Invite a Guest Speaker into Your Classroom Via a Web Meeting

Would you like to invite a guest speaker to come talk to your face-to-face class? Maybe your guest speaker lives in another city or another state or even another country. Not to worry – you can invite them to speak to your class remotely using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra!

Collaborate Ultra is integrated into your myLesley course. But your guest speaker does not need to be enrolled in your course in order to join the session. Instead, you will create a session (or use your existing course room) and send them a guest link. At the appointed time, your guest speaker will click on the link and join your session. You can project your session using your laptop and the existing classroom technology. Your guest speaker will be up on the screen and able to interact with your class.

Sounds great! How do I begin?

Before you begin, check the the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra system Requirements and Accessibility to make sure that your system is compatible. For the best experience, use the Chrome browser.

Once you have determined that you are using a supported browser and your system is compatible, either create a new Collaborate Ultra session or use your existing Collaborate Course Room.

Once your session has been created (or you decide to use your existing Course Room), click on your session to open the settings.

  • Check the box to allow guest access,
  • change the guest role to presenter or moderator, and
  • copy the guest link.
Collaborate Ultra session information detailing guest access information
Collaborate Ultra session information

Paste the guest link into an email and send the email to your guest speaker. You should also include a link to the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra system Requirements and Accessibility. This will help your guest speaker make sure that their system is compatible. If your guest speaker has never used Collaborate Ultra before, send along Conducting Your Collaborate Ultra Sessionto help them familiarize themselves with the tool.

Do I need any special equipment?

For the most part, the technology available in your classroom should be sufficient. We recommend connecting to the wired Lesley network via the ethernet cable in your classroom. This will make for a smoother experience.

If you plan to have a Q&A session you may want to reserve the ClearOne Chat 160 microphone. You can reserve this equipment online using WebCheckout. If you do not need or want the microphone you can simply have your students ask questions and you can repeat the questions to the guest speaker.

Does my guest speaker need any special equipment?

Your guest speaker will need a webcam, speakers, and a microphone. If they are in a quiet location, the speakers and microphone built in to their computer will suffice. If they are in a noisier location we recommend that they use a headset. There is no need for a fancy headset – the earbuds that come with most cell phones will suffice.

Your guest speaker will also want to ensure that they are using a strong internet connection. If possible, they should plug in to a wired connection. If they cannot use a wired connection they should use a strong, reliable wi-fi connection.

I’m in my classroom on the day of the session. What now?

To begin, plug your laptop into the classroom projection system. If you are connecting via VGA, be sure to also connect the audio cable. If you are using an external microphone, plug that in to your computer.

Next, plug the ethernet cable into your laptop and connect to the Lesley network. Once you are connected, navigate to myLesley and launch your Collaborate Ultra session.

Once the session launches, check your audio and video settings to make sure they are working correctly. If you are using an external microphone, make sure the microphone is selected.

How does my guest speaker join the session?

Your guest speaker will click the link you sent and join the session. Once the session launches, they should check their audio and video settings to make sure they are working correctly. If they are using an external microphone, make sure the microphone is selected.

We’re both in the session. Now what?

Once you are both in the session, your guest speaker can turn on the webcam and the microphone and begin to speak. If they are sharing any content, they can either upload a file or presentation or they may share their screen. More information may be found here: Conducting Your Collaborate Ultra Session.

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Making the Switch to Collaborate Ultra

Still using Collaborate Original as your myLesley web conferencing tool? It’s time to switch to Collaborate Ultra. Earlier this year, Collaborate Ultra was integrated into myLesley and this January 2018, we will remove Collaborate Original from myLesley as part of our migration to SaaS.

Why are we making the switch?

Collaborate Original has been integrated into myLesley for several years. It has served us well, but as a java-based tool it required users to install multiple softwares on their computer often making it difficult to simply access an online meeting. Many faculty and students also found the interface overwhelming and clunky.

Collaborate Ultra has many advantages. First of all, it’s web-based. There is nothing to install on your computer prior to using Collaborate Ultra. Simply click on the link to the online meeting and join.

Secondly, it has a streamlined, easier to use interface. Faculty who have used it to meet with their students have found it much easier to use with a more familiar interface making it faster find the tools they need. We’ve been using it here in eLIS for two years and have been able to meet with many faculty, staff and students online while providing minimal to no prior training.

Finally, Collaborate Ultra is also integrated directly into myLesley. You can start using it right now.

Check it Out!

Take a look at the new look and feel in this video tour.

If you have questions or need assistance switching to Collaborate Ultra, contact us at elis@lesley.edu.

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