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Blackboard Help

Virtual Classroom

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

How to Access the Virtual Classroom

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

Using the Virtual Classroom Areas

The following table details the areas of the virtual classroom.

Virtual Classroom Areas
Area Function
Menu bar Allows the session moderator to control the virtual classroom. This includes managing participation, monitoring breakout sessions, and ending the session.
Classroom tool box Includes all of the tools used during the virtual classroom session. This includes searching for websites, asking and answering questions, using the whiteboard, and accessing the course menu.
Chat Allows participants to compose messages, raise their hands to ask questions, and send private messages. To learn more, see Chat.

Virtual Classroom Menu Bar

The virtual classroom menu bar includes a number of functions for controlling access, setting personal message viewing options, creating breakout sessions, and more.

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  • View: Select Show in-line to view private messages within the chat area. Select Show in a 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: Clears the currently visible chat display. If you are recording the session, this has no effect on the recorded chat text.
  • End: Ends the session and exits all users. This action cannot be undone.
  • 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

If granted access to these tools by the session moderator, users can use the whiteboard, access websites, and view the course menu.

The classroom tool box appears on the left side of the virtual classroom. To begin using items in the Tool box,  click the name of the tool.

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The following tools are available in the classroom tool box.

Whiteboard

The whiteboard enables users in a virtual classroom to present different types of information just as they would on a whiteboard in a classroom. The tools in the whiteboard palette 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 Select
Select an item The arrow tool. Then, click an item for selection. The following actions may be performed on selected items:
  • Enlarge: Click of the small black boxes that surround the item and drag it to the appropriate size.
  • Move: Click the item and move it to the appropriate location.
  • Cut: Click the whiteboard item. Then, click the Cut icon.
  • Copy: Click the whiteboard item. Then, click the Copy icon.
  • Paste: Click the whiteboard item. Then, click the Paste icon.
  • Delete: Click the whiteboard item. Click the selected object. Then, click the Delete icon.
  • Group items: Click the whiteboard items. Then, click the Group icon.
  • Ungroup: Click a whiteboard item in a group. Then, click the Ungroup icon.
  • Bring front: Click the whiteboard item. Click selected object. Then, click the Bring to front icon.
  • Bring back: Click the whiteboard item. Click selected object. Then, click the Send to back icon.
  • Select all figures on the whiteboard: Click the Selects all Figures icon.
Draw free hand The pen tool. Choose the color of the pen in the Pen Color drop-down list. Next, select the line width.
Enter text using the keyboard The text tool (T) then the whiteboard area. A Whiteboard Text Input box appears. Type the text in the box and click Insert. Use the options in the Tools palette to select color, font, and size.
Draw a straight line The line tool.
Draw a rectangle The rectangle tool. 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, select None for the fill color. The outline of the shape will be the color of the pen tool and have the selected line width.
Draw an oval The oval tool. Choose the color of the circle from the Fill Color drop-down list to draw a solid shape. To draw the outline of the shape, select 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. The equation editor will appear. Input the equation and click Insert Equation.

Group Browser

The group browser enables users to collaboratively browse the internet. This tool opens a URL that is viewable by all users. URLs used in the session will be added to the recording if one is created. The session moderator determines whether this function is made available to users.

The following table details the functions available in the group browser.

Group Browser Functions
To Select
Open a website Type the URL in the Type Address field.
Choose where to display the website Display To Users to display the window in the whiteboard or click Preview in New Window to open the website in a new browser window. The preview window will only appear to the user who opened it.

Map

The course map enables users to browse the course menu while in a virtual classroom. By default, the session moderator has access to operate the course map. Users must have active privileges to use the course map in a virtual classroom.

The following table details the functions available on the course map.

Map Functions
To Select
Display an element on the map to all users The course area in the course map and select Display To Class in the drop-down list.
Display an element on the map in a separate window The course area in the course map and select Preview in New Window in the drop-down list. The new window is only visible to the user who opens it.
Refresh the map during a collaboration session Refresh Tree in the drop-down list. This will update the course map to match the course menu.

Ask Question

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

Only users who have an active role can ask questions.

To ask a question, select Compose in the ask question area. Type the question in the box and click Send.

Question Inbox

Questions from users are sent to the question inbox during the virtual classroom session. The question inbox is used to manage and respond to questions during a collaboration session.

The following table details the functions available in the question inbox tool.

Question Inbox Functions
To Select
Respond to a question The username in the From list and click the Respond to Question icon. The Respond to Question pop-up window will appear.
Delete a question The username in the From list and click the Delete icon.
View only questions that have not been answered The Show unanswered only check box.

The following table details the fields in the Respond to Question pop-up window.

Respond to Question Fields
Field Description
Question Question that was submitted.
Response Type the response to the question.
Private Select this check box to make the response to the question private. If marked private, the response will only be sent to the person who submitted the message.