On this page, you will identify which tools are used when communicating with a professor. These online tools include Blackboard Collaborate, Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Voicethread.


Zoom is the #1 videoconferencing tool used for classes and meetings at SSW. Zoom is available at by logging in with the SSO login and your UMID. Support is offered through or 410-706-HELP. Zoom is offered as a "Licensed" account to all SSW faculty, staff and students, with equal access to settings, meetings and recordings. See more about Zoom.


Voicethread is an asynchronous tool for presentations, communicating and discussion. Please start by reading the student voicethread page and then view the presentation using this link, in which you can also practice adding a brief comment. You will need to be logged into with your UMID first, in order to add a comment.

Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate is a tool for synchronous communication that may include audio, video, screen sharing, polls, text chat, breakout rooms, whiteboards, slides, and images. Very few instructors at SSW use Collaborate, as most have changed to using Zoom instead.

    • Blackboard Collaborate works best with GOOGLE CHROME, not Internet Explorer or Safari. (See more system requirement information.)

    • We highly recommend you plug in earbuds, headphones, or a USB headset and make sure audio is going out of them before entering the Collaborate room. You will have more control over the volume and it will be easier to hear all participants this way.

Desktop/Laptop: How to enter the room

  1. Your instructor will have posted a link for you to join the room from your course inside Blackboard.

  2. At the appointed time, log into Blackboard and click the link to enter the room.

    • You may also be able to enter from Student Tools > Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

  • Audio is not enabled by default when you first enter.

  • The first time there will be a message at the top of the screen to set up your microphone and camera. Click Yes to do so.

  • After you have done that, you can toggle your microphone and camera on/off (mute/unmute) using the microphone and camera icons in the bottom center of your screen. (See image below)

    • You will also want to click the purple >> icon in the lower right to open the text chat and/or to see the list of other participants.

  • Once you open the chat you can chat with everyone or just moderators (instructors):

  • The image above shows some features that you may not see as a student participant.

  • If you are given the role of "Presenter" you will see the share icon.

    • If you are given the role of Moderator (an instructor role) you may see the Settings icon.


Your instructor may set up breakout rooms during the session. Therefore, you will be able to communicate and collaborate with a smaller group.


Cisco Webex ( is the leading enterprise solution for video conferencing, online meetings, screen share, and webinars. Very few (if any) SSW courses use Webex.

    • Webex works best on Google Chrome

    • We highly recommend you plug in earbuds, headphones, or a USB headset and make sure audio is going out of them before entering a Webex session. You will have more control over the volume and it will be easier to hear all participants this way.

    • We recommend you familiarize yourself with Webex using these links and resources before participating in a scheduled Webex session.

    • Most Webex sessions are conducted using what is called a Personal Room. This is a persistent URL that does not change and takes the form of this url: where XXX is the name of the person or their nickname.

    • A link will be shared with you via email or posted in Blackboard.

    • At the desired time, click the link and enter the Webex session.


You may need to download a small plugin or browser extension before using Webex. We STRONGLY recommend allowing 15 minutes before a Webex session to properly login, download the extension and test your audio and video.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams (formally Skype for Business) is a group collaboration tool that provides for team communication, collaboration, persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration using Office 365. This tool is perfect for student group communication. (Note that few if any classes at SSW are officially using this tool, but we mention it because you do have access and can use it to communicate with fellow students.)

    1. Visit and click Sign in.

    2. Login using your UMID.

    3. Authenticate via Duo.

    4. Select Teams from the list of available icons.

    5. In the search bar, type the name or email address of the person you wish to message.

    6. Type a New Message to begin an instant messaging session.

    7. You can add video and audio or create a Team with more than one person.

    8. There are loads of resources about Teams on YouTube or via Microsoft's website. Feel free to check them out.


  1. Enter this course's Collaborate room to familiarize yourself with Blackboard Collaborate in advance/on your own

  2. View this 10 minute recording of one of the live tutorial sessions.

  3. Log in to and launch Microsoft Teams.

  4. Familiarize yourself with Teams and begin a chat with anyone from the IDEA Team (hint: their names are at the beginning of this tutorial).

  5. After you have completed exercise 10, please go to Step 11.