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What is it?

Blackboard Collaborate is a web-conferencing tool your instructors may use to have real-time interactions with you and your classmates. This means that they may schedule a specific time that you and your classmates have to log into your Blackboard course and interact with them. Blackboard Collaborate is similar to Wimba Classroom, which you may have used in previous semesters. The main difference between Collaborate and Wimba is how they look; the major functions are similar.

How is it used?

Some instructors may present content, give a beginning of semester orientation to your course, have student presentations, or hold virtual office hours. The key to successfully participating in a Blackboard Collaborate session is to make sure your system is compatible, check your audio hardware functions, and understand how participation features work. The information below will give you a quick tour of the Collaborate session window. At the bottom of the page you will find links to other resources with more detailed instructions for using Collaborate, as well as information about how to contact Collaborate technical support.

Getting Started

  1. Make sure your computer meets Blackboard Collaborate system requirements.
  2. Find out from your instructor what other hardware you will need to fully participate in the Collaborate session. You may need a headset with an integrated microphone, a webcam, or both.
  3. Follow the link your instructor created to enter the Collaborate session several minutes before the scheduled start time. This will give you enough time to test your speakers, microphone, or camera.

Participating in a Collaborate Session

The Collaborate session window will look something like this:

BB Collaborate Window

The large panel highlighted in green in the image above is the main content area. This is the area where presentation slides and other materials will be displayed.

In the top left corner of the window will be the audio/video panel. When you enter the session for the first time, select the audio settings button to test your audio hardware. The button, circled below in red, looks like a blue microphone with a red gear symbol on top.

Bb Collaborate Audio Wizard Image

Below the Audio & Video panel is the Participants panel. In this panel you will be able to see the names of all the participants and moderators. Small indicator icons will tell you when someone is speaking or typing. You will also use this panel to raise your hand when you want to speak, respond to questions and polls, and express yourself.

Bb Collaborate Audio Image

Below the Participants panel is the Chat panel. You will use this instant messaging area to ask and answer questions, express your opinions, and interact with your classmates.

Bb Collaborate Chat Image

Technical Support

If you're experiencing difficulty joining or participating in a Collaborate session, contact Collaborate Technical Support. Under the support section you can chat with an agent online, call directly or create a ticket 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More Resources

  • Orientation Video
    This video provides an introduction to Blackboard Collaborate that can help you prepare for your first session. Depending on how the moderator or instructor sets up the session, you may or may not use or have access to all features discussed in the video.
  • Participant's Guide
    This is your full user manual for Blackboard Collaborate.

page last updated 10/1/2014 8:50 AM