Notice of Service Outage, January 4-5, 2014
Blackboard Collaborate will be unavailable from 1:00 PM Saturday January 4th, 2014 to approximately 7:00 am Sunday January 5, 2014 due to a server maintenance downtime. This downtime is required for Blackboard Collaborate to migrate their US customers to a new data centre in West Virginia. If any recordings have been converted to MP4 files by instructors using the recording conversion tool within the BBLearn Collaborate tool, these recordings will need to be reconverted after this downtime.
If you have concerns or questions regarding this downtime, please contact email@example.com.
If you using Collaborate outside of BBLearn, see the following KB articles:
Blackboard Collaborate is ICT's supported web conferencing software for use in instruction, research and administration at the U of S. ICT provides a 1000 concurrent seat Open Access Blackboard Collaborate license for use by members of the campus community. You can access Blackboard Collaborate in either of two ways: Self-Service through a BBLearn 9 course or organization, or by requesting a session be set up for you by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use this link to check the Blackboard Collaborate support site for any current service issues, downtime updates or service announcements!
Use this link to contact support representatives at Blackboard Collaborate's worldwide technical support team for assistance. This support is available 24x7 BUT the support representatives CANNOT assist with U of S-specific questions (eg, "I cannot access my Blackboard Learn course".). For assistance with U of S-specific issues, contact the ICT Help Desk at email@example.com or 1-800-966-4817.
Enter Configuration Room (Lets you test your Collaborate Software)
Blackboard Collaborate Essentials for Participants (Web-based participants' manual)
View Online Orientation (Excellent video of how to use the Collaborate tool
Blackboard Collaborate Quick Start for Participants (Customizable MS Word Document for instructors to hand out/distribute. You can customize this for your course or session's specific needs)
On Demand Learning Centre (Blackboard's full set of Collaborate resources from their support site)
Our Open Access license for Collaborate enables us to provide College/Department or Group support staff with the ability to set up and manage Collaborate virtual rooms using a Supervisor account on our Collaborate service. Thanks to the centralized structure of the Collaborate Session Administration System (SAS), any virtual room created by a Supervisor account can, if necessary, be managed and supported by the central Collaborate Service Manager within ICT. If you are interested in obtaining a Supervisor account, or would like to discuss training and support for a Supervisor account within your group or department, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an instructor teaching a credit course at the U of S
If you are an instructor teaching a credit course (ie, any course within the U of S Academic Course Calendar) at the U of S, you and your students have acccess to Blackboard Learn, our campus learning management system. Within the Course Tools section of your BB Learn course, you will see a tool called Blackboard Collaborate. This tool enables you to schedule virtual rooms for you and your students within your course, and even to schedule virtual rooms that can be shared between several of your courses. Back to top.
If you are teaching a non-credit course
Instructors teaching courses that are NOT within the Academic Course Calendar can request to have a BB Learn course set up for them. Access to the Blackboard Collaborate tool is provided automatically for every course in BB Learn. Back to top.
If you need a virtual room outside of Blackboard Learn
You can request that a virtual room be set up for you outside of Blackboard Learn by contacting email@example.com. However, virtual rooms outside of Blackboard Learn are set up and maintained on a manual basis, and require at least 24 hours notice. Virtual rooms created outside BB Learn provide no tools for you to manage access to and scheduling of the virtual room. Any changes you want made to a previously requested virtual room must be requested via contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to top.
What are the minimum hardware requirements for using Blackboard Collaborate
How do I prepare myself and my students for this?
Are there any charges for using the BB Collaborate software?
No. The licensing costs for this software have been paid centrally by ICT . Back to top.
Can the classes be recorded and played back later?
Yes. They are recorded in a proprietary Blackboard Collaborate format and are played back using the Collaborate tool. Also, instructors can download and use Elluminate Publish! to convert recordings to other formats for different distribution (eg, to an MP3 file for use as an audio podcast, or to an MP4 file for use as a streaming video). Back to top.
Do I or my students need a username or password to access my virtual room?
If your virtual room is outside of BB Learn, no. All you require is your unique Instructor web link to enter your virtual room, all your students require is the web link for the room. Back to top.
Can the virtual room be password protected so ONLY my students can access it?
Yes. By creating a virtual room within your blackboard course, access to the room is restricted to members of that course. Back to top.
Can the recordings be password protected so ONLY my students can access them?
Yes, however as this requires some significant effort on the part of our web conferencing staff, there may be some delay for such this request. Web conferencing staff can provide training for you on steps YOU can take to secure your recordings. Back to top.
How many students can be accommodated in my virtual room?
Each instructor is assigned a virtual room capable of hosting 100 students on a 24/7 basis. This room CAN be broken into several smaller classrooms IF you are teaching multiple courses. However, you can only have one instructor in one room at any one time. Back to top.
Can my students access the Virtual Room at other times besides class time?
Yes, if you set the Virtual Room for a specific class up to be available 24/7 your students can access it at any time. Back to top.
What else can I use the Virtual Room for besides classes and seminars?
The Virtual Room can be used for:
How do I present my PowerPoint slides with BB Collaborate?
There are two ways you can make presentations within BB Collaborate. First, there is a presentation tool included that will take your existing PowerPoint slides and convert them to a Collaborate whiteboard file. This whiteboard file is a series of still images of your slides, so if you have animations or transitions, video or audio within your PowerPoint, those will be lost. Second, using the Collaborate Desktop Sharing functionality, you can share your PowerPoint presentation window with your remote students. This will preserve any animations and transitions you have, and will play back any video and audio. Keep in mind that any audio will need to be picked up by your microphone for your remote students to hear, and it is difficult to present full-motion video using this method due to the speeds it requires. Back to top.
My presentation is too big to convert? What do I do?
You can try converting your PowerPoint to a series of images using PowerPoint, then import those images instead of using the PowerPoint conversion wizard. To do this:
How can I present audio and video to my remote students?Blackboard Collaborate has a multimedia library tool that enables you to send WMV, MPEG, MPEG4, MP3, QuickTime and Flash files to your remote students. However, they must have appropriate players installed on their computers to view these files. Also, your students must have sufficient Internet bandwidth to be able to receive these sorts of files DURING the class. A prudent backup plan is to (whenever possible) post audio and video files in your PAWS course, Blackboard course or other website BEFORE your class and make sure your students know where to go to view them. Back to top.