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Bb Collaborate Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing?

Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing is a "live" interactive virtual environment for communication, presentation, interaction and instruction.

Blackboard Collaborate uses a strong communication platform, rich in features, that focuses on collaboration and communication. The Blackboard Collaborate interface provides a unique learning and teaching tool, capturing the essence of a "face-to-face" session.

Blackboard Collaborate is delivered via the Internet, the moderator and participants (and guests) log in using a computer (PC or Mac) with an Internet connection (DSL or cable recommended) through a browser such as Microsoft IE or Mozilla Firefox. The Blackboard Collaborate interface requires the user use either a headset with built-in microphone, or a separate microphone and speakers. Users participate in interactive Web Conferencing sessions by talking, text messaging, listening and (optionally) video.

Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing (formerly known as Elluminate Live!) is used in education (delivering online courses, blended courses, collaborative writing, research, office hours, tutorials, etc.), private enterprises or in hosting events (seminars, conferences, workshops, training purposes, etc.).

Faculty are using Blackboard Collaborate in many different ways. Some will be conducting their online sessions using Blackboard Collaborate, or use the technology for a blended learning that combines asynchronous and synchronous tools. Others might use Blackboard Collaborate in a traditional classroom setting, providing an extra tool for students to work on group projects. Faculty also have the ability to use Blackboard Collaborate for office hours.

2. What are the benefits of using Blackboard Collaborate?

Blackboard Collaborate allows members of our community to hold collaborative group meetings. It has broad client operating system support (Windows, Mac, Linux), including support for closed captioning and screen reader capabilities. Collaborate is used for scheduled classes as well as spontaneous one-on-one tutoring sessions, both of which may be recorded and archived for use in the future.

3. What are the minimum system requirements?

Your system must meet or exceed the following minimum requirements:


  • Supported versions of Windows and Java:
    • Windows XP (32 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • Windows Vista (32 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • Windows Vista (64 bit) with 64 bit Java
    • Windows 7 (32 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • Windows 7 (64 bit) with 64 bit Java
  • Pentium III 1 GHz processor
  • Supported Client Java Versions (Please Note - Blackboard Collaborate Support recommends that you use Java 1.6.0_13 or higher for the best experience!)
    • 1.5
    • 1.6 (32 and 64 bit)
    • 32 bit Java with 32 bit Operating System
    • 64 bit Java with 64 bit Operating System
    • Java Access Bridge 2.0.1 (Using Jaws)
  • Supported Browsers for use with Blackboard Collaborate
    • IE 7
    • IE 8
    • IE 9
    • Firefox 3.6+
    • Google Chrome 3.0.15
  • 256 MB of free RAM
  • 20 MB free disk space
  • 28.8 kbps Internet connection
  • Speaker and Microphone, headsets are preferred


  • Supported versions of Mac OS X and Java:
    • OS X 10.5 (32 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • OS X 10.5 (64 bit) with 64 bit Java
    • OS X 10.6 (64 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • OS X 10.6 (64 bit) with 64 bit Java
  • G4, G5 or Intel processor
  • Supported Client Java Versions:
  • Apple Java 1.5.0_16 (J2SE5 - 32 bit) or higher
  • Apple Java 1.6.0_07 (J2SE6 - 64 bit) or higher
  • Supported Browsers for use with Blackboard Collaborate:
    • Safari 4.x or 5.x
    • Firefox 3.6+
  • 256 MB of free RAM
  • 20 MB free disk space
  • 28.8 kbps Internet connection
  • Speaker and Microphone, headsets are preferred

4. Does Collaborate work with a Mac? with Linux?

Yes, you can use Blackboard Collaborate whether you use Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems.

Note for Linux users: Currently, Ubuntu 9.10 or greater is the only officially supported Linux platform for use with Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing V11.

5. How do I find a Collaborate recording?

Sessions are often (but not always) recorded. The moderator makes the decision about whether or not to record.

Recordings are in audio/video format.

If your meeting was recorded, your instructor or session moderator will need to retrieve the recording link and provide it to you. Only the instructor/session moderator has access to the link for the recording.

If you are a session moderator and are not familiar with the process for retrieving a recording link, please see the SAS Recording Settings and Link Management Quick Reference Guide, specifically the section labeled "Retrieving Recording Links".

