What 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 join online real-time sessions with other members of your Blackboard course.  There is video and audio participation as well as text chat, you may share files (PDF, PowerPoint, Images (including animated GIFs), share what you are doing on your screen, 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.

A Bb Collaborate menu item is added to Blackboard courses by default, but your course instructor may rename it, or delete it because they will not use it.

The Bb Collaborate menu item

Upon opening the menu, the session list appears.  By default every course has a “Course room” which is open to all course members.  Students can join and use this session even if the instructor is not running it.  Instructors may remove student abilities to join this session if they wish.  Instructors may add any number of further sessions.

The sessions list in Bb Collaborate

Selecting a session will bring up a link to join the session if it is currently open.


The “hamburger” icon allows the user to change to the recordings menu where she can locate any previously recorded sessions.  In general we recommend that staff download recorded sessions from Collaborate and delete them, and then upload the session to Panopto.


Opening the Collaborate hamburger menu