Office for Digital Learning

Communication and Collaboration

Best Practices when using Blackboard Collaborate

Posted on: 19 May 2016

Audio and Video

Try to find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. If possible, use a microphone head set for best audio quality and reduces feedback. Use a wired connection or a private wireless connection, if possible.

  • Always run the Audio Setup Wizard  
  • Click on the Talk button to talk, it is good practice to deselect this when you are not talking to reduce overall background noise.
  • Students may also have the option to transmit video by clicking on the Video button. You can adjust the microphone and speaker using the volume slider.

Participant Panel Controls

Greet students as they enter the room and let them know when the session will start. Keep an eye on all the Collaborate panels, you can detach, move and resize these if necessary.

When students comment or ask questions it is good practice to ask them use the Raise Hand button before they are invited to speak. The moderator will see a number beside each hand raised in the order they did so.

Students can also use the ‘emoticons’ button to provide quick feedback (smiley face, confusion, slow down etc.) during a session.

They can Step Away if they need to leave the session momentarily, and use the polling button to answer poll style questions.

The Global Options Menu allows the moderator to give or revoke all permissions to participants. When permissions are off for a certain feature this will be indicated with a red x

Chat Panel

Every Collaborate session has Chat capabilities, users can type any comments into the chat box and web links can be shared through it.

Let your students know if you are happy for them to type questions during the session or whether you would prefer hand raise and then audio or if you are happy with both.

The Whiteboard

Every Collaborate session has a Whiteboard area which is the main presentation area.

It can be used for slide shows (Powerpoint or Open Office slide less than 20MB) that can be uploaded using the Load Content button.

This space can also be used as an interactive whiteboard that all participants can write, draw and collaborate on.

Moderators can control the whiteboard settings and participant permissions and can create and delete pages.

Application Sharing

Application Share allows moderators to share their desktop of specific software, when this button is selected it starts the application share and a list of possible open applications will be displayed that you can choose from. Select the appropriate one and click Share.

The whiteboard will be replaced by your application, a yellow border should appear around the shared application (please note: not on a Mac).

To stop the application share click on the Blackboard Collaborate top menu:

  • Tools > Application Sharing > Stop Sharing.

Web Tour

Moderators can use the Web Tour Mode by selecting this button and typing in a full URL in the window that appears and clicking enter. When ‘Follow Me’ is checked the moderator the participants are taken to the website, when this is unchecked users can browse at their leisure.

To stop the Web Tour click back on the Whiteboard or Application Share Button.


As a moderator you can Record a session, a recording reminder will display at the start of the session and to activate the recording you can click on start or you can select the Record button. As the recording progresses the button will display as Recording you can select this to pause or stop the recording

Break Out Rooms

Break Out Rooms can be used for small group activities, these can be created by the moderator by using the Blackboard Collaborate top menu:

  • Tools > Breakout Rooms > Create Breakout Rooms

then choose number of rooms, name them, and check how participants will be moved to the rooms.