To play a recording, you can use the little time slider at the bottom center of the screen to move ahead to a particular time point of the recording if you wish. There are play/pause controls at the lower left of the screen. You can also use the pulldown menu in the lower left-hand corner of the screen to jump directly to a particular point in the presentation. Similarly, you can bring up the recording index by going to: Playback > Show Recording Index. The Recording Index will also allow you to jump directly to a particular point in the presentation.

6. Why doesn't my PowerPoint presentation work on Collaborate?

Some users of Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Mac OS X may have problems uploading PPT or Keynote files to the whiteboard. A workaround is to first save the slides as images, and then load the images to the whiteboard. Here are the steps for doing so:

  • Open the PowerPoint presentation.
  • From the File menu, select Save As.
  • In the Save As dialog box, choose either GIF, JPEG, or PNG from the Save As Type menu (for Windows users) or Format menu (for Mac OS X users).

Save all of the images in the presentation. A folder will be created where each slide in the presentation will be saved as a static image and numbered accordingly.

Now, to load the images in Blackboard Collaborate:

  • Click on the Load Content button in the upper right-hand corner (near the Blackboard logo).
  • Navigate to the folder containing the images.
  • Select all of the images in the folder by clicking the first image, and then the last image, while holding down your Shift key.
  • In the Load Content dialog box, select "Import Images as Individual Pages", and then click on the Load button.

After your slides load onto the whiteboard, you can navigate through the slides using the 'Page Explorer' window (which should pop up after the slides are finished loading).

7. The audio isn't working with my headset for my Mac. What shall I do?

Many Macs have built-in microphone and speakers. Although these integrated components are compatible with Blackboard Collaborate, you may experience issues with "echo" if your Collaborate session allows simultaneous talkers. For this reason, a headset is recommended.

If you are using a headset, be sure to install it prior to joining your Collaborate session.

The Blackboard Collaborate website specifies that a USB headset must be used to ensure compatibility.

If using a headset, you will need to specify it as your audio input/output device. To do this, open System Preferences.

  • Click on the Sound icon. This will open the Sound option window.
  • Select Output and choose the output device you are using. Verify that mute is not selected and that the volume slider is at least halfway up.
  • Select Input and choose the input device that you will be using.

Both input and output volumes may be adjusted as needed by using the Audio Set-Up Wizard.

If you are using the built-in microphone and speakers, simply adjust the sound levels using the Audio Set-Up Wizard in Collaborate.

8. How do I clear the Java cache?

Windows and Mac OS X users: click here to see detailed instructions for how to clear the Java cache.

9. Which version of Java am I running?

For all platforms: visit the Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing Support page which will check and display the version of Java you are running.

10. I am a Mac OS X user. I've successfully connected to Elluminate/Collaborate sessions in the past, but now my computer can't launch Collaborate. This happened after a recent Java update.

Several Mac Java updates over the last few years ended up breaking the association between JNLP files and Java Web Start.

If a JNLP file opens in Text Edit or other application instead of launching Java, take the following actions to restore the proper association so that Java Web Start applications launch correctly:

  1. Save the text file to your desktop with a jnlp file extension, e.g. Meeting.jnlp
  2. Right-click or Control-click the JNLP file and select Open With –> Other
  3. In the Choose Application window, browse to:
    Macintosh HD -> System -> Library -> CoreServices
    Under CoreServices, select Java Web
    The full path to the location is:
    /System/Library/CoreServices/Java Web
  4. Check the box for Always Open With then click the Open button.

11. How do I use the Recording Index to navigate Whiteboard screens?

When the whiteboard is used during a Blackboard Collaborate session, each new screen is captured and indexed for easy recall when the recording is viewed. If, for instance, you or your group give a slideshow presentation during a live session and in the recording you want to navigate to the first of your set of slides.

After launching the recording, locate the controls in the extreme lower left corner of the interface. In the default layout view, these controls will appear just beneath the Chat window.

From left to right you should see:

  • Index Entry pull-down menu: This menu is set to your current screen (or screen group), along with a pull-down arrow. You can use the pull-down menu to navigate to a different screen position in the recording. Each entry on the pull-down menu will include the screen name and time code
  • Play/Pause Button: Play and pause the recording.
  • Timer and Slider: The elapsed time of the recording together with the gain slider to manually advance forward or retreat back through the recording.

