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Blackboard Help

Find Your Way Around

Get to know your way around Collaborate. We've organized everything into three convenient areas: a media space, the Session menu, and a Collaborate panel.

Media space

The media space in Collaborate is where the content of the session is displayed. Content you share is automatically the main focus of your screen. The picture-in-picture shows you who is speaking.

We've maximized the size of this space to create an inherent full screen experience at any screen size.

Tools that appear in the media space relate directly to what is happening in the session at that moment. You know immediately what you can do.

More on the tools

If you're not sharing content, the focus is on participant profiles and video. You can switch between a grid view and a view that follows the speaker. With the follow-the-speaker view, the focus moves to the current speaker as the discussion unfolds.

The Ultra experience switches to follow-the-speaker view automatically when there are more than five participants.

Grid view
Follow the speaker view

Session menu

The Session menu opens a collection of high level session actions and information. Open it using the Session menu button at the top left of the screen.

Tools and features you use only once or twice during a session are conveniently grouped here.


Collaborate panel

The Collaborate panel takes your session experience to the next level. You now have a single space to go to engage other participants with all the great collaborate tools.

  • Chat with everyone in the session or privately with other moderators.
  • View participants and their roles.
  • Moderators and presenters can share content or start polling.
  • Set your personal settings.

Collaborate panel with a screen reader

Using the “button” or link quick keys (B in JAWS or VO + Command + L in VoiceOver) look for the button labeled “Open Collaborate Panel”.

If the link quick key in VoiceOver doesn’t identify this action, try VO + Command + G to go to the next graphic, or VO + Right Arrow to read the next item until you find it. VoiceOver doesn’t have a great method for specifically finding BUTTON controls.

Activating this button opens a ‘tab list’ which works as follows:

  1. The first tab “Chat” is focused by default. Use the TAB key on your keyboard to interact with the elements within the chat panel including reading and posting messages.

    More on navigating chat history with keyboard controls

  2. Use the right and left arrow keys to move through the tabs (Chat, Participant, Content, and Settings).
  3. Once a tab has focus you can use the TAB key to move through the elements on the page. Or back to the list of tabs.
  4. Tab to the “close Collaborate Panel” button to exit out of this experience.