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Blackboard Help

Using the Virtual Classroom

Your instructor and school control which tools are available. If this tool is not available, your instructor or school may have disabled it.

Using the virtual classroom, you can ask questions, draw on the whiteboard, chat, and participate in breakout sessions.

Before joining a virtual classroom session, use the following checklist to make sure that your computer is set up properly.

  • Turn off any pop-up blockers that may be enabled on your internet browser. Also, disable any additional pop-up blockers that may be enabled in your browser toolbar, such as the Yahoo or Google toolbars.
  • Make sure that you have the required Sun Java plug-in.
  • Try joining the virtual classroom session well in advance of the scheduled session to be sure that the tool loads properly.

How to Access the Virtual Classroom

  1. On the course menu, click Tools.
  2. On the Tools page, select Collaboration.

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  3. On the Collaboration Sessions page, click a virtual classroom session's title.


Virtual Classroom Areas

When you launch the virtual classroom, it appears in a new window.

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  1. Menu Bar: Allows your instructor to control the virtual classroom. This includes managing participation, selecting user access rights, ending the sessions, and monitoring breakout sessions.
  2. Recording Tool: Allows you to record virtual classroom sessions.
  3. Tools: Includes all the tools you can use during a virtual classroom session. This includes accessing the course map, utilizing the whiteboard, searching for websites, and a question-and-answer area.
  4. Chat: Allows you to compose messages, raise hand to ask questions, and activate private messages.

Using the Virtual Classroom Tool With a Group

Group collaboration sessions have additional session manager features including a menu bar and a record menu.

Menu Bar

Only users with active privileges can access the options on the menu bar.

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  • View: Choose an option for viewing personal messages in the virtual classroom. Select Show in-line to view private messages within the chat area. Select Show in separate frame to view private messages in a separate window.
  • Controls: Allows the session moderator to select the features each user may access.
  • Clear: Erase the user's chat display.
  • End: Ends the session.
  • Breakouts: Create a breakout room for a group of users.
    • Select the check boxes for the users who will participate in the breakout session. You may only join a breakout session if you are selected by the session's creator.
    • 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.

Record Menu

You can record and save the sessions created in groups. During the session, you can start, pause, and stop the recording. You can create more than one recording per session.

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The following table details the functions available in the record menu.

Record menu functions
Function Action
begin recording button Click Begins recording to create the transcript. Information is recorded as participants exchange messages. You can create more than one recording per session.

When a recording is already in progress, clicking the Begins recording function again stops the recording.

pause recording button Click Pauses Recording to temporarily stop a recording. The chat display panel and the transcript indicates the recording has been paused. Click it again to resume recording.
Stop recording button Click Stops Recording to end a recording. After you stop a chat session, you cannot add to the recording.

If you end a recording in error, simply click the Begins recording function to start another transcript. Title the next recording "Part Two" or "Continued."

Bookmark recording button Click Bookmark to add comments to a recording. For example, make a note that you are about to introduce a new topic. When adding bookmark comments, remember students can view recordings. Bookmarks appear in a different color than the chat text.