Blackboard Collaborate for Staff

Return to Blackboard Collaborate Main Page

Blackboard Collaborate has a 250 attendee limit. If you wish to use Blackboard Collaborate with more than 250 attendees view our guide.


Quick Links

Webinar Overview

When I give webinar overviews of Collaborate, this is my slide deck.  You may find this useful.

Video blog introduction

This video blog was created a few days before Collaborate was made live and was notified to members of the Blackboard-users mailing list. 

The video description on YouTube has shortcuts to parts of the video that cover different features and aspects of Blackboard Collaborate.

Getting Started

Blackboard Collaborate LogoWhat is Blackboard Collaborate?  What can I do with it?

Blackboard Collaborate is a real-time video conferencing tool integrated into every Blackboard course that lets you add files, share applications, and use a virtual whiteboard to interact. Collaborate opens right in your Chrome or Firefox browser, so you don’t have to install any software to join a session.  It will work on phones and tablets without needing an additional app.  Find out more in this guide.

Recipe iconCollaborate Lesson Recipes

Based on staff experiences and pedagogic good practice we are building a selection of “Lesson Recipes” to help to facilitate learning activities with your students.

Icon of a cog and spannerWhich tool should  I use? (Scenarios)

The university has a number of tools for online communication and collaboration such as Panopto, Blackboard Collaborate, and Microsoft Teams.

We will endeavour to produce guidance based on different scenarios such as lectures, seminars, tutorials, vivas, presentations, and inteviews and illustrate which tool works best for each context.

Best PracticeBest Practices

We have prepared guidance on best practices for running Blackboard Collaborate sessions based on feedback from other institutions and experts.

As colleagues build their own experiences at UoS we will continue to update this area with all the lessons we learn as an institution.

a rubbish bin iconI want to remove the Collaborate menu item from my course!

We added a Collaborate link to the menu of every Blackboard course where possible.  We understand if you do not want to have this menu item.  This guide explains how you can remove it from your course in seconds.

Headset iconRecommended Technology and Equipment

Which technologies (such as browsers and operating systems) and what equipment (such as microphones and headsets) works best with Blackboard Collaborate?

Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked Questions

We have collated the questions most frequently asked by UoS colleagues about Blackboard Collaborate and have compiled this useful list.

If you already have a question, you may find the answer here.

Use a virtual background with Blackboard Collaborate

Watch this video to find out how to set up virtual background in collaborate.  A number of backgrounds are ready for you.

How to enable automated captions

Watch this video to find out how to enable automated captions in Chrome for Collaborate.

How to resolve technical issues

Blackboard Collaborate is a new service that we introduced in a very condensed time-frame.  As such there may be teething problems that would normally have been addressed during a pilot phase.

Whatever the issue facing you, please review these steps that should resolve most issues.

Using Blackboard Collaborate

StartStarting / Joining a Blackboard Collaborate Session

How do you kick off a session on Blackboard Collaborate?  It could be a the built-in “Course Room” or a session you have created for a specific purpose.

This guide takes you through what happens when you join a session.

Set upSetting Up Collaborate Sessions

While a “Course Room” is created automatically for every Blackboard course, it is likely you will wish to create sessions to suit different purposes.  This guide takes you through the process.

RolesRoles, permissions, and external guests

Moderator, presenter, participant, what do these roles mean and what can they do?  How can I invite guests from outside the University of just outside of the course?

whiteboardUsing the whiteboard

During a Blackboard Collaborate session, moderators and presenters may open a white board and draw over it.  They may also use the drawing tools to draw over a presentation or other shared file.

Recording your Blackboard Collaborate Session

Moderators may record their Blackboard Collaborate session and, if they wish, make that recording available to participants.

The University has limited capacity to store recordings, so in general we recommend hosting recordings on Panopto and then deleting them from Blackboard Collaborate. 

accessibility iconAccessibility Information

Blackboard Collaborate was designed with accessibility in mind.  Follow this link to review the vendor’s latest guidance on using tools such as screen-readers with Blackboard Collaborate.

User InterfaceThe Collaborate User Interface

The Collaborate User Inteface is minimal and easy to get to grips with.  A tutorial even starts when you use it for the first time.  If you should ever need a reminder this guide covers the basics of the Blackboard Collaborate User Interface.

Share iconSharing Content

During a Blackboard Collaborate session, moderators and presenters may share content so that they other participants may see it. 

This could be sharing your screen, sharing a browser tab, or sharing a presentation or file.

Graphic from Collaborate where students can state their feedbackEngaging with Participants (students)

During  a Blackboard Collaborate session participants may enter messages in a chat or share their sentiment about the session such as agreeing or asking the presenter to slow down for example.

You can also set polls to ask for opinions, these are covered in a separate guide.

poll icon​​Using the Poll tool to quickly guage opinion and knowledge

During a Blackboard Collaborate session it is quick and easy to create an impromptu poll.  You may use this, for example, to ask participants to make a choice, to indicate an opinion, or as a test of knowledge.

BreakoutUsing Breakout Groups

During a Blackboard Collaborate session, moderators may assign participants into breakout groups, allowing those groups a temporary collaborate area where they can work together before rejoining the main group.

Reporting on usage

AttendanceReporting on Collaborate Session Attendance

After the completion of a Blackboard Collaborate session you may wish to review who joined the session.  You may generate a report on attendance of a Blackboard Collaborate session.

Using Collaborate outside of Blackboard

EyeI want to use Collaborate but I don’t use Blackboard

Collaborate looks awesome.  Everyone is talking about it.  But you don’t use Blackboard and you want to use Blackboard Collaborate.  What to do?  We have an idea!

Enabling Collaborate for Student Groups

GroupsHow Student Groups can use Collaborate

You can set up groups within your Blackboard course.  Now you can allow those groups to have a Collaborate area of their own!

Blackboard Collaborate on Mobile Devices

Mobile DeviceUsing Collaborate on a Tablet or Smart Phone

You don’t need a special app to use Blackboard collaborate on your phone or tablet.  Just use Chrome on Android or Safari on iOS.

Using Blackboard Collaborate without a computer, or without a microphone and speakers.

A phone iconDialing into a Blackboard Collaborate Session using a phone line

There may be times when you can’t use a computer or mobile device but you want to join a Collaborate session.  You can dial in with an old fashioned phone, or even make a call on your mobile.  It will cost you to do so however, so check with the person who pays the bill before you pick up the phone.