Blackboard Collaborate IM

Collaborate Enterprise IM (aka Blackboard IM) is an instant messaging tool used in a few classes at the SJSU iSchool. Blackboard IM includes several communication tools, including text chat, voice and video chat, whiteboard, and application sharing.

Blackboard IM is used by a few classes as requested by the instructor. If you are in a class where the instructor plans to use this tool, you should see the class listed in your groups by about a week after the semester begins. The information below is for students who are in classes that will use Bb IM.


Getting started:

  1. Creating your Blackboard IM user account:

    Students will receive an email invitation to join Blackboard IM. The invitation email will contain instructions for getting started with Blackboard IM. You will need to create your Blackboard IM user account (this is something you can do yourself), as well as download and install the software necessary to access Blackboard IM.

    The email will come from

    And the subject line will be: Your invitation to join SJSU iSchool on Blackboard IM.

  2. Automatic Login:

    The iSchool strongly recommends that all students enable the following two preferences in Blackboard IM:

    • "Start Blackboard IM when my computer starts"
    • "Sign me in when Blackboard IM starts"

    To enable these options, select Preferences from the Blackboard IM menu, then go to the General tab, and locate the area labeled "Sign In". Make sure both of the above options are enabled.

  3. Audio and Video: Students who wish to use voice chat and video chat in Blackboard IM will need to have a microphone for audio (a USB headset with built-in microphone and earphone is strongly recommended) and a webcam for video. Read more about recommended equipment.

Technical Support:

Having other problems getting connected? Check the FAQ first, then contact Blackboard Collaborate Technical Support at 877-382-2293. Alternatively, you may also conduct a 'Live Chat' session with a support technician, or submit a support ticket, by visiting the Blackboard Collaborate Technical Support site.

For Blackboard IM account issues, please submit the iSchool Tech Support Form.

One of your course listings not showing in Blackboard IM after the semester has begun? See FAQ #6.

Need to remove a course listing in Blackboard IM? See FAQ #7.

Learn how things work:

  1. Download (or print out) the Blackboard IM Quick Reference Guides (PDF):
    • Getting Started
    • Audio and Video
    • Chat and Group Chat
    • Collaboration Window
    • Managing Contacts
  2. View the Blackboard IM orientation video
  3. View the Blackboard IM tutorials
  4. Download (or print out) the Blackboard IM User Guide.

    Note: An HTML version of the Blackboard IM User Guide is available at

  5. Students with accessibility needs may wish to download or print the Blackboard IM Accessibility Guide.

    Note: An HTML version of the Blackboard IM Accessibility Guide is available at

Web Conferencing

Bb IM interface

Blackboard IM is integrated with the Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing platform. Many students will be able to launch Web Conferencing sessions using the Conference button in Blackboard IM by following the two steps listed below. Note that technical issues will prevent some computers from being able to successfully launch or join a Collaborate session launched from Bb IM.

  1. Click to select online contacts to invite them to the session (use ctrl+click to select multiple names)
    • If you wish to have a private Collaborate session without any other participants (e.g., to record a presentation), click on the name of any offline user. This will allow you to start a session. The user will not be contacted.
  2. Click the Conferencing button at the lower right of the Bb IM interface to launch the session.

Alternatively, you can launch a session by any of the following methods after first clicking the name(s) of your collaborator(s) :

  • Click "Tools > Conference  > Invite to Web Conference." Note: Be careful not to select "Collaborate" instead of "Conference."
  • Use the keyboard command: Ctrl+U
  • Right-click the name and select "Invite to Web Conference." Note: Be careful not to select "Invite to Collaborate."

After your session has started, you can invite additional participants by sending them the link to the session. From the top menu in the conference session, select Tools > In-Session Invite > Invite New Participant. Select either the option to email an invitation or click to copy the link and send it manually.

You can record your session. A few minutes after the last person has exited the session, you will receive an IM from the system with a link to the recording. Access a list of all your recordings by going to Tools > Conference > View Recordings > San Jose State University.

Additional information on using this feature is available in the Blackboard IM User Guide in the chapter labeled "Using Web Conferencing".

How to start a Collaborate web conference session (by Erin Beard)

How to Retrieve Recordings of Collaborate Sessions Initiated in Bb IM (by Erin Beard)