My audio doesn’t seem to be working
I can’t access my Blackboard Collaborate classroom
How many people can simultaneously use Blackboard Collaborate?
How can I make the webcam image full screen?
I hear an echo – how do I get rid of it?
I keep getting kicked out of Blackboard Collaborate
How can I go back and forth between Powerpoint and Blackboard Collaborate?
Before you start a Blackboard Collaborate session, make sure of the following:
- Ensure you are using a device that can successfully join a Blackboard Collaborate session. Blackboard has documented the System Requirements here:
- Test your speakers/earbuds/earphones. Connect to youtube.com or another site and make sure the volume is adjusted for your comfort.
- Test your microphone. On a PC, you can use Sound Recorder. Record a short test and then play it back to make sure your microphone is working successfully. On a MAC, you can use Quicktime Player (click on File and New Audio Recording).
This will download a file called meeting.collab. If you have previously used Blackboard Collaborate, double click on this file to start your session.
If you have not previously used Blackboard Collaborate, you will need to download the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher, and double click on the downloaded file to install the Launcher, using the Launcher Setup Wizard. Blackboard’s more extensive documentation is here.
Download the launcher and double click on it if it is in the lower left of your browser, or search for it in your Downloads Folder. If you get the security message, click on Run.
After the Setup Wizard has completed, you will double click on the meeting.collab file that was downloaded initially. This may show in the lower left of your browser, or you may have to look for it in your Downloads folder.
If you are working with a MAC and get a security error, look at directions here for the work around. When it has finished loading, you may get another message, asking you about your network connection. Whatever your network connection, LAN or WIRELESS or DSL, click on that speed. Now you are in Blackboard Collaborate!
To get to the Blackboard Collaborate session, click on the little purple BbC icon:
In order to make sure you can be heard, run the Audio Setup Wizard.
Using the Audio Setup Wizard on a PC
The Audio Setup Wizard is accessible from the Audio menu which is located in the Audio & Video panel.
Steps for Configuring Your Audio
- Open the Audio Setup Wizard by clicking the Audio & Video menu and clicking Audio Setup Wizard.
- From the Select Audio Output Device dialog, choose the device that will play the session audio e.g. speakers.
- Click OK
- Click the Play button and adjust the volume slider so that you can clearly hear the pre-recorded message. Click Stop and then Yes to confirm you were able to hear the audio. If you were not able to hear the audio, click No and repeat the previous step.
- Select the device you will use to send your audio during the session e.g. microphone.
- Click OK
- If you are using a headset or microphone just for you, select Single Talker. If you are using a single microphone to pick up multiple talkers in the same physical space, select Multiple Talkers.
- Click Record and speak into the microphone using your normal speaking voice. Adjust the microphone slide bar so that it displays green bars with an occasional yellow bar. Red indicates that your audio is too loud or you microphone is too close to your mouth.
- Click Play and confirm you can hear your recorded voice. You are now ready to participate in the audio portion of the session, but you must click on TALK to turn the microphone on.
Using the Audio Setup Wizard on a Mac
The Audio Setup Wizard on a Mac computer is slightly different than that of a PC.
- Open the Audio Setup Wizard in the same manner by clicking the Audio & Video Options menu located in the Audio & Video panel.
- Proceed as described above if you wish to use the default microphone and speakers on your Mac.
- If you want to use a different device, click the Open the Sound Preferences panel.
The Sound preferences panel has a screen for audio output or how you will hear the session audio and a screen for input or microphone for sending audio. Select the desired device for both Output and Input. Then close Sound preferences.
After Audio Setup Wizard is complete:
When you are sure you can hear and be heard, click on the Talk button at the left to make your microphone LIVE. Click on the Video button at the left to make your camera live.
Note: To run Blackboard Collaborate / Elluminate you may need to have the latest Java: If you get a Java Error message, then follow these instructions: Go to Control Panel, Java and Open. Then under General, About, if you are NOT running Java 7, click on Close, then click on the Update tab, then click on Update Now. This will install the latest version of Java.
