Using Blackboard Collaborate

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

Using Blackboard Collaborate – Quick Intro

Once your Compass 2g site has been built and your Blackboard Collaborate sessions have been created, do the following to quickly begin using Collaborate as an instructor.

  1. Log in to Compass 2g with your NetID and AD/email password.
  2. From the Course Menu, select the week to which you linked your Collaboration session. In this case, it is Week 1. To the right of the purple double arrow icon, select the Collaborate link:
    Blackboard Collaboration Session Link
    Blackboard Collaboration Session Link

    Then select Join Room. Select the meeting.collab download file in your Downloads folder. From the Do you want to run this application? box, select Run.

  3. Collaborate opens on the Main Room. The Main Room is the default space where synchronous sessions are held. It is comprised of an Audio & Video panel, a Participants panel, a Chat panel, and a large whiteboard onto which objects like PowerPoint files can be loaded, URLs can be opened, and annotations created. For more information on using the whiteboard, see Blackboard’s documentation on using the whiteboard feature.

    Collaborate Interface
    Collaborate Interface
  4. On the top left is the Audio & Video panel. To the right of Audio & Video, select the microphone icon to run the Audio Setup Wizard, which will configure your audio settings for you. NOTE: You will need to run the Audio Setup Wizard every time you launch a Collaborate session. To transmit audio, select the Talk button underneath the video screen. To transmit audio, select the Video button underneath the video screen. To preview your video transmission before publicizing it, select the person with a magnifying glass icon to the right of the Video button:

    Audio & Video Panel
    Audio & Video Panel
  5. Underneath the Audio & Video panel is the Participants panel. This panel shows who you are (moderator), provides a quick toolbar for you as the moderator to control permissions in the room, how many people are in the main room and contains ways for them to engage with the content:
    Participants Panel
    Participants Panel

    Smily face = expressions of emotion, person with a timer = away messages, hand = raising their hands, check mark = answer yes or no.

    Significantly, the Participants panel also allows you to create private/breakout rooms for group collaboration and office hours. To make a breakout room, select the hamburger icon to the right of Participants, select Create Breakout Rooms… from the drop down menu, and fill in the appropriate information:

    Create Breakout Rooms
    Create Breakout Rooms

    For group collaboration: list the number of rooms you need (there is no limit) and select Don’t move participants to manually move each student (based on preassigned groups,  Distribute participants evenly to divide participants into even groups among the rooms, and  Divide into groups of  to divide participants into a certain number per group.

    For office hours: name the room (“Office Hours”, for example), create just one room, and select Don’t move participants. As participants do not have moderator privileges, they cannot move themselves to your Office Hours room, but instead must wait for you to move them.

    When finished with the breakout room(s), select the Main Room button that has appeared in the Participants panel and select Close All Breakout Rooms from the drop down menu:

    Close Breakout Rooms
    Close Breakout Rooms
  6. Underneath the Participants panel is the Chat panel. In the Chat panel, everyone can see when someone enters or leaves the room, and can enter messages to communicate to the room and to private recipients:

    Chat Panel
    Chat Panel
  7. Running along the top of the Collaborate interface is a series of tools that allow you, from left to right, to use the whiteboard, share applications, pull up a webpage, set a timer, load content (like a PowerPoint), and record the session:
    Tools
    Tools

    For more information on loading a PowerPoint, see Blackboard’s documentation on loading and displaying a PowerPoint file.

  8. All sessions can be recorded; however, you as the instructor or moderator of the room decide when recording starts and stops. A Recording Reminder box on the right appears automatically asking if you want to begin recording. Select Close to not record right now, and Start to start recording. Otherwise, you can select Record from the Tools menu at any time to begin recording. Once the recording starts, a voice will announce to the room that recording has started; when stopped, a voice will announce to the room that recording has stopped. NOTE: Only activities in the Main Room are recorded.
  9. Once the recorded session has ended, it is saved in your Compass 2g site and can be linked to a particular week’s or day’s material or uploaded to Kaltura. To do so, under Content Collection on the top right, turn Edit Mode is to On. Under the Tools tab, select Blackboard Collaborate. Under the Create Session box, select Recordings to the right of Scheduled Sessions:
    Recordings Section
    Recordings Section

    Hover over the session recording and select the chevron that appears:

    Link or Convert Recorded Sessions
    Link or Convert Recorded Sessions

    To link to the recording, select Add Link and then select the area(s) within Compass 2g to which you want to link the recorded session. To convert the recording to a Kaltura-friendly format, select Convert to MP4. If you chose the former, the link to the recorded session is now located under the content area you selected. To play it, select the link. NOTE:You cannot convert the video of yourself into MP4 format. The converted file is only that of audio and video of whatever was on the whiteboard during the recording. To preserve instructor video, your file will need to stay as a .collab file.