Blackboard Collaborate FAQs

Getting Started

How do I create a Blackboard Collaborate session?
I have never used Collaborate before. What do I need to do?
What equipment do I need to present a session?
Where can I get help?

Your Session and Students

How do students join a session?
What is the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher?
Why did I get an error when clicking on a scheduled session?
I downloaded the .collab file, but the session will not open.
Is Blackboard Collaborate compatible with mobile devices?
How do you join a session from a mobile device?
Can students from my other course attend the same session?
Can I invite someone from outside GW to join the session?
How do I end a session?

Preferences and Permissions

Are there any “preferences” I should set?
How do I remove or add a student's microphone or whiteboard permissions?
Why is the audio not working?

Sharing Content

What file types can I share and how can I do it?
How do I present a PowerPoint during a session?
Are there limits to how many files I can upload?

Recording

How do I record a Blackboard Collaborate session?
Can I start and stop recording during a session?
Where can I find recorded sessions in Blackboard?
Can I download the session recordings to my computer to view offline?


Getting Started

How do I create a Blackboard Collaborate session?

  1. Go to the Control Panel of your Blackboard course.
  2. Click Course Tools and select Blackboard Collaborate.
  3. Click Create Session.
  4. Enter a title and the scheduled start and end dates for your session.
  5. Click Submit.

Creating a Blackboard Collaborate Session (VIDEO)

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I have never used Collaborate before. What do I need to do?

First, contact the Instructional Technology Lab (ITL) for training or register for an upcoming workshop.

Get Started with Blackboard Collaborate: For Moderators (PDF)
Get Started with Blackboard Collaborate: For Participants (PDF)

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What equipment do I need to present a session?

Be sure to receive training prior to moderating your first Blackboard Collaborate session. Sessions are more successful when there is adequate professor/student preparation, audio/video testing, and a high-speed Internet connection.

To moderate a Blackboard Collaborate session you will need:

  • A computer with the Collaborate Launcher installed.
  • An Internet connection. (Preferably not wireless, as reliability can vary.)
  • A microphone to capture audio. (A combined headset/microphone works well as the built-in microphone and speakers may cause echoing and feedback.)
  • A webcam if you plan to share video.

Get Started with Blackboard Collaborate: For Moderators (PDF)

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Where can I get help?

The Instructional Technology Lab (ITL) provides consultations during open lab hours or by appointment. Faculty Workshops on Blackboard Collaborate are also offered regularly. You can also visit the Blackboard Collaborate On-Demand Learning Center for documentation and recorded trainings.

Students can contact the Division of IT Helpdesk at (202) 994-4948 for assistance.

Get Started with Blackboard Collaborate: For Moderators (PDF)
Get Started with Blackboard Collaborate: For Participants (PDF)

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Your Session and Students

How do students join a session?

You and your students can access scheduled and recorded sessions by clicking on Tools in the course menu and then clicking on Blackboard Collaborate.

  1. From there, click on the title of the session you wish to join and click Join Room.
  2. Blackboard Collaborate will check if you have the launcher installed. If you do not, you will be prompted to do so. If you already installed the launcher, but it prompts you to download it, click Launch Blackboard Collaborate now.
  3. A .collab file will be downloaded to your computer. Depending on your browser settings you might be prompted to open or save the file.
  4. Open the file and follow the prompts to join the session.

You can also provide a link to Blackboard Collaborate directly on the Course Menu.

  1. Click + at the top left corner of your Course Menu.
  2. Choose Tool Link.
  3. In the drop-down menu, choose Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager.
  4. Enter a Name and check the box next to Available to Users.
  5. Click Submit.

It is helpful to send students a reminder email shortly before the session and include the session details and how to find it.

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What is the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher?

The Blackboard Collaborate Launcher is a utility that provides a reliable way for users to launch Blackboard Collaborate sessions and recordings without requiring a system version of Java.

Install the Launcher for Windows
Install the Launcher for Mac

Learn more about the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher.

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Why did I get an error when clicking on a scheduled session?

You may be trying to access it too early. Check that you are within the date, time, and early entry parameters set for the session. All users can access scheduled sessions at least 15 minutes prior to the set start time; however, this can be increased at the instructor’s discretion to up to an hour.

