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Use of Blackboard Collaborate at UCL to end in May 2022

9 March 2022

UCL staff are advised to use Zoom or Microsoft Teams for hybrid or online teaching from the start of Term 3 on 25 April. Our licence will expire on 17 May 2022.

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Over the course of the pandemic, use of both Zoom and Microsoft Teams at UCL has risen significantly, especially for hybrid teaching. However, the use of Blackboard Collaborate has not grown in the same way over the past 12 months and is now used by fewer staff than the other platforms.

After much discussion, ISD has decided to concentrate on supporting the most heavily-used collaboration platforms. As such, the licence for Blackboard Collaborate will not be extended when it comes up for renewal this summer.

From 25 April 2022, UCL colleagues are advised not to use Blackboard Collaborate. Any users of the system who have scheduled meeting or teaching events in Blackboard Collaborate after the 24 April 2022 should cancel these as soon as possible and reschedule them using either Zoom or MS Teams.

From 25 April, the system will be considered ‘Non-active’. From that point, whilst you will still be able to access Collaborate, we cannot guarantee that recordings made on or after 25 April 2022 will be archived. Therefore, we advise you to use an alternative platform from the start of Term 3.  

There will be no access to the Blackboard Collaborate platform or content stored there after the licence expires on 17 May 2022.

We understand that while it is not as popular as the other options, Blackboard Collaborate is still the preferred online teaching platform for some staff and this will be a disappointing decision for them. Concentrating resources on the most heavily used systems will enable ISD to continue expanding the functionality of the more popular platforms, resulting in an improved user experience for everyone.

What you need to do

We appreciate that some Blackboard Collaborate users will have media content you would like to download from the platform to save for future use. By notifying you now, we are ensuring you have time to do this if you so wish.

If you would like to retain a personal copy of any recordings stored on Blackboard Collaborate, we recommend that you download and store them on your OneDrive. This option means you can also share the files with others, if required. 

ISD will ensure that an archive of all media files and recordings will be created. A copy of all Blackboard Collaborate recordings and content is stored on UCL servers as per the retention policy from the date of the original recording.

You will be able to request future access to these files by contacting the Educational Media team.

Sharing recordings

If you would like to share your downloaded Blackboard Collaborate recordings with students, you can upload them to Lecturecast for viewing through Moodle. See the Lecturecast wiki guidance for further information.

To make your teaching recordings accessible to those without a UCL login / password, you can upload them to Mediacentral.  See the Mediacentral guidance for further information.  

Please note that neither of these services should be used for medium/long term storage. We recommend you use OneDrive for longer-term personal storage. 

Help using alternative platforms

Zoom has proven to be the most popular option for hybrid and online teaching as it is seamlessly integrated with Moodle. For an overview and comparison of all alternative options, see Choosing the right platform for live online teaching.  

ISD’s Digital Education and Digital Skills teams are both on hand to support colleagues who have not yet made the switch to Zoom or MS Teams for teaching:

For any questions, please contact the Educational Media team.