Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

How can I enhance the security of my Blackboard Collaborate Ultra sessions?


As of August 31, 2021, UofT will no longer license Bb Collaborate. Please see ACT's termination of Collaborate license memo for more details. We recommend reviewing our guide of currently available webinar tools for alternate options to host synchronous online sessions.

Select one or more of the following five (5) Setting Options in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to maximize the security of your session and prevent participants from disrupting your session with inappropriate behaviour or content.

1. Restrict ability for participants to join the session via guest link

Guest links are public links that can be used by anyone who has the link. They can be used for inviting guest speakers or other participants who are not registered in your course to your sessions. However, if you share the guest link with your students, your students can also share the link with others outside your course. Anyone they share the link with can then join the session. In addition, anyone joining a session using the guest link (regardless of whether they are a student in your course), can use any name they like. This can make it difficult to track attendance.

When students join the session from inside a course, they have to first sign into Quercus. Quercus authenticates the user and makes it easier to track session attendance.  To keep your session more secure, use one of the following options to ensure your students join the session via your Quercus course:

1.1. Turn off guest access completely

If only people inside your Quercus course will be accessing the sessions, you don’t need to create a guest link. When creating a new session:

Turn off (leave unchecked) the Guest access option:

BbCollaborate guest access option unchecked

If you need to turn on Guest access to create a guest link for invited guests outside of your course, share the link only with those guests. Don’t share the link with your students.

2. Limit participant permissions for the session

Limiting participant permissions can help stop participants from saying or sharing anything inappropriate during the session. Participant permissions are turned on and off for all participants.

In Session Settings, before the session starts:

  1. Ensure that the Default Attendee Role is Participant
  2. Turn off (leave unchecked) the appropriate Participants can permissions at the beginning of your session:
    1. Share audio: if left unchecked, participants can’t use their mic.
    2. Share video: if left unchecked, participants can't use their webcam.
    3. Post chat messages: if left unchecked, participants can't post chat messages (NOTE: Normally, the chat permission is kept turned on to allow participants to type messages in the chat).
    4. Draw on whiteboard and files: if left unchecked, participants can't edit the whiteboard or shared file.

To give an individual participant more permissions during a session, you can promote them to Presenter temporarily and then change their role back to Participant.

In the Attendees panel:

  1. Select Attendee controls for the attendee you want to promote.
  2. Select Make presenter.
BbCollaborate enable session attendee control "make presenter' selected

3. Restrict ability for participants to join the session via phone

If you allow session attendees to dial into a session by phone, Anonymous dial-in is available to them as an option. To avoid participants joining a Bb Collaborate session anonymously via telephone, you can restrict the ability for participants to join the session by phone.

In Session Settings, before the session starts:

Turn off (leave unchecked) the Allow attendees to join the session using a telephone option

BbCollaborate enable session telephony setting unchecked

4. Restrict ability for participants to privately chat with each other

Private chat is available by default in Bb Collaborate Ultra. You can limit who participants chat with by restricting their ability to initiate private chats with each other. If you wish to allow private chats among participants, you can opt to supervise all private chats.

In Session Settings, before the session starts:

  1. Turn on (check) the option Participants can only chat privately with moderators, or
  2. Turn on (check) the option Moderators supervise all private chats.

5. Remove participants from a session  

If necessary, you can remove an attendee from your session.

In the Attendees panel:

  1. Select Attendee controls for the attendee you want to remove.
  2. Select Remove from session.
BbCollaborate Attendee Control Showing 'Remove from session' option

NOTE: If the attendee joined from a Quercus course, they will not be able to rejoin the session. If the attendee joined from a guest link, they can use the guest link again to rejoin the session.

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