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Blackboard Help

Virtual Classroom and Chat Collaboration Tools

This information applies only to the Original Course View. Your institution controls which tools are available.

Collaboration tools allow you to lead real-time lessons and discussions. These sessions include online discussions, test review sessions, real-time lectures, and live question-and-answer forums. You can create recordings of these collaboration sessions to use in the future.

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

Two collaboration tools are available. You can save and record both types of collaboration for future use or review.

  • 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.

Get started with collaboration tools

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 or you can go to You must enable pop-ups to successfully run a collaboration tool.

Find the collaboration tools by navigating to Tools > Collaboration in the course menu. On the Collaboration Sessions page, you can view which tool sessions your instructor created in the Tool column.

Access the accessible collaboration tool

An accessible version of the collaboration tool is available.

A link to this version appears when you select Join on the Collaboration Sessions page. This link opens 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, also appear in this version. You can view whiteboard documents if the session moderator 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.

Record a session

Session recordings allow users to review past collaboration sessions, which are archived by date. A session doesn't appear in the list of saved recordings until the session moderator has stopped recording.

By default, session recordings are available to all session participants, including students. If you want, you can restrict availability and deny participants permission to access a session recording.

Find session recordings and edit properties

To find a session recording:

  1. Go to Course Tools > Collaboration in your course's Control Panel.
  2. Access a session's menu and select Recordings.

If you would like to edit a recording's properties, select Edit from a recording's menu.​ On the Recording Properties page, you can change the name and availability of a recording session. By default, recordings are available to users.

During a session, you can start, stop, pause, and restart recordings. You can make more than one recording for a session. If you exit a session while recording, the recording is saved automatically.

Recording controls

Start: Begin recording a session. Blackboard Learn prompts you to name the recording.

Pause: Pause a recording once it has started. Select the Pause button again to restart the recording. Both the pause and restart will be marked and time stamped in the recording.

Stop: End the recording. A stop marker and time/date stamp will be included at the end of the recording.

Bookmark: Insert a bookmark anywhere in the recording of the session.

Record the whiteboard activity

If you are recording a session, you can use the snapshot function (represented by a camera icon) on the whiteboard tool bar to capture the current state of the whiteboard and save it with the recording.

When playing the session recording, the whiteboard image shown will update to the time when the snapshot was captured.