How can I create a large (+250) session?

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.

Regular Blackboard (Bb) Collaborate Ultra sessions can host up to 250 participants. If you have a session that involves more than this amount of people, you can select to enable your session as a large scale session  (also referred to as 'webinar mode') which can host up to 500 people. If this is your first time using a large session, please review the "Is a large session right for you?" section. If you're an experienced user, you can jump right to "How to enable a large session."

Is a large session right for you?

When you select to use a large scale session, there is some loss of functionality. You can mitigate this through session management. For the most up to date information about Bb Collaborate Ultra's large session functionality, see the Large scale session support page.

Here are the things you'll want to consider:

  1. Available features and functionality for large scale sessions. These sessions can support up to 500 people but not all the features of a regular session are available in a large scale session.
    • Break out groups are not available.  
    • Participant permissions are turned off by default:
      • Participants won't be able to turn on their webcam and microphone, or draw on whiteboards and files.  You can promote participants to Presenter during the session to enable these permissions for them.
      • Participant chat is disabled. You can enable it during the session in Session Settings.
  2. Scheduling considerations for large-scale sessions.
    • You cannot have a large session that is open-ended - you need to schedule an end time for the session.
    • Sessions should not be longer than 4 hours in length
    • The session will automatically end 5 minutes after the scheduled end time. You will receive a warning that states: "You've reached your scheduled end time. You'll be disconnected in approximately 5 minutes. At this time, all attendees are removed from the session."

Before you Begin

  1. Review our other guides on:
  1. Watch a clip of our Teaching with Blackboard (Bb) Collaborate Ultra webinar (January 13, 2021). The short clip provides an overview of large-scale sessions in Bb Collaborate.

To view the clip or the entire session in MS Stream (log-in required), use the following links:

Can I use Bb Collaborate Ultra outside of teaching/courses? While sessions are typically created from within a Quercus course, you can request a Bb Collaborate Ultra stand alone session via our request form that can be used for your one-off event (e.g. research days, meetings, interviews, etc.) If you think you might be running a lot of sessions, you might consider requesting the creation of a permanent, self-managed Quercus course.

1. How to enable large webinar Bb Collaborate Sessions using Sessions Settings

1.1. Go to Bb Collaborate and create a session.

1.2. Toggle to the session settings tab.

  1. The default tab is the "Event Details" tab so you will want to switch it to the "Event Settings" tab.

1.3. Find the "Large scale session" setting by scrolling down.

  1. Check the "Allow 250+ attendees to join" check box.
  2. Select on the "Save" button to save the session.

If you are using this within a course, students (and those enrolled in your course) can access your sessions via Bb Collaborate in your course. However, after your session is created, you can share the URL to the session to those you'd like to invite to the session (you might add this to a calendar invite or send by email). See "How do I invite guests to join the webinar session?" for detailed instructions.

Inviting a lot of people? It is tempting to make accessing your session "easy" by posting the link publicly (say, on a website). However, this allows anyone to join and can lead to unexpected behaviour in your session. For more ideas on session security, please see: How can I enhance the security of my Blackboard Collaborate Ultra sessions?