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Blackboard Collaborate Support

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New Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard has released a new version of Blackboard Collaborate that no longer uses Java as well as improves performance and accessibility. To have your course switched to the new version of Blackboard Collaborate or to request a demo please contact us at 202-885-3904 or email

New Collaborate Documentation



Basic Directions for Instructors


Basic Directions for Students


Looking for help with Blackboard Collaborate? Below, you can view online documentation and video tutorials that provide basic help as well as detailed answers for the most common questions and problems.

Online Documentation

The Basics:

Tip Sheet and Step-by-Step Guides


In-Collaborate Video Tutorials


Blackboard Collaborate Webinars

Are you an instructor interested in using Collaborate to increase accessibility, hold class during inclement weather, or other pedagogical aspects of Blackboard Collaborate or a staff member interested in how to use Collaborate to engage prospective students?

Visit Blackboard Collaborate's Webinar Recordings page to view archives of their Distinguished Lecture Series. These lectures are delivered by members of universities around the country, invited by Blackboard, to present on a variety of topics, and available through Blackboard's resources free of charge.

Topics include:



If you are a student and having issues using Blackboard Collaborate or just getting started, please use the links below to find step-by-step guides and a video orientation tutorial.

Finally, remember that not all professors use Blackboard Collaborate, but if and when they do, you should make your best effort to prepare in advance of the start of the session. If you need help troubleshooting you may always contact us or come by our office with your laptop, and we can help you get started with Collaborate!


The Basics, Tip Sheet, and Step-by-Step Guide




What is Blackboard Collaborate?

Blackboard Collaborate is an online collaboration software for engaging, collaborative learning designed specifically for education.

Blackboard Collaborate's capabilities include two-way audio, multi-point video, interactive whiteboard, application and desktop sharing, rich media, breakout rooms, and session recording for later playback.

Blackboard Collaborate can be accessed from within Blackboard at

What happened to Wimba?

Wimba has been replaced by Blackboard Collaborate. We have created this webpage to get faculty, students and students acquainted with this new tool, as we transition from Wimba to Collaborate.

Why Collaborate?

With Collaborate you can share applications, and load web pages and PowerPoints much faster than was possible in Wimba. We have also seen fewer connectivity issues as students have used Collaborate.

There are uses beyond real time classes from remote locations or inviting in remote speakers. You can keep a Collaborate session open for up to a year and use it as a place for office hours. You can also create a session where students can work on group projects without you needing to be in the session. Just remember to give them moderator status for this session.

What is the Future of Collaborate on Campus?

American University has been using Collaborate for 2012 and will continue at least until the end of 2013. Wimba is being phased out, so contact us if you need help saving archived recordings in Wimba.

What are the minimum system requirements, and what do I need in order to use Collaborate on my personal computer?

Before you can get started in a Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing session, you should ensure that your computer is able to support the needs of the collaboration environment.

NOTE: For all users, we strongly recommend that you use a headset (or at least headphones and/or an echo canceling microphone) rather than speakers when using simultaneous talkers. This will eliminate potential echoing and feedback issues and improve the group's overall audio experience.

Each user's computer should meet or exceed the following minimum requirements:

Windows XP (32 bit), Windows Vista (32 or 64 bit) or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit), Pentium III 1 GHz processor

Mac OS X
Mac OS X 10.5 (32 or 64 bit) or Mac OS X 10.6 (32 or 64 bit)
G4, G5 or Intel processor

Ubuntu 9.10 (64 bit)
Pentium III 1 GHz processor

In addition to the above requirements, all clients require the following:

Java version 1.5 or higher

Note: For a 32 bit OS use a 32 bit JVM and for a 64 bit OS use a 64 bit JVM. If the correct version of Java is not detected, Blackboard Collaborate will prompt you to install a new version.

256 MB RAM
20 MB free disk space
28.8 KBps Internet connection

Windows or Linux: sound card with speakers and microphone or headset (or telephone for Telephony users)

Macs: internal, USB, or external iSight microphone (or telephone for Telephony users)

What is meant by "Moderator", "Participant", "Session Attendee", and "Invitee"?

The following terms are used when referring to Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing users:

Moderator – Moderators have access to all Blackboard Collaborate features, including the ability to grant Moderator status to Participants. The person scheduling and conducting a session, such as the instructor of a Blackboard course site or the leader of a Blackboard organization, is a Moderator in the Collaborate session by default. In most cases, faculty and instructors of courses will be moderators in Blackboard Collaborate sessions.

Participant – Participants have restricted access to Blackboard Collaborate features. Students are typically Participants, although Moderators can grant Participants Moderator status. Emailed invitees to the session are also Participants.

Session Attendee – This term applies to anyone attending the session (both Moderators and Participants).

Invitee – Anyone invited to the session (both Moderators and Participants).

Does Blackboard, Inc. have a site with documentation and training for Blackboard Collaborate?

Yes, Blackboard Collaborate maintains a comprehensive support site for the product to meet the Collaborate users' learning needs.

In order to access documentation, in PDF format, presentation and recordings on How to Use Blackboard Collaborate, you can visit:

Please note that the documentation on this page is divided as follows:

*For Participants - Students and guests may view this material to help them with Collaborate.

*For Moderators - Faculty and staff that are instructor users in Blackboard courses may view this material to help them with Collaborate.

For interested faculty an staff, you may also visit the following page on Blackboard Collaborate's site to view webinars on using Collaborate's web conferencing tools for a variety of educational purposes and to view demos:

Have another question that's not included here? Feel free to give us a call, send us an email or visit our Blackboard Support Office in the Library!




If you are unable to find answers to your questions online:

Blackboard Support Group


Bender Library, Room 321
Mon. - Fri. 9:00am - 5:30pm

Top 10 Online Blackboard 9 Tutorials

Here are a few step-by-step tutorials from Blackboard that are really great for getting used to some of the new features.