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I downloaded the .collab file, but the session will not open.

You may not have the Collaborate Launcher installed. If you have not previously installed it you will have difficulty joining a session. When you click Join Room on the Room Details page or on a recording link on the Recordings page, Blackboard Collaborate checks to see if you have the launcher installed. If you do not, you will be prompted to download it.

Install the Launcher for Windows
Install the Launcher for Mac

Learn more about the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher.

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Is Blackboard Collaborate compatible with mobile devices?

There is a Blackboard Collaborate app that students and guests can use to attend sessions on mobile devices. The app is a free download from the Google Play or Apple App Store.

Please note: A moderator cannot lead a session from the mobile app. The app does not provide the full desktop experience, but does allow users to view and interact with a session.

Participants can:

  • Interact via text chat and audio.
  • View whiteboard content and shared applications.
  • Use emoticons, hand raising, polls, and join breakout rooms.
  • Stream or download recordings.

Getting Started with Mobile (Android) Web Conferencing for Participants (PDF)
Getting Started with Mobile (iOS) Web Conferencing for Participants (PDF)

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How do you join a session from a mobile device?

You must first download the Blackboard Collaborate Mobile app to your device. It is a free download from the Google Play or Apple App Store.

  1. Open a browser on your mobile device and login to Blackboard.
  2. Navigate to your Blackboard course with the scheduled session.
  3. Click the Tools link on your Course Menu and choose Blackboard Collaborate.
  4. Locate the correct session and click the Session Title to launch the session.
  5. The Blackboard Collaborate app will then automatically launch and join the session.

Mobile for Android User's Guide (PDF)
Mobile for iOS User's Guide (PDF)

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Can students from my other course attend the same session?

Yes, this option is available for instructors with more than one Blackboard course.

  1. Go to the Control Panel of your Blackboard Course.
  2. Click Course Tools and select Blackboard Collaborate.
  3. Choose Create Session.
  4. In the Session Type section, select Shared and check the box next the courses you'd like to make it available in.
  5. Set any additional settings for the session and click Submit.

Creating a Blackboard Collaborate Session (VIDEO)

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Can I invite someone from outside GW to join the session?

You can easily invite guests after you create a session as well as during a session.

Email guests before the session:

  1. Go to the Control Panel in your Blackboard course, click Course Tools and select Blackboard Collaborate.
  2. Click Create Session or hover your mouse over the Title of an existing session, click the arrow pointing downward, and select Edit Session.
  3. Expand the Room Attributes section and turn On Allow Guests and Allow In-Session Invitations.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Hover your mouse over the Title, click the downward pointing arrow, and select Invite Guests from the menu.
  6. In the pop-up window, enter the email addresses of the guests you wish to invite and click Add. You can also copy the public URL here to share with guests.
  7. Click Send Invitations to invite guests.

In-Session Invite:

During your session, navigate to the Tools menu in the session window and choose In-Session Invite. You are provided with a session link and the opportunity to email guests.

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How do I end a session?

All attendees must simply close the Blackboard Collaborate session window to end the session.

Remember to save any important information and files before you end the session and to stop the recording before you discuss anything you don’t want included, such as follow-up actions. It is also helpful to advise students where they can find a recording, if it is available.

If you are recording, confirm that all participants have left the session when it is complete. The recording cannot be processed and made available until all participants have exited. If someone has left without closing the session, right click on their name to "remove" them.

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Preferences and Permissions

Are there any “preferences” I should set?

If you are not using a headset, you may wish to mute your computer's speakers when the Talk button is pressed to avoid echoing and audio feedback.

  1. Navigate to Tools in the Collaborate session.
  2. Choose Audio, then Speaker Settings.
  3. Check the Mute speakers when Talk pressed option.

Instructors may also want to limit how many users can speak and share video at one time. Set the maximum number of simultaneous talkers to one - or two, if there is another moderator - and similarly for the maximum number of webcams.

Using the Audio and Video Panel (PDF)

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How do I remove or add a student's microphone or whiteboard permissions?

To change permissions for all participants (non-moderators), select or deselect permissions using the Global Permissions Menu in the Participants Panel.

