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Blackboard Help

Blackboard Collaborate Sessions

For every course, Blackboard Collaborate generates two types of rooms that require no scheduling.

Course Room: A default room provided for your course that lasts as long as the duration of your course. By default, the room is titled with your course name and is always available.

  • By default, students enter your Course Room as participants. Instructors and administrators enter as moderators. You can allow all participants to join as moderators so collaboration can start without your presence.
  • If you have supervision concerns, you can completely turn off your Course Room at the course level.
  • Use your Course Room to acclimate students to your course setup, introduce new concepts, host Q and A sessions, lead study sessions, and grade group presentations.

My Room: A default room provided for each instructor that lasts as long you retain an account on the system. By default, the room is titled with your name and is always available.

  • My Room is accessible from any course where you have the instructor role.
  • You can disallow participants from a certain course to enter your room.
  • By default, students enter your room as participants. You can allow all students to join as moderators or only allow select users from a course you teach to join your room.
  • Use My Room to provide office hours or help to users across all your courses. When privacy is a concern, create a new session and restrict access to only the user you need to discuss an issue with.

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The teaching assistant role does not have a default My Room, but can schedule a session and enter as a moderator.

Your school can make My Room and Course Room unavailable at the system level, which will affect all courses. You can also make one or both the rooms unavailable at the course level.

The Main Blackboard Collaborate Page

You can enter an existing room, edit settings for existing rooms, set defaults for sessions you want to create, create new sessions from this page, and search existing sessions and recordings.

Begin Collaborating

Click Launch Room to enter a room. The Launch Room function only appears if the session is ready to be launched. On the Room Details page, click Launch Room to inititate Blackboard Collaborate.

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Collaborate Launcher Pop-up Window

With some operating systems, when users click the Launch Room function, a pop-up window provides the following two options.

  1. If you do not have the Collaborate Launcher, download it now, and when complete, double-click the .collab file in your Downloads folder to launch your session.
  2. If you have already downloaded the Collaborate Launcher, double-click the .collab file in your Downloads folder to launch your session.

You may find you do not need to use the launcher as the .jnlp file opens your session properly after clicking Launch Room.

If you want to continue using the launcher for future sessions, click the You many need Collaborate Launcher link at any time to access the pop-up window again.

You can learn more about downloading or using the Collaborate Launcher from the link provided in the pop-up window.

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Edit Settings

You can customize any of your rooms. Click Edit Room to adjust settings for simultaneous speakers, private messages, the recording options, and more.

Add a Course Link

Click Add Link to create a course link to the room in one of your course areas, such as a content area or learning module. When you add a course link, students can access the room at a designated time alongside the relevant content in your course.

Allow Guests

You can send guests a URL to access your Blackboard Collaborate session. In the pop-up window, add your guests' email addresses and click Send Invitations. In the email from you, your guests will be able to view the session details such as when the session starts and ends. After clicking the URL, they can access the same Launch Room link as your students do to initiate Blackboard Collaborate.

Search Sessions and Recordings

Type a keyword or phrase in the Search box to locate a specific session or recording. You can also provide a date range for the search. Results are limited to the scheduled sessions or available recordings listed in the course you are in.

Create a New Session

You can create individual sessions for test reviews, specific group activity, and for touring and discussing content in your course. When privacy is a concern, create a new session and restrict access to only the user you need to discuss an issue with. Click the Set Defaults link to create settings you can use whenever you create new sessions. For example, you always want six simultaneous speakers and want recordings of the sessions to start automatically.

Information Settings

Provide a descriptive name to help students easily select which session to enter. Session names must begin with a letter or a digit.

You can set the session to start and stop at designated times, and repeat at regular intervals. For example, you might host a session every Monday at a set time where you introduce a new chapter and objectives for the week. The start time you provide must fall in 15 minute increments, such as 0, 15, 30, and 45.

You can allow students to enter a session before the start time.

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You can expand a section to view the options. Click the quick tip icon for more information about your selections.

For Type, you can create a session that is shared with one or more additional courses that you teach. Select the check boxes for the courses you want to include.

For Teleconference Options:

  • Blackboard Collaborate provides the ability to select built-in teleconference, which will dynamically generate the conference call number, leader PIN, and participant PIN. Students and guests accessing a session will see this information before they enter the room.
  • For the Use third party option, you need to provide the information users require for access to the session.
  • For the VoIP option, users can hear the session through their computer speakers or a USB headset. With a headset, outside noises and echoes are diminished.

    VoIP also helps you distinguish among speakers. A microphone icon appears next to the participant's name when he or she speaks. For large classes, this can help you understand who is grasping the material or who needs additional help.

    When you select the third party or built-in teleconference options, Blackboard Collaborate cannot visually indicate who in the participant list is speaking.

Grade Center Integrations

If you select ON for Add a grade column?, you can automatically add a Grade Center column after a session is over. Provide the points you want to assign for this activity. 

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After a session ends, you can access an attendance report that allows you to push points to the Grade Center. The points are solely for attendance. From the sesssion's contextual menu, select View Session Attendance.

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On the View Session Attendance page, you see a list of the students who attended the session. If a student exited the session and returned, his or her name appears in the list again.

To automatically award the predetermined points for attending the session. click Post Attendance to Grade Center on the action bar. You cannot select which users receive points, but you can adjust points for individual users from their Grade Details pages in the Grade Center.


In the Grade Center, point to the column heading to view more information about the column on the Grade Information Bar. Click the column heading's contextual menu to edit the column title.