A good tutorial on how to run a Blackboard Collaborate Session is available here: https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/jwsdetect/playback.jnlp?psid=2012-06-27.0714.M.875546EA538BCBDAD44EA8D3874623.vcr&sid=7
Frequently Asked Questions:
You need to have clicked the Talk button for your students to hear you. If there is a blue microphone icon on the Talk button, then it is enabled. If your recording doesn’t seem to be picking up audio, or your students can’t hear you , test your audio with the AudioSetupWizard. You’ll need to click the Talk button OFF to run Audio Setup Wizard. Don’t forget to click it back ON again later. If you can hear audio from youtube but you CANNOT hear audio during Audio Setup Wizard, then try clearing your java cache. To do this, click on Start, Control Panel then double click on Java and under Temporary Internet Files click on Settings. Then click on Delete Files and OK. Then refresh your browser and the Blackboard Collaborate Audio Setup Wizard again.
If you are getting a Failure to Launch error or for some other reason your Blackboard Collaborate session is not working, check your Java software to see if that is the problem: Go to Control Panel, Java and Open. Under General, About, if you are NOT running Java 7, click on Close and follow the instructions below to de-install the previous version of Java before installing Java 7.
- Click the Start button. The Start menu opens.
- Click Control Panel. The Control Panel window opens.
- If you are using icon or classic view, skip to Step 4.
- If you are using category view, click Programs. The Programs category opens.
- If you are using icon or classic view click Programs and Features.
- If you are using category view, click Uninstall a program.
- Locate the Java version you wish to remove and click Uninstall.
- Click Yes.
After you have de-installed the previous version of Java, install the latest version as follows:
- Go to Control Panel, Java and Open.
- Click on the Update tab, then click on Update Now. This will install the latest version of Java.
About 100 people can see and hear what is happening in the virtual “classroom”. All have access to the Chat box and can send messages to the Moderators and/or the entire class. Up to 6 people can talk and be seen via webcam at the same time. The large picture in the video window will show the person who is talking. A Moderator can “pass the mic” to a person to include their voice in the conversation, but only 6 can be talking at the same time. One way to regulate this is for people to “raise their hand” if they want to speak. The default simultaneous talkers may be set to 3. To increase this to 6, click on Tools, Audio then Maximum Simultaneous Talkers and change that from 3 to 6. Do the same with Maximum Simultaneous Cameras, to change that to 6. The Moderator can control which camera displays on the big screen by clicking on Tools, Video, and check Make Video Follow Moderator Focus. Then whichever webcam window the Moderator clicks on will show on the big screen.
To show the image on the webcam as full screen, click on the little options menu at the top right of where the video is displaying. Then choose Detach Panel. After you have detached the video panel, you can stretch it to full screen by hovering over the corner with your mouse and then clicking on the double sided arrows to stretch.
What you hear is the sound coming out of the speakers of someone else on the call and feeding back in through their microphone. This doesn’t always happen. If a participant is on a high-bandwidth internet connection, the sound comes back in to the Blackboard Collaborate Session soon enough to be recognized as an echo, and it is suppressed. However, if a participant is on a slower line, and it is not recognized as an echo, then the participants will need to use earphones or earbuds instead of their speakers.
If you keep getting “kicked out” of Blackboard Collaborate, lower your connection speed. Restart your session and you will get a list of connection choices. From the choices you are offered, LAN is faster, dial -up is slower.
If you need to change your connection speed during a session, from a PC, select Edit, Preferences, Session, Connection to get the speed choices. From a Mac’s Finder, select Blackboard Collaborate, Preferences, Session, Connection.
If you are planning on presenting a PowerPoint and using a single monitor, you will want to set the slideshow up in “Windowed mode” so that you may easily swap between the Blackboard Collaborate Session and the slideshow. To do this, click on Slideshow, Set up Slideshow, and then click on Browsed by an individual (window). Then when you begin your slideshow, you can size it to be not quite full screen, which will enable you to navigate back and forth between the Powerpoint Slideshow and the Collaborate Session (for example, if you are pausing for discussion and would like to see the person’s face).