Blackboard - Faculty - Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate is a tool for facilitating virtual classroom sessions allowing you to add files, share applications, and use a virtual whiteboard to interact with your students. Collaborate opens right in your browser, so you don't have to install any software to join a session.

Please note, Chrome or Firefox are the recommended browsers when using Collaborate. Before your session, please advise your students to participate using either Chrome or Firefox.

In order to start using Collaborate, there are three main things you need to know:

1. How to setup Collaborate in your Blackboard course

To setup Collaborate in your Blackboard course, you need to create a link in your course sidebar menu for students to access:

1. Click the plus sign at the top of the course menu and select tool link:

Image showing the blackboard sidebar menu with an arrow point to a plus sign at the top of the menu


Image showing the blackboard sidebar menu with an a red box around the Tool link menu item.

2. Next, provide a name for the link and select Collaborate Ultra from the dropdown menu. Be sure to check the box to make the link visible to users:

Image showing the Add Tool Link menu with a red box around the type field and a red box around the available to users checkbox

3. Your new link should now be visible at the bottom of the menu. Feel free to drag this link to a more suitable position:

Image showing the blackboard sidebar menu with a red box around a the menu item titled Collaborate

4. Click the link to open the Collaborate session area

Image showing the blackboard sidebar menu with an arrow point to the collaborate menu item and a large red box around the blackboard collaborate ultra viewing area

2. How to create Collaborate sessions

Collaborate uses sessions to manage your video conferences. For each session you can set a start and end time and configure various settings. If you expect more than 250 participants, please submit a request to IT at least 72 hours in advance.

Collaborate provides two spaces to meet in:

  • The Course Room: This space is always open to students by default and provides an unmonitored space for students to collaborate in. Due to the unmonitored nature of the Course Room, it is recommended you disable this room prior to creating your collaborate link. The course room can be disabled in your course by selecting the ellipsis menu on the right and choosing Lock Course Room.

    Image showing the collaborate viewer with and arrow pointing to the Course Room menu on the right side. A red box is outlining the lock room button in the drop down menu.

  • Session: A Collaborate session is the most common way you will interact with your students in Collaborate. Session generally have a fixed start and end time and allow you to control various settings specific to that session.

    Image showing Collaborate viewing area. A red box is around the create session button.

Creating a session:

  1. Click Create Session and provide a session name, start, and end dates.
  2. Additionally, you can specify if certain tools as well as audio, video, and chat will be available to participants. These tools will be covered in the next section.

For more details on creating sessions, please view the Collaborate Guide - Scheduling Sessions

You can access the session by clicking the newly created session. This will open your Collaborate session in a new browser window. You may direct your students to access your session through the same process.


3. How to moderate a Collaborate session

Once your session has started, users can take one of three roles.

  • Moderator: This role provides access to all the tools and is the default role for the session owner (you).
  • Presenter: You may designate a specific student as a presenter during your session. The presenter role has the ability to use the whiteboard and upload content to the session.
  • Participant: This is the default role for students joining your session. The moderator has full control to limit participant's ability to speak and use the tools within the session.

The following video will provide an overview of the tools available within your Collaborate session.

Managing Your Session:

During your session, the majority of the tasks you will want to perform are found in the right-side Collaborate Panel. These tasks are grouped into four main tabs found along the bottom:

Image showing the collaborate ultra sidebar menu with a red box around the menu items at the bottom.

  • Chat: This tab allows you and your students to interact with each other through the session chat room
  • Attendees: This tab allows you to manage attendee roles as well as muting all or individual participants (see below for more information on attendee management)
  • Share Content: This tab allows you to insert a variety of content into your session, these include:
    • Sharing an interactive whiteboard
    • Sharing your screen
    • Sharing files: Images, PDF, PowerPoint (see below more detailed instructions)
  • Settings: This tab allows you to change your session settings as well as notification, and your personal audio/video settings

Sharing your PowerPoint:

Please view the following video for a detailed walkthrough on how to insert a PowerPoint presentation in your Collaborate session. Additionally, more details on sharing content can be found in the Collaborate Guide - Share Content.

Attendee Management:

Depending on the options you selected when setting up your session, attendees may have the ability use audio or video during your session. The attendees tab allows you to control various privileges during your session. Through the attendees tab, you can modify these settings by selecting the ellipsis (...) next to each participant. You can also control privileges for all participants by selecting the ellipsis at the top of the attendees tab. Further details on managing attendees can be found in the Collaborate Guide - Manage Attendees. The following video will also walk you through managing attendees in your session:

Recording Your Session:

You can start recording your session by selecting the left-side menu and clicking the Start Recording button. While recording you have the option to stop the recording and start a new one at anytime. Each time you start a new recording it will be added to your list of recordings for that particular session. Note that when recording with shared files, allow 8 seconds for the recording to include the shared file before moving on.

Imaging showing the Collaborate user interface. A red box is around the Start Recording button in the left side menu.


When your session has finished, you can access your recordings by selecting the menu button from within your Blackboard course:

Image showing the blackboard collaborate ultra viewing area with a red box around the menu button in the top left corner.

Please allow up to 1 hour for your recording to become visible, once your session has concluded.

Students may also access the session recording from within this menu as well.

Click on each of the three steps to learn more.

Resource Summary:

Student Resources:

You may share the following video and link with your students to help familiarize them with how to use Collaborate in your class.

Additionally, don't forget to direct your students to access your sessions through the sidebar link you configured in step 1.

Student Video: Collaborate Guide - Participant Overview

Student Resources: Collaborate Guide - Participant 


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Last updated

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 14:35