To change permissions for an individual user, select or deselect the desired permissions in that user’s individual Permissions Menu in the Participants Panel.

Introduction to the Participants Panel (PDF)

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Why is the audio not working?

  1. Check that the Talk button, at the bottom of the Audio & Video Panel, is on. If not, single-click the Talk button to turn it on.
  2. If the Talk button is inaccessible (grayed out), the moderator may not have enabled the Talk function or the maximum number of simultaneous talkers has been reached. A moderator must enable microphone permissions or revoke permissions from another talker.
  3. Configure your audio devices: Click Tools, then Audio, and select Audio Setup Wizard.

Using the Audio Setup Wizard (PDF)

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Sharing Content

What file types can I share and how can I do it?

  • All file types can be shared using the File Transfer Library.
  • Multimedia files (.mp3, .wmv, .mpeg, mpeg4, QuickTime, and Flash) can be shared using the Multimedia Library.
  • PowerPoint files (.ppt,.pptx) and image files (.bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png) can be shared on the Whiteboard.

To share a file using the File Transfer or Multimedia Libraries:

  1. Navigate to the File menu in the session and select Open.
  2. Choose File for Transfer OR Multimedia.
  3. Select the desired file and click Open.
  4. Students will be notified that the moderator is transferring a file to them.

Loading a PowerPoint File (PDF)
Using the Whiteboard (VIDEO)
Using Application Sharing (PDF)
Using Web Tour (PDF)

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How do I present a PowerPoint during a session?

  1. Click Load Content near the top right corner of the session window.
  2. Select the desired PowerPoint file and click Open.
  3. Wait for the PowerPoint file to be converted to the Whiteboard format.
  4. The Page Explorer will open automatically. Use it to navigate through presentation slides or click the 'X' in the upper-right corner to close. Page navigation can then be found at the top of the Whiteboard.

Note that PowerPoint narration and animation features will not function in Whiteboard format.

Loading a PowerPoint File (PDF)

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Are there limits to how many files I can upload?

The number of files you can upload at one time is dependent upon the size of the files. If the limit is exceeded, you can remove files from the File Transfer or Multimedia Libraries after students have saved them to continue sharing other files.

  • 100 MB of Multimedia content
  • 20 MB of Whiteboard content
  • 10 MB of File Transfer content

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Recording

How do I record a Blackboard Collaborate session?

Blackboard Collaborate records all activity that occurs in the main room of the session, except for private Chat messages, the Timer, and Notes. When the session is being recorded, the Record button will say Recording, which is visible to all Participants.

At the beginning of the session you will see a recording reminder. Click Start to begin recording the session. If you are not ready to record at that time, you can also click the Record button in the top right corner of the session window when you are ready to begin.

If a recording might be used in a future course, Moderators can choose to Hide Names in Recordings when creating the session, to protect student privacy.

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Can I start and stop recording during a session?

Moderators can start and stop a recording anytime during a session. Stopping the recording effectively pauses the recording; however, the final output still presents as a single recording. Therefore, you can choose to exclude specific discussions from being captured.

You do not need to stop and start the recording to prevent periods of inactivity from being recorded. Blackboard Collaborate condenses periods of inactivity to optimize the recording.

Getting Started with Recordings (PDF)

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Where can I find recorded sessions in Blackboard?

  1. Go to the Control Panel of your Blackboard course.
  2. Click Course Tools and choose Blackboard Collaborate.
  3. Click the Recordings link near the top of the page.
  4. Search the appropriate dates, if necessary.
  5. Locate the relevant recording and play.

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Can I download the session recordings to my computer to view offline?

Yes, you can convert recordings to an MP3 (audio) or MP4 (video) file. The new file can be streamed from Blackboard or downloaded and saved locally to your computer.

  1. Go to the Control Panel of your Blackboard course, click Course Tools, and choose Blackboard Collaborate.
  2. Click Recordings near the top of the page and locate the recording you wish to convert.
  3. Choose Convert MP3 or Convert MP4.
  4. When conversion is complete, click the arrow in the appropriate column to play.
  5. Choose to Stream or Download and save a copy to your computer.

The conversion process time depends upon the file size of the original recording, the content shared during the original session, and traffic at the time.

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