Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing FAQs
- What is Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing? [Answer]
- What are the benefits of using Blackboard Collaborate? [Answer]
- What are the minimum system requirements? [Answer]
- Does Collaborate work with a Mac? with Linux? [Answer]
- How do I find a Collaborate recording? [Answer]
- Why doesn't my PowerPoint presentation work on Collaborate? [Answer]
- The audio isn't working with my headset for my Mac. What shall I do? [Answer]
- How do I clear the Java cache? [Answer]
- Which version of Java am I running? [Answer]
- I am a Mac OS X user. I've successfully connected to Collaborate sessions in the past, but now my computer can't launch Collaborate. This happened after a recent Java update. [Answer]
- How do I use the Recording Index to navigate Whiteboard screens? [Answer]
- I am a Windows user and I installed a new Java update. Now Collaborate is not working. [Answer]
- I have a Windows 7 64-bit computer and I'm using Internet Explorer as my browser. The Java application cannot launch the Collaborate sessions successfully. [Answer]
- I am using Google Chrome and when I click on the link to launch the session, nothing happens. [Answer]
- I am using Internet Explorer and when I click on the link to launch the session, nothing happens. [Answer]
- Is Java 7 compatible with Blackboard Collaborate? [Answer]
- Recording playback does not display the Application Sharing and or Web Tour content that occurred in the live session. [Answer]
- I am unable to launch my Blackboard Collaborate session on my Mac. [Answer]
- I am seeing strange behavior once I'm in the Collaborate session. [Answer]
What is Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing?
Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing is a "live" interactive virtual environment for communication, presentation, interaction and instruction.
Blackboard Collaborate uses a strong communication platform, rich in features, that focuses on collaboration and communication. The Blackboard Collaborate interface provides a unique learning and teaching tool, capturing the essence of a "face-to-face" session.
Blackboard Collaborate is delivered via the Internet. The moderator and participants (and guests) log in using a computer (PC or Mac) with an Internet connection (DSL or cable recommended) through a browser such as Microsoft IE or Mozilla Firefox. The Blackboard Collaborate interface requires the user to use either a headset with built-in microphone, or a separate microphone and speakers. Users participate in interactive Web Conferencing sessions by talking, text messaging, listening and (optionally) video.
Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing (formerly known as Elluminate Live!) is used in education (delivering online courses, blended courses, collaborative writing, research, office hours, tutorials, etc), by private enterprises and in hosting events (seminars, conferences, workshops, training purposes, etc).
iSchool faculty are using Blackboard Collaborate in many different ways. Some will be conducting their online sessions using Blackboard Collaborate. Some will be using the technology for blended learning, which combines asynchronous and synchronous tools. Others might use Blackboard Collaborate in a traditional classroom setting, providing an extra tool for students to work on group projects. Faculty also have the ability to use Blackboard Collaborate for holding office hours.
What are the benefits of using Blackboard Collaborate?
While our main campus is in San José, our faculty and students all participate online from a variety of locations throughout the U.S., Canada, and other countries. Blackboard Collaborate allows members of the iSchool community to hold collaborative group meetings. It has broad client operating system support (Windows, Mac, Linux), including support for closed captioning and screen reader capabilities. Collaborate is used for scheduled classes as well as spontaneous one-on-one tutoring sessions, both of which may be recorded and archived for use in the future.
SJSU iSchool has used Blackboard Collaborate (formerly known as Elluminate Live!) since the Fall 2006 semester. Since that time, thousands of students have benefited from using this collaborative tool.
What are the minimum system requirements?
For more detail see Recommended Equipment.
Does Collaborate work with a Mac? with Linux?
Yes, you can use Blackboard Collaborate whether you use Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems.
Note for Linux users: Currently, Ubuntu 9.10 or greater is the only officially supported Linux platform for use with Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing V11.
How do I find a Collaborate recording?
Sessions are often (but not always) recorded. The moderator makes the decision about whether or not to record.
Recordings are in audio/video format.
If your meeting was recorded, your instructor or session moderator will be able to retrieve the recording link and provide it to you. Many Canvas course sites list the recordings page on the "Collaborate Rooms" page.
If you are a session moderator and are not familiar with the process for retrieving a recording link, please see the SAS Recording Settings and Link Management Quick Reference Guide, specifically the section labeled "Retrieving Recording Links".
When playing a recording, you can use the time slider at the bottom center of the screen to move ahead to a particular time point of the recording. There are play/pause controls at the lower left of the screen. You can also use the pulldown menu in the lower left-hand corner of the screen to jump directly to a particular point in the presentation. Similarly, you can bring up the recording index by going to: Playback > Show Recording Index. The Recording Index will also allow you to jump directly to a particular point in the presentation.
