This page is to help web conferencing users be aware of changes or updates to instructionally-relevant features of supported web conferencing tools. If you have questions about their implications or would like assistance with them, please email or call 315-443-2677.

Information about Blackboard updates is posted separately. 

Instructional Software Updates

Collaborate Ultra

The following changes are implemented automatically when accessing Collaborate Ultra through Blackboard. Additional details are available in the Release Notes

  • More Flexibility for Large Sessions — Beginning March 10, 2022, instructors can create large sessions with no end date, end dates further in the future, and recurring sessions.
  • Pointer in the New Whiteboard — The initial release of the new whiteboard did not include a pointer. Starting January 13, 2022 a pointer will be added. After launch ITS discovered that the pointer was being captured in recordings, in contrast with Blackboard's release notes. Blackboard has updated their notes and the pointer does  appear in Collaborate Ultra recordings as intended by their design. 
  • Integration of Course Groups with Breakout Groups — Blackboard has integrated Groups created in a Blackboard course with the Breakout Groups feature in Collaborate Ultra. As of September 2021, moderators can create Breakout Groups based on their Course Groups. Documentation on how to do so is available on Blackboard's Help site.
  • Whiteboard Improvements — The whiteboard tool has had a major update that makes it easier to use, allows for persistent annotations, and allows sharing of the whiteboard and files to and from breakout rooms. More information on the change is available from Blackboard. Documentation is available on the Share Content page from Blackboard. 
  • Mobile Cameras for Moderators — Beginning June 10, 2021 moderators can share a camera on their mobile device as content on the screen.
  • Pin Video Support — Beginning May 13, 2021, you can now pin videos — selecting which videos appear at the top. 
  • Expanded Gallery View — Gallery View allows users to view 25 participant videos at once. This was made available to session moderators in Spring 2021 and for participants in August 2021
  • Support Chatbot — Attendees can get support troubleshooting common issues while still in their session through the new Chat Support feature at the end of the My Settings panel.
  • Recording Privacy Display — Moderators and session owners can now see 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.
  • Chat mentions and formatting — Users can now tag other users in chat using the "@" symbol and format their chat messages.
  • Recording Processing Status — Collaborate now shows the status of recording processing. You can see if a recording is still processing or ready to watch from the Recordings page.
  • Recording Reminder — As soon as moderators join the session, Collaborate presents a recording reminder. The reminder is visible until the moderator starts the recording or closes the reminder.
  • Increased Recording Link Security —  Public access to recordings is now off by default for new sessions.
  • Recording Download Clarity — Session owners can download recordings at any time, regardless of setting for other users.
  • Share Camera — This option allows you to share a second camera for demonstrations. 
  • Download Poll Results — Now moderators, instructors, and administrators can download a session's Poll report. This report includes the poll question and how each attendee responded.


The following Zoom changes are listed chronologically (newest on top). To take advantage of these improvements you will need to be using an up-to-date Zoom client and, for some, your students will need to be using the current version of the client as well. Zoom hosts instructions for updating your desktop client. More information on the below features is available in the Zoom Release Notes.

  • Poll access for alternative hosts (version 5.8.0) — Hosts can now allow users listed as Alternative Hosts to add or edit polls on a meeting. The alternative host in the meeting will have the additional in-meeting options to add or edit a poll, which launches the web portal to make the changes. 
  • Chat Improvements (version 5.8.0) — Chat has received rich text enhancements and the capacity to quote prior chat messages. 
  • Annotations vanishing pen — Hosts can now add annotations that appear temporarily and fade for them to highlight information as they lecture.
  • Zoom Windows in screen share — When sharing screen and allowing Zoom windows to be seen during the share, Zoom windows can now be minimized.
  • Original Sound button improved — It is now easier to tell if the Original Sound feature is on or off in the user interface.
  • Follow Host's video orderHosts can now force participants to display your custom video order. Participant will not be able to change the order when this is enabled.
  • Share and play video files directly into meeting
  • Host can admit participants from the Waiting Room while within a Breakout Room — Host is notified of participants in the Waiting Room, even while currently in a Breakout Room.
  • Enhanced nonverbal feedback and reactions — Nonverbal feedback options are moved to the Reactions button, and all reactions will be shown in the corner of the participants’ video. The host will see each participant’s reactions in the participant list, as well as the aggregate numbers of each reaction at the bottom of the list.

  • Blurred background — Users can now choose to blur their background rather than selecting a specific virtual background, providing added privacy when a branded background is unavailable or unnecessary.

  • Raise hand for host and co-host — Hosts and co-hosts can utilize the raise hand feature along with meeting participants and webinar attendees.

  • Poll reports available during live session — The meeting or webinar host will now have the option to download the full poll results when the poll has ended during the live session, rather than waiting until the meeting or webinar has ended. This will launch their browser and begin the download of the CSV poll report.

  • Enhanced co-host privileges over Breakout Rooms — Co-hosts have the same breakout room controls as the meeting host, such as starting or ending breakout rooms, assigning participants, etc.

  • Move participants to main session from breakout room — Hosts and co-hosts have the option to assign a participant back to the main session, rather than ending all breakout sessions.

  • Share multiple programs at once — Users can select multiple desktop programs at once for sharing, instead of sharing their entire desktop.

  • Scheduling with custom Join Before Host time limit — Users can schedule meetings with Join Before Host set to allow participants to join 5, 10, or 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.

  • Self-select Breakout Room — The host can now create breakout rooms with the option for participants to self-select which breakout room they would like to join. If enabled, participants can move freely between breakout rooms, without needing the host’s help. Both the meeting host and participants need to be on Client 5.3.0 or later to self-select Breakout Rooms.

  • Custom gallery view organization — Host and co-host can now re-order the gallery view to suit their needs, and choose whether to deploy this view to participants, or allow participants to create their own custom views. Simply click and drag videos to the position you want them in gallery view, and this layout will remain in place until released.

  • Multi-pin and multi-spotlight — With host permission, users will now be able to pin up to 9 participants on their end. The host can also spotlight up to 9 participants for everyone in the meeting.


Information from PlayPosit about their updates updates is published on their Blog

  • Bulb Completion Updates — Updates to the playback options bring two improvements: 
    • Instructors can now elect to hide the learner score upon complete reducing confusion in cases where the bulb contains free response questions. The PlayPosit for Students page has information for students on how the completion page looks when the score is displayed. 
    • Instructor can now set a minimum completion score, meaning that the bulb will not be marked complete until the learner achieves a certain point setting. This option works best for cases where interactions are graded automatically.
  • Auto Jump Template — There is a new template to assist instructors to create interactions that automatically jump to a new location in the bulb when an interaction is completed. PlayPosit has documentation on jump options in their knowledge base
  • Free Response Feedback — Instructors can now add feedback to individual students on free response interactions from any screen where they can see the student's reply by clicking the comment bubble icon. This is enabled by default and available in all bulbs, even for bulbs students have taken in the past. Students can view the feedback by going to the bulb's review tab and selecting an interaction where the instructor has given feedback. 
  • Partner Resources Page — There is a new partner resources page available to Syracuse University instructors from a link in the main menu inside PlayPosit. This page includes the PlayPosit Academy, good for self-training, information about PlayPosit webinars, a use case library, and office hours hosted by PlayPosit's design team. 

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