Creating Blackboard Collaborate Sessions

About Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate is synchronous (real-time) collaboration and recording software. Blackboard Collaborate supports the following features:

  • Audio and video transmission
  • Chat messages
  • Whiteboard tools
  • Desktop sharing
  • PowerPoint upload
  • Session recording

For more information, see The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning’s page on Blackboard Collaborate for students.

Creating a Blackboard Collaborate Session

There are two ways to create Collaborate sessions.

Option 1: have The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) do it. They hold the license for Collaborate, and are accustomed to creating sessions through the Collaborate web interface. They create the session and then give out links to it which are added to the course site.

Option 2: Compass integration, which involves requesting the Compass 2g course yourself, communicating with CITL to enable Collaborate for it, and then building out the Collaborate session yourself and linking to it from within Compass 2g.

  1. Option 2: Request a Compass 2g space at compassspacerequest.illinois.edu. For more information, see CITES’ guide to requesting a Compass 2g space.
  2. After receiving confirmation that the course is built, email learningtech@illinois.edu with the course id(s) to request that the course(s) be enabled with Collaborate. Members of the CITL team will be in touch shortly to confirm that your course(s) have Collaborate, or to gather more information to fulfill your request.
  3. Provide the course id(s) for the course(s) you wish to be enabled. To locate the course id, log into the Compass 2g site. Under Content Collection on the middle left, find the course id:
    Course ID
    Course ID

    The College of Media already pays CITL to use Collaborate, so there will be no charge.

  4. Within your Compass 2g site, under Content Collection on the top right, turn Edit Mode is to On.
  5. From the Course Menu on the left, select the content area where you want to place a Collaborate session. For more information, see Media Tech’s quick guide to using Compass 2g.
  6. Under the Course Menu, select Customization and then Tool Availability. Scroll down to Blackboard Collaborate and select the check box under Available in Content Area. Select Submit.
  7. Hover over the Tools tab from the four drop down menus running along the top of the content area. Select Blackboard Collaborate from the drop down menu.
  8. Select Create Session to create a Collaborate session, or select Set Defaults (located directly under the Create Session button) to set up default preferences that will be applied to every Collaborate session in your course:
    Create Session or Set Defaults for all sessions
    Create Session or Set Defaults for all sessions
    1. Search Defaults = set search boundaries for session and recording range searches.
    2. Session Join Defaults = set how names of session participants are displayed
    3. Teleconference Options = set if the session will allow for teleconferencing or will allow only Voice over IP (VoIP), wherein users hear the session through their computer speakers or USB headset.
    4. Session Creation Information = set the session name, length, how early participants can enter the room, whether the recording will be automatic, manual or disabled, how many people can speak simultaneously at the start of the session, how many web cameras can transmit video feeds simultaneously at the start of the session, whether the instructor can view private messages, whether all participants have moderator privileges, whether all participants enter the room with their hands raised, whether to allow moderators to invite external participants to join the session, and whether to hide participants’ names when playing the session recording.
    5. Grade Center Integration = set whether or not to create a Grade Center column for participation that links to the Collaborate session.
    6. Roles and Access = set whether to allow all users to join the session with moderator privileges, to restrict access to the session by assigning certain roles to certain participants, and to allow unregistered guests to participate in the session via a guest link.
    7. Student Permissions = set whether participants can convert the recordings to different formats, like MP4.
  9. If you set defaults, every session you make will share those default settings. If you want to make just one session, select Create Session and select your desired setting:
    Create One Session
    Create One Session
    1. Session name = enter the name of the session here. It defaults to the course rubric and name.
    2. Start Time and End Time = enter the start and end times of the session by using the calendar and slide bars. NOTE: we recommend making one continuous session that starts the first day of your course and ends on the last day. 
    3. Repeat = select whether the session should repeat and the frequency of its repetition. NOTE: if you create one continuous session, you can leave the Repeat function off.
    4. Early session entry = select how early participants can join the session.
    5. Session Type = select whether participants in this course only can join this session (Course) or if participants in all courses you teach can join (Shared).
    6. Teleconference Options = select whether you want Collaborate to generate a teleconference option, or if you want to use a third-party option for teleconferencing, or if you want to use only VoIP.
    7. Room Attributes = set the attributes of the session, including how many participants can speak simultaneously and whether to allow guests.
    8. Grade Center Integration = set whether or not to create a Grade Center column for participation that links to the Collaborate session.
    9. Roles and Access =  set whether to allow all users to join the session with moderator privileges, to restrict access to the session by assigning certain roles to certain participants, and to assign moderator roles to certain participants.
  10. Select Save.
  11. The session is now created. To edit, delete, or link to the session to make it accessible in your content area(s), hover over the session and select the chevron that appears on the right. To link to the session, select Add Link from the drop down menu:

    Add Link
    Add Link
  12. Check off all of the content areas to which you want to link the session:
    Link to Content Area(s)
    Link to Content Area(s)

    Under Course Link Options, you have the option of adding a brief description of the session. If you want to require the description to appear, turn Required on. Under Date Restrictions, you have the option to choose if the session link is displayed after or until a certain date and time.

  13. Select Save.
  14. The Collaborate session is now visible in all the content areas to which it was linked:
    Visible Session
    Visible Session

    This one continuous Collaborate session, visible in Week 1 and Week 2 content areas, serves as the Collaborate session for the entirety of the course.

  15. Select the session. Select Join Room to launch the Collaborate app, open the downloaded meeting.collab file, and join the room.