Why doesn't my PowerPoint presentation work on Collaborate?
Some users may have problems uploading PPT or Keynote files to the whiteboard. A workaround is to first save the slides as images, and then load the images to the whiteboard. Here are the steps for doing so:
- Open the file in PowerPoint.
- From the File menu, select Save As.
- In the Save As dialog box, choose either GIF, JPEG, or PNG from the Save As Type menu (for Windows users) or Format menu (for Mac OS X users). We generally recommend saving as JPEG (or JPG). This will save all of the slides as individual images within a folder. Each image will be numbered in the order of the slides.
- To load the images in Collaborate, click on the Load Content button in the upper right-hand corner (near the Blackboard logo).
- Navigate to the folder containing the images.
- Select all of the images in the folder by clicking the first image, then, while holding down the Shift key, select the last image.
In the Load Content dialog box, select "Import Images as Individual Pages", and then click on the Load button.
Check to verify that the slides display in the proper order. If needed, use the Page Explorer to move slides into the proper sequence.
The audio isn't working with my headset for my Mac. What shall I do?
Many Macs have built-in microphone and speakers. Although these integrated components are compatible with Blackboard Collaborate, you may experience issues with "echo" if your Collaborate session allows simultaneous talkers. For this reason, a headset is recommended.
If you are using a headset, be sure to install it prior to joining your Collaborate session.
The Blackboard Collaborate website specifies that a USB headset must be used to ensure compatibility.
If using a headset, you will need to specify it as your audio input/output device. To do this, open System Preferences. Both input and output volumes may be adjusted as needed by using the Audio Set-Up Wizard.
If you are using the built-in microphone and speakers, simply adjust the sound levels using the Audio Set-Up Wizard in Collaborate.
- Click on the Sound icon. This will open the Sound option window.
- Select Output and choose the output device you are using. Verify that mute is not selected and that the volume slider is at least halfway up.
Select Input and choose the input device that you will be using.
How do I clear the Java cache?
Mac users: see https://www.java.com/en/download/help/mac_java_cache.xml
Clearing your Java cache: Mac OS X
The following directions apply to Oracle Java 7 and newer, which is supported by Mac OS X 10.7.3 and newer.
1. Click on Apple icon at the top left
2. Select System Preferences
3. In the bottom row, click the Java icon.
4. In the Temporary Internet Files section click on Settings
5. Click the Delete Files... button
6. Click the check box for "Installed Applications and Applets"
7. Click the OK button; this clears the cache
8. Click the Okay button twice to close windows
9. Close the System Preferences window
Which version of Java am I running?
For all platforms: visit the Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing Support page which will check and display the version of Java you are running.
I am a Mac OS X user. I've successfully connected to Collaborate sessions in the past, but now my computer can't launch Collaborate. This happened after a recent Java update.
Several Mac Java updates over the last few years ended up breaking the association between JNLP files and Java Web Start.
If a JNLP file opens in Text Edit or other application instead of launching Java, take the following actions to restore the proper association so that Java Web Start applications launch correctly:
- Save the text file to your desktop with a jnlp file extension, e.g. Meeting.jnlp
- Right-click or Control-click the JNLP file and select Open With –> Other
In the Choose Application window, browse to:
Macintosh HD -> System -> Library -> CoreServices
Under CoreServices, select Java Web Start.app.
The full path to the location is:
/System/Library/CoreServices/Java Web Start.app.
Check the box for Always Open With then click the Open button.
How do I use the Recording Index to navigate Whiteboard screens?
When the whiteboard is used during a Blackboard Collaborate session, each new screen is captured and indexed for easy recall when the recording is viewed. If, for instance, you or your group give a slideshow presentation during a live session and in the recording you want to navigate to the first of your set of slides.
After launching the recording, locate the controls in the extreme lower left corner of the interface. In the default layout view, these controls will appear just beneath the Chat window.
From left to right you should see:
To access the recording index, you can do one of the following:
Go ahead and launch the full Recording Index by clicking on the Playback Menu and selecting Show Recording Index:
This selection will give you the full whiteboard screen index laid over the recording interface, they will be indexed according to the moment they appeared on-screen during the live session. Select the screen title you want.
Note: this is an example of why it can be important to give your presentation slides good identifying titles.
- Index Entry pull-down menu: This menu is set to your current screen (or screen group), along with a pull-down arrow. You can use the pull-down menu to navigate to a different screen position in the recording. Each entry on the pull-down menu will include the screen name and time code
- Play/Pause Button: Play and pause the recording.
- Timer and Slider: The elapsed time of the recording together with the gain slider to manually advance forward or retreat back through the recording.
