Campus Technology Services

Taking Steps for the Future

Blackboard Collaborate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why did SUNY Oswego switch from Elluminate to Blackboard Collaborate?
In July 2010, Blackboard purchased the web conferencing tools, Elluminate and Wimba. They took the best of both and created Blackboard Collaborate. The collaborate user interface is cleaner with less clutter than Elluminate's, however, all of Elluminate's user tools remain - whiteboard, chat, polling, web tour, breakout rooms, etc. Additionally, Collaborate offers these new features - in-session invitations, built-in echo cancellation, graphic calculator, and mobile device compatibility. 

Why am I still seeing references to Elluminate?
At this time, Blackboard has not updated all previous Elluminate references to Collaborate. This means that on some screens you will see Collaborate but on others it will say Elluminate. The same is true within Blackboard Collaborate's online documentation. 

What is Blackboard Collaborate?
Blackboard Collaborate is web-conferencing software that allows you to either present or participate in a conference all from the Web. Listen to or give a presentation from your office, home, wherever you can find a computer connected to the Internet! Common uses for Blackboard Collaborate include teaching, online workshops, online meetings, and general presentations.  More information is available from Collaborate's website.

How does Blackboard Collaborate compare to Skype?
Skype is mainly for one-to-one or one-to-a-few web-based conferencing.  Blackboard Collaborate is intended for one-to-many and includes features not available in Skype, such as break-out rooms for participant activities.

Who can use Blackboard Collaborate?
Blackboard Collaborate is available to all SUNY Oswego faculty and staff.  Participants of sessions can be SUNY Oswego faculty, staff, and students as well as people outside of SUNY Oswego.

What is an Blackboard Collaborate moderator/participant?
An Collaborate Moderator is the person giving the presentation within Collaborate.  It is the presenter.  They have access to all of the features built-in to Collaborate and have control over what the participants have access to.

An Collaborate participant is a person attending the web-conference.

How can I receive training on Blackboard Collaborate?
Please see our  Blackboard Collaborate Training  page on options available to you for training.

What do I need in order for moderators and participants to use Collaborate?
All users will need to verify their computer meets the Blackboard Collaborate system requirements by going to this web address:

a)You should receive green checkmarks for both the operating system and Java version under Step 1.  If not, it should tell you what you need to do to get your system compatible.
b) The other steps are optional. 
c) If you are unable to resolve any issues, please call the SLN Helpdesk at: 1-800-875-6269.

Moderators (those giving the presentation) should have a noise-cancelling headset connected to their computer in order for participants to hear you.  If you would like participants to also see you, a webcam will be needed.  You can access Blackboard Collaborate's recommended audio and video devices for specific suggestions.  CTS also has some headsets and webcams available to SUNY Oswego faculty and staff.  They can be requested by visiting the Help Desk in 26 Lanigan Hall during normal business hours.

Participants can opt to use the speakers on their computer to hear the presenter.  If participants will be speaking, they can use the built-in microphone on their computer. However, you can also use a noise-cancelling headset. Access Blackboard Collaborate's recommended audio and video devices for specific suggestions.

I would like to use a Blackboard Collaborate room to give a presentation. How do I create a room/session?
There are two options available. 

  1. Using Blackboard Collaborate within ANGEL: 
    1. If you have a course or community group set up within ANGEL and would like the students enrolled in those courses or groups to participate in your Collaborate presentation, you can use the Collaborate nugget.  Please note, Collaborate participants are limited to the people enrolled in your class or group unless you use the Collaborate's Invite Participate feature once your session has started . The nugget is an ANGEL add-on that lets you create a room/session from within ANGEL.  Follow these instructions for directions on  how to enable the nugget and  create a session.
    2. Moderators and students enrolled in the course or group who will be participating in the Collaborate session will just need to login to ANGEL, click on the appropriate course, click the Communicate tab and click on the session within the "Collaborate" nugget. 
  2. Using Blackboard Collaborate outside of ANGEL:
    1. Those not wishing to use ANGEL for conducting online Collaborate sessions, will need to request an Collaborate room.   When the room has been created, an email will be sent to you with information on how to access your room directly through a URL. 
    2. Your participants will use the direct URL to access the session.

How do I access my Blackboard Collaborate room as a moderator?
If you are using Collaborate from within ANGEL, follow these instructions:

  1. Login to ANGEL
  2. Click on the appropriate course
  3. Click on the "Communicate" tab.
  4. Click on the appropriate session in the "Collaborate" nugget.

If you are not using Blackboard Collaborate from within ANGEL, you can access your room by following these instructions:

  1. Use the link that was provided to you in your email confirming the completion of your room request.
  2. If you do not have this email, please contact either Kathi Dutton or Nicole Decker to request the link again.

How do my participants access my Blackboard Collaborate room?
If you are using Blackboard Collaborate from within ANGEL, participants can follow these instructions:

  1. Login to ANGEL
  2. Click on the appropriate course
  3. Click on the "Communicate" tab.
  4. Click on the appropriate session in the "Collaborate" nugget.

If you are not using ANGEL, your participants can follow these steps to find your room:

  1.  Moderators will need to communicate the direct URL and password to session participants ahead of time.

My audio/video devices are not being detected  by Blackboard Collaborate.  What's wrong?
To ensure Blackboard Collaborate knows what audio, video and speakers it should be using all moderators and participants should run the Audio Setup Wizard from within Collaborate. This can be done by going to the Tools menu >> Audio >> Audio Setup Wizard.

If your devices are properly detected by Blackboard Collaborate, but participants cannot hear you, make sure your audio device is not set to mute.  Often times there is a mute button right on the headset.

Can I record a session?
Yes, recording is available.  All recordings are kept for six months and then purged from the system.

Generally, Blackboard Collaborate will ask you when you first join your session if you wish to start recording.  If you decide not to do it then, but want to later on, click on the Record button located on the upper right-hand side within Blackboard Collaborate.

How can I access a recorded session?
If you are using Blackboard Collaborate from within ANGEL, follow these instructions:

  1. Login to ANGEL.
  2. Click on the appropriate course.
  3. Click the "Communicate" tab.
  4. In the "Collaborate" nugget, click the "Recordings" link.
  5. Use the calendar to select the date of the recording.
  6. Click on the recording.

If you are not using Blackboard Collaborate from within ANGEL, you will be provided with a link to the recording through email.

Note: if you experience problems viewing a recording on a Mac device, please refer to this article.

What is Blackboard Collaborate Plan?
Blackboard Collaborate Plan is a client-based application that allows you to script some of your presentation ahead of time.  It then creates a "Plan" file that is uploaded into Collaborate to prep your session.  For example, in Collaborate Plan you could tell Collaborate to automatically start recording the session, upload your Powerpoint presentation, upload any other multimedia files you will be using, start a web tour, etc.  This is all saved in the Plan file and will be automatically executed at your command within Collaborate.

What is Blackboard Collaborate Publish?
Blackboard Collaborate Publish is also a client-based application that allows you to take a recorded Collaborate session and convert it into a standard multimedia format that can then be posted on YouTube, iTunes U, etc.

How do I obtain a copy of Blackboard Collaborate Plan and Publish?
Blackboard Collaborate Plan is available from the restricted software downloads page or directly from the Blackboard Collaborate Plan page. 

Blackboard Collaborate Publish is available from the restricted software downloads page or directly from the Blackboard Collaborate Publish page.

Who do I call if I or my participants run into problems using Blackboard Collaborate?
All faculty, staff and students having difficulty accessing an Blackboard Collaborate session hosted at SUNY Oswego should call the SUNY Learning Network (SLN) Help Desk at 1-800-875-6269 during their normal business hours.