Blackboard Collaborate

CIRTL Blackboard Collaborate Orientation Sessions

Fall 2015 orientation sessions will take place at the beginning of the first session of each course.

If you would like to schedule a 15 minute Blackboard Collaborate orientation for an alternate time, please email Kate Diamond at kdiamond3 [at] If you request a one-on-one orientation session, it will take place in the Blackboard Collaborate Orientation Room (Enter your name and institution. Ex: Dan Jacobs, UW-Madison). The sessions are open to anyone who will be participating in a CIRTL online event. Please allow yourself five minutes to download and access the session if you have never used Blackboard before. 


Blackboard Collaborate is a web-conferencing tool built specifically for live, multi-media, many-to many collaboration using:

  • Voice over internet (VoIP) audio
  • Live webcam
  • Breakout rooms
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Chat style messaging
  • Shared viewing of applications

In addition to using Blackboard Collaborate to host distance courses and facilitate the Institutional Leaders’ Meetings, this tool will be available upon request to members of the CIRTL Network to conduct meetings, presentations, workshops, and other synchronous distance collaborations related to CIRTL activities.

Technology Requirements

Headphones / Headset and Microphone

A built-in or external microphone is required in order to participate in discussions in Blackboard Collaborate. A headset or headphones/earbuds are recommended when using Blackboard Collaborate, as feedback can occur when participants use their computer speakers for audio. Earbuds/headphones are required for all CIRTL courses.

If joining the Blackboard Collaborate room from a location with background noise, a headset microphone is recommended.


To take full advantage of Blackboard Collaborate's features, a webcam is recommended. Webcams are required for CIRTL Courses.

Connecting to Blackboard Collaborate

Initial Configuration

Before connecting for the first time, visit the Blackboard Collaborate First Time Users page to verify that your system meets Blackboard Collaborate's requirements. The First Time Users page will provide additional instructions on how to upgrade the Java version on your machine, if needed.

The First Time Users page also provides access to a Configuration Room, where you can test your audio configuration and set your connection speed. It may take 1-3 minutes to download and launch the Blackboard Collaborate client. Once you have successfully completed your configuration, you can exit the room. Note that the Configuration Room does not have the full functionality that CIRTL's Blackboard Collaborate room will have.


When connecting to the Blackboard Collaborate room, you may be presented with a registration form, which you need to complete before continuing to the Blackboard Collaborate room.

All participants will see a Blackboard Collaborate Session Login page, where you must enter your name as it should appear in the participants window for the session, and then click "Log in." You will be prompted to download a meeting.collab file to start the session. This may take 1-3 minutes. 


If you cannot connect to the Blackboard Collaborate room, visit the Blackboard Collaborate First Time Users page to verify that your system meets Blackboard Collaborate's requirements.

Google Chrome users may see a message that the correct version of Java is not installed, even if the machine does have the current version of Java installed. If you've that verified the version of Java installed on your machine is up to date and you still cannot connect to the Blackboard Collaborate room, you may wish to try connecting to Blackboard Collaborate with a different browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.