Blackboard modules all come equipped with a tool called Blackboard Collaborate. This tool provides an online seminar virtual room that staff and students can use to run online, distance sessions.
You can also read the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Communication & Adoption Kit and Collaborate Ultra Help for Administrators.
Step One – Prepare your Blackboard module (for modules created before 2020)
This is a one-off process that needs to be done for any module you wish to use Collaborate in.
- Go to the module where you want to use Collaborate.
- In the Control Panel, click once on Customisation and then once on Tool Availability.
- You’ll see a list of different tools. Locate Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and check the box under Available (by default this is not checked).
- Click Submit.
Step Two – Create the space to access Collaborate
- Decide where you want the Collaborate space to be accessed from.
- Link on the menu
- In your module, hover your mouse over the PLUS button that appears directly above the module title in the top left hand side of the screen.
- Select Tool Link from the menu that appears.
- From Type, select Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
- Give the link a name.
- Check the box for Available to Users.
- Click Submit.
- The menu item will appear at the bottom of the menu. You can drag this up to a different location if required.
- Link within a content area (such as Learning Materials)
- Navigate to the space in the module where you want the link to appear.
- Hover your mouse over Tools and then click More Tools from the menu that appears.
- Now click Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
- It will automatically be named Blackboard Collaborate Ultra – you can change this if required or leave it as is.
- Click Submit.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to create a link to Collaborate in your module you can get the URL of dedicated sessions or the Course Room to give to students to access. Please note that this does not mean the sessions are private. Students using the Blackboard Mobile app will be able to access the Collaborate space, and thus access both sessions and the course room.
Step Three – Starting the Session
- When it’s time to run the session, click on the link you created above.
- You will see a link to the Course Room or an option to Create Sessions. Creating Sessions allows you to schedule sessions at set times.
- Now click on Join Course Room or Join Session as appropriate.
- If this is the first time you’ve used it, Collaborate will go a quick set up check to ensure your hardware is working appropriately and your browser is set up to allow access to any webcam and microphone you have.
- At the bottom of your screen is a series of icons. From left to right these are:
- Status – click this one to change your status. Students can use this if you ask a question of the class.
- Microphone – by default this is OFF (a line through it) – click once to allow access to your microphone.
- Webcam – again, by default this is OFF. Clicking it allows access.
- Raise hand – this is for students to “raise their hand” to ask a question.
- Ideally, practise using Collaborate before the session to give you an understanding of the interface.
Step Four – Running the Session
- When you first access Collaborate, you will just see the main screen. Click the icon in the bottom right hand side of the screen (the purple icon with two arrows).
- The Chat panel will now be opened. You can type text chat in the Say Something box.
- You can also get a list of attendees from this panel.
- The Settings option lets you configure your device, including adding a photo of yourself should you wish.
- It’s worth familiarising yourself with this panel before the session.
Step Five – Sharing PowerPoint Presentations
- In the bottom right, there’s a purple shape with two arrows – click that and the Collaborate Panel opens.
- There’s an icon that looks like a square with an arrow coming out of it – click that to Share Content.
- Now click Share Files.
- You can now select your Powerpoint file (or the guest speaker can do this as well).
- Once it’s uploaded (and you can do this prior to the actual session), you can click on it to select it and then click on Share Now.
- The different slides will now be shown as thumbnails – click the one where you want to start and this will be pushed out to everyone in the room.
- You can now navigate through the slides, and everyone will be shown the same slides.
Step Six – Recording the Session
When a session is running, you have the option to Record the session so it can be viewed at a later date.
- From within the Course Room, click the three lined icon in the top left hand corner – when you hover your mouse over it, it’ll say “Open Session Menu”.
- This gives you access to Start Recording. Clicking Start Recording will start recording the video and chat.
- It will continue recording until you stop recording. This is done through the same menu – click the three lined icon again and now click Stop Recording.
- Collaborate will then process the recording.
- To access recorded sessions, click the three lined icon OUTSIDE of the Course Room. This will give you access to Recordings. Remember that a session will not appear immediately after you have recorded it.
A guide for students on how to use Blackboard Collaborate is available here: https://eatsupport.tees.ac.uk/student/knowledgebase/blackboard-collaborate-ultra-for-students/