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Blackboard Help

Virtual Classroom and Chat Collaboration Tools

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

Collaboration tools allow you to participate in real-time lessons and discussions. 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 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.

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. 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.

Collaboration Sessions page

  1. Filter: Filter the sessions listed on the page. Select the type of session to display and select 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 with an archive.
    • Future Sessions: Displays sessions scheduled to take place in the future.
  2. Search by: You can search for a specific session. In the menu, select Session Name, Start Date, or End Date and type a keyword in the text box. Select Search.
  3. In the Session Name column, select a title to join the session.
  4. You can view the recording for a session. Access a session's 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 hand, 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.

Record a session

  1. After joining the session, select the Begin recording function.
  2. When prompted, type a name for the recording or the creation date.
  3. Select OK.

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

Function Action
File:en-us/Learn/Sandbox/en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_12_and_SP_13/Student/170_Tools/Collaboration_Tools/002_Using_the_Virtual_Classroom/course_groups_menu_begins_recording.png Select Begin 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, selecting the Begin recording function again stops the recording.

File:en-us/Learn/Sandbox/en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_12_and_SP_13/Student/170_Tools/Collaboration_Tools/002_Using_the_Virtual_Classroom/course_groups_menu_pauses_recording.png Select Pause recording to temporarily stop a recording. The chat display panel and the transcript indicates the recording has been paused. Select it again to resume recording.
File:en-us/Learn/Sandbox/en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_12_and_SP_13/Student/170_Tools/Collaboration_Tools/002_Using_the_Virtual_Classroom/course_groups_menu_stops_recording.png Select Stop 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 select the Begin recording function to start another transcript. Title the next recording "Part Two" or "Continued."

File:en-us/Learn/Sandbox/en-us/Learn/9.1_SP_12_and_SP_13/Student/170_Tools/Collaboration_Tools/002_Using_the_Virtual_Classroom/button_course_groups_menu_bookmark.png Select Bookmark to add comments to a recording to provide future viewers with more information. Bookmarks appear in a different color than the chat text.

Find and edit recordings

Recorded sessions allow you to review the discussions and questions raised during a collaboration session.

  1. On the Collaboration Sessions page, select Recordings from the session's menu.
  2. On the Session Recordings page, select the recording title in the Recording Name column.
  3. To search for a recording, select the Recording Name or Date Created option in the Search by field.
  4. Type the name of the recording or the creation date.
  5. Select Search.

Find group recording by navigating to Group Tools > Collaboration > Collaboration Sessions and following the same steps.

You can also edit or delete a recording from the Session Recordings page. Select Edit or Delete from the session's menu to make your changes.