To access the recording index, you can do one of the following:

  • Quick Index: To quickly jump to a new index entry, click on the Index Entry pull-down menu in the lower left-hand corner, and select the appropriate index entry.
  • Full Index: Alternatively, you can access the full Recording Index by clicking on the Playback Menu and selecting Show Recording Index

Go ahead and launch the full Recording Index by clicking on the Playback Menu and selecting Show Recording Index:

This selection will give you the full whiteboard screen index laid over the recording interface, they will be indexed according to the moment they appeared on-screen during the live session. Select the screen title you want.

Note: this is an example of why it can be important to give your presentation slides good identifying titles.

12. I am a Windows user and I installed a new Java update. Now Blackboard Collaborate is not working.

The solution is to uninstall all the old Java versions from "Programs and Features" or "Add and Remove Programs" before installing the new version / update.

13. I have a Windows 7 64-bit computer and I'm using Internet Explorer as my browser. The Java application cannot launch the Blackboard Collaborate sessions successfully.

Uninstall all previous versions of Java. Then download and install both 32-bit and 64-bit Java updates using this link -

14. I am using Google Chrome and when I click on the link to launch the session, nothing happens.

There is a known issue with Google Chrome automatically launching java web start (JNLP) files that are necessary to open a Blackboard Collaborate session. There are two methods to work around this problem:

  1. Option #1: After entering your name to sign into your session:
    • When prompted to keep or discard the file "meeting.jnlp", choose keep:
    • Next to meeting.jnlp, choose the drop down menu on the right (right arrow menu): and select "always open files of this type":
    • The session should then open and all subsequent sessions should now open automatically. If the session does not open, close the browser and re-enter the session link, the session should then open automatically.
  2. Option #2: Use an alternate web browser, Firefox or Internet Explorer

15. I am using Internet Explorer and when I click on the link to launch the session, nothing happens.

There is a setting in Internet Explorer that needs to be adjusted to ensure automatic launching of java web start (JNLP) files that are necessary to open a Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing session. Enabling this setting will allow the meeting.jnlp file to automatically prompt for file download:

  1. Open Internet Explorer; Go to Tools > Internet Options > Security Tab, click on the "Custom" button.
  2. This will open a second window, "Security Settings", scroll down to "Downloads" and locate "Automatic prompting for file downloads". Click "Enable". This will allow you to properly launch meetings.
  3. Click OK in that window and the Internet Options window.
  4. Close and reopen Internet Explorer, and then click on the session link to re-launch your session.

16. Is Java 7 (also known as Java 1.7.0) compatible with Blackboard Collaborate?

Java 7 (also known as Java 1.7.0) is not currently supported. Please use Java 6 (also known as Java 1.6.0) instead.

17. Recording playback does not display the Application Sharing and or Web Tour content that occurred in the live session.

The vendor is working on resolving this problem. In the meantime, the following workaround will allow you to view the full recording:

  1. Option #1 (Playback Menu):
    • In the main menu, click on Playback.
    • From the Playback menu, select Show Recording Index.
    • Click to highlight Application Sharing Started within the listed items in the Kind column.
    • Then click Seek at the bottom left of this window. Close the window using the "X" or by clicking Done on the bottom right. This will start the recording at that point when the Application Share began.
  2. Option #2 (Timeline Bar): Manually move the timeline slider at the bottom of the window to the point in the recording where the Application Share began. This will display the Appshare content that was visible in the live session.

18. I am unable to launch my Blackboard Collaborate session on my Mac.

This may be a Java related issue. The following troubleshooting steps will resolve this issue in the majority of cases. Further troubleshooting will be required if this solution does not resolve your issue:

  1. Step #1: Change the default version of Java by adjusting the Java sequence to use the 32-bit version first (by default, the 64-bit version is used first on most Macs).
    • Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Java Preferences (Java Preferences Window will open)
    • On the General tab, highlight and drag the 32-bit Java version to the top of the list
    • If there are two separate boxes with Java versions (one for Applet Plugins and one for Applications) perform the above step for both
    • Keep this window open as you still need this for Step 2
  2. Step #2: Clear the Java cache
    • Within the Java Preferences window (from Step #1 above), click on the Network tab
    • Click on Delete files (a new window will open)
    • Place check marks in the boxes next to "Applications and Applets" and "Trace and Log Files
    • Click OK to close window
    • Close the main Java Preferences window
  3. Step #3: Relaunch your web browser and try accessing the Blackboard Collaborate session again

Note #1: If you are using Chrome and your session is not launching, please see FAQ #14 above.
Note #2: If you were previously able to launch Blackboard Collaborate sessions, but are no longer able to do so after installing a Java update for Mac, then please see FAQ #10 above.

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