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Blackboard Help

Collaboration Tools

Your instructor and institution control which tools are available.

The collaboration tools allow you to participate in real-time lessons and discussions. Examples of these sessions include online discussions, test review sessions, real-time lectures, and live question-and-answer forums. You may also be allowed to review recordings of previous sessions.

Course groups can also use the collaboration tools for private sessions open to their course group members only.

Two collaboration tools are available.

  • Virtual classroom includes a whiteboard, chat panel, web browser, course map, and a question-and-answer area.
  • Chat is an exchange of text messages online. You can access chat separately from the virtual classroom.

An accessible version of the virtual classroom tool is available. A link to this version appears when you join a session on the Collaboration Sessions page.

Before You Begin

  • You need the Java 2 RunTime Environment to use the collaboration tools. You can download the plug-in from the page that appears when you join a collaboration session. You must enable pop-ups to successfully run a collaboration tool.
  • To use Safari, you must disable pop-up window blocking.

Access the Collaboration Tools

  1. On the course menu, click Tools.
  2. On the Tools page, click Collaboration.
  3. On the Collaboration Sessions page, you can view which tool sessions your instructor created in the Tool column.

The Collaboration Sessions Page

Image illustrating text below

  1. Filter: You can filter the sessions listed on the page. In the drop-down list, select the type of session to display and click Go:
    • Show All: Displays all of the collaboration sessions.
    • Available Sessions: Displays all of the sessions that you can access.
    • Session with Recordings: Displays completed sessions that have an archive.
    • Future Sessions: Displays sessions that are scheduled to take place in the future.
  2. Search by: You can search for a specific session. In the drop-down list, select Session Name, Start Date, or End Date and type a keyword in the text box. Click Search.
  3. In the Session Name column, click a tilte to join the session.
  4. You can view the recording for a session. Access a session's contextual menu and select Recordings.

User Roles

Three roles are available in a collaboration session:

  • Moderator: The moderator is typically an instructor and represented by a globe icon. The moderator can modify participant roles, grant passive users permission to participate, expel users, and record and end the session.
  • Active user: By default, active users can send messages as often as they want during a chat session. An active user is represented by a full color icon.
  • Passive user: Passive users can observe the chat exchange, but must raise their hands to request permission to send messages. If more than one student raises their hands, numbers are assigned to the icons in the order they raised their hands. A passive user is represented by a gray-toned icon. The moderator might change your role to passive if you are dominating the conversation or responding inappropriately.