Texas Tech University

For Faculty

9 Practical Tips for Blackboard Collaborate Classic

by Deniz Uzunosmanoglu, Instructional Designer

1. Prepare to launch!

Schedule Blackboard Collaborate to start 15-30 minutes before session start time to allow participants to test their technology (camera, microphone, speakers, network connectivity, etc.) This helps identify immediate problems without taking up session time.

2. Assemble content and materials before the session.

Have everyone upload materials such as presentation slides and applications to be shared before the session start time so that materials do not have to be adjusted during the session.

3. Prepare students.

Make sure to provide access and instruct participants to set-up Blackboard Collaborate Classic before each session.

4. Avoid high bandwidth content.

Try to avoid using embedded audio, video and a lot of graphics in PowerPoint presentations with the purpose of reducing overall file size. Reducing file size reduces bandwidth and helps participants in remote locations or on mobile devices experience less problems downloading or viewing files.

5. Use hardwired internet.

Have participants use a hardwired Internet connection instead of a wireless connection. Wireless connections have been found at times to experience potential delays in packet delivery resulting in broken connectivity and issues such as choppy audio and participants being dropped from the session.

6. Troubleshoot issues with more than one camera or microphone.

If you have issues connecting your camera and microphone, and have more than one device on your computer, unplug or disable all of the devices, and try plugging or enabling only the one you wish to use for the session.

7. Consider muting participants.

If you have many participants in your session, consider muting audio except for the presenter so that background noise does not disturb the session flow. Audio can be enabled per-participant or group. Reducing background noise may also help minimize band-width issues.

8. Record the session continuously. 

When recording sessions, it is not necessary to stop and restart the session during inactive periods such as sending students to do group work. Blackboard Collaborate Classic automatically condenses these inactive periods to optimize the length of the recording.

9. Be sure to add participation grades.

Participation grades will not be automatically added to the Grade Center for students who connect to the session via mobile devices.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN TEAM

The Worldwide eLearning Instructional Design (ID) Team consults in collaboration with faculty and course developers to create quality online courses. The ID Team is well-versed in the best practices of instructional design, universal design for learning, educational technology, and issues such as compliance with the American Disability Act and copyright regulations. ID Team members are available for consultation by appointment: contact us via email or phone, (806) 742-7277, if you need further assistance.

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