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Blackboard Collaborate

Please note this page is only for CTE staff and students

What is Blackboard Collaborate?

It is an online virtual classroom/meeting space which allows users to connect via audio, see each other via webcams, use a chat tool, collaborate on documents and view presentations, as well as other features including:

  • Live multi-way communication via video or voice (staff and students)
  • Rich content use including PowerPoint presentations and PDF documents and guided/self-guided web-based tours
  • Application and desktop sharing
  • Tools such as hand raise indicator, live chat and polling*
  • The ability to record sessions to share with participants later
  • Mobile access for participants (Android and iPhone)

Students can also use breakout rooms, giving them the opportunity to complete group tasks, discuss the themes of the session and share resources with each other.

* Please note, as of March 14th 2020, Blackboard has made the decision to temporarily disable the following tools to improve room functionality:

  • Timer (a countdown timer that helps with classroom time management)
  • Chat typing indicator (a visual indicator that someone is typing but has not yet completed their thought - the chat feature itself will still be available)
  • Netstats indicator (a visual indicator of connection quality next to each user)

What hardware or software do I need to use Blackboard Collaborate?

  • Blackboard Collaborate is based on modern web technologies such as HTML5 and WebRTC. You do not need to install Java or a launcher. We recommend using the latest version of Firefox or Google Chrome as your browser as Safari (Mac only) does not support application and desktop sharing. Please note we do not recommend using Internet Explorer as your browser when using Blackboard Collaborate.
  • For the best Blackboard Collaborate experience with your screen reader, use Firefox and JAWS on a Windows system and Safari and VoiceOver on a Mac system.
  • To get the most out of your online experience we recommend using a headset (rather than a desktop microphone) as this reduces interference and feedback.
  • You do not have to have a webcam to gain the full benefit of using Blackboard Collaborate, this is an optional extra. However if you are presenting, it can sometimes personalise the experience more if you do use a webcam, in which case this can be either built-in or wired.
  • If you want to use Blackboard Collaborate on a mobile device you will have to download the relevant App. The current version of the App is available for iOS and Android mobile devices only. We do not recommend moderating or presenting a webinar or online meeting via a mobile device as the App has limited functionality (e.g. polling is not available).

How do I create a Blackboard Collaborate room?

Currently the only person who can create a Blackboard Collaborate room is the CTE Senior Academic Technologist. If you would like a room set up, please complete this Blackboard Collaborate Booking Form. Please note this booking form is only for CTE staff. Staff in the Business School should contact the WBS Academic Technologies team for information about setting up their online rooms. This facility is not available for other staff within the University. In addition presenters will need to complete a Blackboard Collaborate Presenter Form. Presenters will only need to complete this once, as it gives CTE permission to record the webinar in any Warwick Blackboard Collaborate room being used.

How do I access Blackboard Collaborate?

You will be sent a URL by email or the link will be added to your Moodle space. Add your full name where it says Type your name... and then click or tap the Join Session button.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra login screen

If you want to access the session on a mobile device you will need to download the free Blackboard Collaborate Mobile App from either the App Store or Google Play.

You will be asked to give Blackboard Collaborate permission to access your audio; please do this otherwise you will have reduced functionality during the session. You should then see the following Audio Test screen:

Blackboard Collaborate Audio Test Screen 1

Speak into your headset and if the purple bar fluctuates click on the Yes - It's working button. If no sound registers, choose a different audio source from the drop down menu and try again. If this still doesn't work then click on the No - I need help button and follow the guidance on the screen.

You will then be asked to give Blackboard Collaborate permission to access your video. This is optional but if you want to use your video then you will need to give permission. You should then see a Video Test screen similar to the one below:

Blackboard Collaborate Video Test Screen

If you can see yourself on the screen, click on the Yes - It's working button. If not, choose a different video source from the drop down menu and try again. If this still doesn't work then click on the No - I need help button and follow the guidance on the screen.

You will then enter the virtual room. If this is the first time you have used Blackboard Collaborate, click on the Start Tutorial button and follow the instructions on the screen. If you are familiar with Blackboard Collaborate click on the Later link and then close the Tell me about Collaborate pop up box that appears on the left hand side of the screen. You should now see the virtual room. Click on the purple expand button at the bottom right of the screen if you do not automatically see the chat/share panels.

Blackboard Collaborate interface

Please note the audio and video tests are combined into one question in Safari and you just have to click the Allow button to enable them both.

Blackboard Collaborate Safari audio and video test screenshot

Support material - all participants

Support material for use on mobile devices

You will need to download the Blackboard App to access Blackboard Collaborate on mobile devices. However, please be aware that the Blackboard App can give participants access to the whole Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) of which Collaborate is just one component. As we do not use the Blackboard LMS here at Warwick, some of the information on the following support pages is not applicable. Please ignore any reference to school name or needing a Blackboard Learn account. Once you have downloaded the App onto your device, you should just be able to click on the link from Moodle (or from an email message if it was sent to you) to access the relevant Blackboard Collaborate room.

Support material - moderators/presenters