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Blackboard Help

Get Set Up

Set Your Connection Speed

Blackboard Collaborate is designed to ensure that you always experience a session synchronized with all participants, live in real time. To do this, Blackboard Collaborate matches the rate the server sends information to you with the setting you chose for connection speed.

When you configure preferences, Blackboard Collaborate remembers the settings for each session you join on the same computer.

The speed of your connection can affect the quality of your experience. If your connection is poor and continues to drop, try a lower connection speed. You may need to make a compromise between connection stability and quality. For example, you may experience delays for audio, video, and application sharing.

  1. Open the Preferences window:
    • From the Edit menu, click Preferences (Windows and Linux).
    • From the Blackboard Collaborate menu, click Preferences (Mac OS X).
  2. In the Session section, click Connection.

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  3. In the Connection Speed drop-down list, select the modem or line speed that your computer uses to connect to Blackboard Collaborate. In most cases, this means your internet connection speed.
    • 28.8Kbps Dialup: 28.8K modem
    • 33.6Kbps Dialup: 33.6K modem
    • 56Kbps Dialup: 56K modem
    • ISDN: High-speed dedicated telephone connection
    • Wireless (300 Kbps): Wireless connection
    • Cable/DSL: High-speed cable connection or Digital Subscriber Line
    • LAN: Local Area Network

Run the Audio Setup Wizard

After you join a session, use the Audio Setup Wizard to verify that your microphone and speaker are set up correctly. You are guided through the selection of devices, and the adjustment of your speaker and microphone volumes. Blackboard recommends that you run the wizard before the start of a session.

You can use your computer's built-in microphone and speakers. You can also add additional devices or use a headset that combines both the speaker and microphone devices.

You can join a session early to run the wizard. If you run it again during a session, you cannot hear any of the session's audio. Others will know you cannot hear them because the microphone icon (icon_audio_setup.png) appears next to your name in the Participants list.

To open the wizard, click the microphone icon at the top of the Audio & Video panel.

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If you join a session with no speaker or microphone device connected, you do not have to the run the wizard or make selections. Just connect your devices and, after the system recognizes the new devices, Blackboard Collaborate automatically connects to them. Adjust your speaker and microphone levels as needed.


When you launch your first session, Blackboard Collaborate uses the default system microphone.

Windows and Linux

The microphone is used in all future sessions—if it is available when you launch Blackboard Collaborate—until you select a different device. When you change your system default microphone, it does not affect which device Blackboard Collaborate uses. You can change your microphone in the Edit menu.

Mac OS X

If you select Use System Default Device, your microphone changes each time you change your system default.

If you do not select Use System Default Device, the default microphone is used in all future sessions—if it is available—until you make a change.


When you launch your first session, Blackboard Collaborate uses the default system speaker device. If sound is not being transmitted by your speaker, change the device.

Windows and Linux

If you are on a Windows or Linux system, you can change your speaker in the Edit menu.

Mac OS X

Mac users cannot change their speaker devices directly in Blackboard Collaborate as the system default device is used. To change your output device, click the switch icon (icon_switch.png) in the Select Audio Output Device pop-up window. Make your changes in the Sound Output window. Close the window and continue with the wizard.

Users on Mac OS X 10.5 and earlier or Linux must select a microphone option:

  • Single Talker: Headset or a microphone just for yourself.
  • Multiple Talkers: Single microphone for multiple talkers, such as when you are in meeting room with others. This is the default.