Blackboard Collaborate is a tool for synchronous communication that may include audio, video, screen sharing, polls, text chat, breakout rooms, whiteboard, slides, images. Please note that BlackBoard Collaborate works best with CHROME not Internet Explorer or Safari. It also works with the Bb Student app on iOS and Android mobile phones. (See more system requirement information.)
We highly recommend you plug in ear buds, 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.
For those who have problems connecting to audio via the computer, a telephone number and PIN code are provided. However, this option still requires that all participants can first connect to the Collaborate Ultra room via a tablet, smartphone or computer browser. It is not possible to only connect to the room via the telephone. The PIN number that is provided is unique to each individual, and can only be accessed from within the room, so all participants must first enter the room via a web-enabled device.
Here is a link to tips for students using the BlackBoard Collaborate platform for the first time - https://en-us.help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Participant. Please test your system and review the tips for getting started before entering your first session.
Also, you may want to review the information and recording about Collaborate from the Blackboard orientation.
Desktop/Laptop: How to enter the room
Your instructor will have posted a link for you to join the room from your course inside Blackboard. At the appointed time, log into Blackboard and click the link to enter the room. Or you may be able to enter from Student Tools > Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Next, set up your microphone and camera and click the purple icon in the lower right to open chat:
If you see a message (for example in Firefox) stating "it looks like we don't have permission to access your microphone and camera" click the camera icon in the upper left next to the URL address:
Call-In by Telephone
If you cannot get your audio to work you may wish to call in via telephone. This option is not always working, so we recommend first trying the computer audio, per above.
Once connected to the room, the phone number and PIN code are found using the 3 line “hamburger” in the upper left of the session screen that looks like this:
Note that the PIN # provided is unique to each individual and cannot be shared. All persons who wish to connect to audio via telephone must log into the Collaborate Ultra room from a web-enabled device and click to find their PIN #.
Managing Your Microphone Like a Pro
What makes videoconferencing sessions better? Better audio. What makes better audio? Judicious use of the microphone. Here are some tips to Mute Jockey like a pro:
- Keep your microphone muted whenever there are sounds around you that others need not hear or distract from the session. This includes typing, dogs barking, family sounds, sirens, eating, coughing, sneezing and so on.
- UNMUTE your microphone to ask questions, make comments, laugh or provide audible vocal responses. And then MUTE it again.
- If you dial in to a videoconference on your phone, you need to manage the mute button on your phone. Since phones are the most problematic for audio quality and background noise, please keep them muted most of the time.Be aware of how to mute your microphone quickly and effectively in any videoconferencing application. In Collaborate, the microphone icon in is in the lower center of your screen.NOTE: by default, when you enter Collaborate your microphone and camera are DISABLED.You need to click the icons to enable them and test them:
- Use the chat. We recommend you open the chat when you enter a videoconference, as this is a good way to communicate in case there are audio or other issues. Just note that not everyone may see your text chats, in which case you might also need to enable your microphone to speak up.
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, in which case you will be able to communicate and collaborate with a smaller group.
Note: if you have network errors during the meeting, you will see a message that says "Uh-oh!" - with a "Reconnect" button. Please click Reconnect as this will generally get you quickly back into the session.