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Blackboard Help

Virtual Classroom

The virtual classroom environment includes a shared whiteboard, a group browser, a question-and-answer area, and a map that you can use to navigate to areas in your course. The session moderator establishes which tools users can access.

How to Access the Virtual Classroom

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and click Collaboration.
  2. Access a virtual classroom's contextual menu and click Join.

Virtual Classroom Menu Bar

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  • View: Click Show in-line to view private messages within the chat area. Click Show in separate frame to view private messages in a separate window.
  • Controls: Select the check boxes to grant access to tools for passive and active users. Clear a check box to delete access to a tool.
  • Clear: Clear the currently visible chat display. If you are recording the session, this has no effect on the recorded chat text.
  • End: Stop a session. The session is ended and all users are dismissed.
  • Breakouts: Select the check boxes for the users who will participate in the breakout session. Users may only join a breakout session if they are selected by the creator of the breakout session. Users who enter a breakout session are still active in the main virtual classroom session. If a breakout session is closed, users are still active in the main session. Breakout sessions default to the same settings as the main session.

Virtual Classroom Tool Box

To begin using items on the Tool tab, click the name of a tool.

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The following tools are available in the classroom tool box:


The whiteboard tools allow users to draw images, type text, and present equations. The session moderator determines whether this function is made available to users.

The following table details the functions available on the whiteboard.

Whiteboard Functions
To Click
Select an item The arrow tool. Then, click an item for selection. The following actions may be performed on selected items:
  • Enlarge: Click the small black boxes that surround an item and drag it to the appropriate size.
  • Move
  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Delete
  • Group items: Click multiple items and click the Group icon.
  • Ungroup: Click an item in a group. Then, click the Ungroup icon.
  • Bring front
  • Bring back
  • Select all figures on the whiteboard
Draw free hand The pen tool. Choose the color of the pen in the Pen Color drop-down list. Next, choose the line width.
Type text using the keyboard The text tool (T), and then the whiteboard area. A Whiteboard Text Input box appears. Type the text and click Insert. Use the options in the Tools palette for color, font, and size.
Draw a straight line The line tool.
Draw a rectangle or oval The rectangle and oval tools. Choose the color of the square from the Fill Color drop-down list to draw a solid shape. To draw the outline of the shape, click None for the fill color. The outline of the shape will be the color of the pen tool and have the selected line width.
Input an equation The math and science equation editor icon. Input the equation and click Insert Equation.

Group Browser

Use the group browser to explore the internet as a group. You can open a URL that is viewable by all users and appear in recordings. The session moderator determines whether this function is made available to users.

Click Preview in New Window to open a website in a new browser window. The preview window only appears to the user who opened it.


Use the course map to browse the course menu as a group. By default, the session moderator has access to operate the course map. Only active users can use the course map.

At any time, click Refresh Tree in the drop-down list to update the course map to match the course menu.

Click Preview in New Window to open the map in a new browser window. The preview window only appears to the user who opened it.

Ask Question

Users are able to ask questions during a session. As users submit questions, the session moderator can view and respond to them. Only active users can ask questions.

To ask a question, click Compose. Type a question and click Send.

Question Inbox

Users can send questions to the question inbox.

The session moderator can select the Show unanswered only check box to show only unanswered questions. Mark a response Private to send it only to the user who submitted the question.