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Blackboard Help

About Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools allow users to participate in real-time lessons and discussions.  Examples of these sessions include real-time, online classroom discussions, guest speaker led sessions, teaching assistant sessions, and live question-and-answer sessions. Recordings of sessions can be created and made available for review.

Installing the Required Java Plug-in

The Java 2 Run Time Environment is required to use the Blackboard Learn collaboration tools.  The plug-in may be downloaded from the page that appears when a user joins a collaboration session, or may be found at

Take care to uninstall any existing Java plug-ins before installing a new version.

How to Find the Collaboration Sessions Page

To open the Collaboration Sessions page, click Collaboration on the course menu or from the Control Panel.

The following table describes the available functions.

To . . . Select . . .
filter the sessions listed on the page the arrow next to the drop-down list and select the type of session to display. Click Filter. The filters include:
  • Show All: The default filter that displays all of the collaboration sessions.
  • Available Sessions: Displays all of the sessions that are in use.
  • Sessions with Recordings: Displays completed sessions that have an archive.
  • Future Sessions: Displays sessions that are scheduled to take place in the future.
search for a session the Session Name, Start Date, or End Date option and then enter a value in the field.  Click Search.
enter a session Join from the session's contextual menu.
access the recording for a session Recording from the contextual menu. 
add a new collaboration session Create Collaboration Session

Assigning User Roles

There are two roles available for users in collaboration sessions, passive and active. The session administrator controls user access and functions during a collaboration session by assigning passive or active roles. For example, session administrators determine which users can chat, send private messages, or ask questions during a session by assigning specific access rights to the different roles. The student icon will appear in the Role column next to those students who are designated as active.

Student roles can change throughout the collaboration session. Those who are currently set to passive, but would like active rights can signal the session administrator by clicking the hand icon. The session administrator can then make that user active.

About Browser Pop-up Blockers

Be aware that for any browser supporting pop-up window blocking, it must be disabled or your institution's website made a trusted site for the collaboration tool to work properly.

Using the Accessible Collaboration Tool

An accessible version of the collaboration tool is available.

A link to this version appears when Join is selected on the Collaboration Sessions page. This link will open the accessible version of the collaboration tool.  Links to items that appear in the Virtual Classroom, such as items in the course menu and group browser, will appear in this version. Documents created on the Whiteboard may be viewed if the session administrator takes a snapshot. A link will be created to the snapshot for users to view.

The sound of a door opening or closing is audible to all participants whenever a user enters or leaves a session through the accessible version.