- Quick Index: To quickly jump to a new index entry, click on the Index Entry pull-down menu in the lower left-hand corner, and select the appropriate index entry.
Full Index: Alternatively, you can access the full Recording Index by clicking on the Playback Menu and selecting Show Recording Index
I am a Windows user and I installed a new Java update. Now Blackboard Collaborate is not working.
The solution is to uninstall all the old Java versions from "Programs and Features" or "Add and Remove Programs" before installing the new version / update.
I have a Windows 7 64-bit computer and I'm using Internet Explorer as my browser. The Java application cannot launch the Blackboard Collaborate sessions successfully.
Uninstall all previous versions of Java. Then download and install both 32-bit and 64-bit Java updates using this link - https://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp
I am using Google Chrome and when I click on the link to launch the session, nothing happens.
There is a known issue with Google Chrome automatically launching java web start (JNLP) files that are necessary to open a Blackboard Collaborate session. There are two methods to work around this problem:
Option #1: After entering your name to sign into your session:
- When prompted to keep or discard the file "meeting.jnlp", choose keep:
Next to meeting.jnlp, choose the drop down menu on the right (right arrow menu):
and select "always open files of this type":
- The session should then open and all subsequent sessions should now open automatically. If the session does not open, close the browser and re-enter the session link, the session should then open automatically.
Option #2: Use an alternate web browser, Firefox or Internet Explorer
- Option #1: After entering your name to sign into your session:
I am using Internet Explorer and when I click on the link to launch the session, nothing happens.
There is a setting in Internet Explorer that needs to be adjusted to ensure automatic launching of java web start (JNLP) files that are necessary to open a Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing session. Enabling this setting will allow the meeting.jnlp file to automatically prompt for file download:
- Open Internet Explorer; Go to Tools > Internet Options > Security Tab, click on the "Custom" button.
- This will open a second window, "Security Settings", scroll down to "Downloads" and locate "Automatic prompting for file downloads". Click "Enable". This will allow you to properly launch meetings.
- Click OK in that window and the Internet Options window.
Close and reopen Internet Explorer, and then click on the session link to re-launch your session.
Is Java 7 (also known as Java 1.7.0) compatible with Blackboard Collaborate?
Java 7 (also known as Java 1.7.0) is supported. However, please be sure to install the most current release of Java 7, as there are some known issues with older releases of Java 7. Java 7 can be downloaded here.
Recording playback does not display the Application Sharing and or Web Tour content that occurred in the live session.
The vendor is working on resolving this problem. In the meantime, the following workaround will allow you to view the full recording:
Option #1 (Playback Menu):
- In the main menu, click on Playback.
- From the Playback menu, select Show Recording Index.
- Click to highlight Application Sharing Started within the listed items in the Kind column.
- Then click Seek at the bottom left of this window. Close the window using the "X" or by clicking Done on the bottom right. This will start the recording at that point when the Application Share began.
Option #2 (Timeline Bar): Manually move the timeline slider at the bottom of the window to the point in the recording where the Application Share began. This will display the Appshare content that was visible in the live session.
- Option #1 (Playback Menu):
I am unable to launch my Blackboard Collaborate session on my Mac.
This may be a Java related issue. The following troubleshooting steps will resolve this issue in the majority of cases. Further troubleshooting will be required if this solution does not resolve your issue:
Note #1: If you are using Chrome and your session is not launching, please see FAQ #14 above.
Note #2: If you were previously able to launch Blackboard Collaborate sessions, but are no longer able to do so after installing a Java update for Mac, then please see FAQ #10 above.
Step #1: Change the default version of Java by adjusting the Java sequence to use the 32-bit version first (by default, the 64-bit version is used first on most Macs).
- Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Java Preferences (Java Preferences Window will open)
- On the General tab, highlight and drag the 32-bit Java version to the top of the list
- If there are two separate boxes with Java versions (one for Applet Plugins and one for Applications) perform the above step for both
- Keep this window open as you still need this for Step 2
Step #2: Clear the Java cache
- Within the Java Preferences window (from Step #1 above), click on the Network tab
- Click on Delete files (a new window will open)
- Place check marks in the boxes next to "Applications and Applets" and "Trace and Log Files
- Click OK to close window
- Close the main Java Preferences window
- Step #3: Relaunch your web browser and try accessing the Blackboard Collaborate session again.
- Step #1: Change the default version of Java by adjusting the Java sequence to use the 32-bit version first (by default, the 64-bit version is used first on most Macs).
I'm seeing strange behavior once I'm in the Collaborate session.
This may be a Java issue. Make sure you have installed the most current release of Java 7, which is available for download here. Also, please try clearing your Java cache and then re-join the session.