackboard directly, especially during periods of remote teaching. The reason for this, is that it can cause an unnecessary drain on the network and also cause the system to run slow.
We have a specific approach for assessments where students need to upload .zip files and further details can be found here:
Do students get a notification when you put a grade into the Grade Centre?
The students will not be notified about their grades until the column is made visible, either on the post date when working in Turnitin, or manually when using Blackboard assessments. If the column has not been hidden from students before you start marking, then, yes, your students will be notified straight away. This should be avoided in all cases wherever possible.
How do students submit a video for assessment using Panopto?
We have specific guidance on how to set up a Panopto Video Submission on Blackboard. Further details can be found here:
Creating a Panopto Video Submission Point | Doc(opens in a new tab) | PDF(opens in a new tab)
If a student has a problem and emails the work to me, can I upload it on their behalf?
Yes, any academic or instructor on a Blackboard module site, can upload on a student's behalf. Just go into the 'Assessment' tab and click the 'Submit' button under the name of the appropriate assessment point. You will see a dropdown list on the next screen, where you can select which student to submit for and select your work. Make sure you follow through all three steps until you get a receipt for the submission.