BBCollaborate Tips from Faculty

Tips and Tricks for faculty using BBCollaborate

  1. Become familiar ahead of time with which commands/options are on the left-hand settings panel and which show up on the right side. 

  1. Tell students to mute their microphones at the start of class, but unmute when they want to speak.  Less interference. When students first log-in, their video and audio are muted until they “unmute” themselves (icons are pretty obvious in the bottom middle of the screen).

  1. Remember to start recording the class before you start class!!!  (This is important for accessibility and also for students with tech issues.)  Remember that if you go into breakout groups, the recording will stop, and you’ll have to re-start.  

  1. Give students time at the beginning of class to explore and play around with the various features and parts of the interface.  Consider assigning a scavenger hunt to find features such as how to react to what’s happening in class, how to chat (if you enable that), and how to raise a hand.

  1. You can upload and share only PDFs or Powerpoints, not Word documents. 

  1. Upload your powerpoint rather than share your screen. It looks better. Note that if you upload powerpoint slides any embedded videos or animations will not work.


  1. Turn off the whiteboard for participants so nobody can put smiley faces on your presentation. Note that if you want students to be able to give written feedback on a document, you would need to turn back on the whiteboard access.  For example, if you break out into groups and give the students an exercise, they would need access to the whiteboard to write anything on the document.  

  1. It’s probably better to give students materials ahead of time to review; then they’ll have those for class.  

  1. If you try to share materials in breakout groups, it seems to get a bit complicated. Once students were broken into groups, they no longer had access to the files that were shared in the main room unless the file was manually shared with each group by the moderator. 

  1. Not everyone wants to enable chat at first (because we all need to take things slowly). You can disable, but consider whether you really want to disable.  If you have more than a handful of people in a session, the chat function can be a great way for students to ask questions or let you know, for example, that your slides are no longer showing.  You can monitor the chat.  

  1. During my drop-in session with students, over half of the students who dropped in struggled with their audio. This takes some time.  Also, the students who dropped in were not familiar with BlackBoard Collaborate Ultra functionality. Many students had multiple drop-ins scheduled today with other professors, so this may change quickly.  (I like the idea of a drop-in session.) 

    1. Headphones make it easier to hear. 

    2. Share the phone number so students can call-in if they have trouble with audio. 

  1. Don’t be afraid of using the “breakout groups” function. I found it very fun and helpful. It allows students to chat with each other.  You can then move in and out of groups and check on how everyone is interacting. 

  1. When you pull up the list of students in a session, you can see each student’s microphone.  This will tell you who is muted and who is not. You can mute students, but they have to “unmute” themselves.  When you break students out into separate rooms, you can watch which groups are talking by the activity on their microphones on your Attendees list.  If there is a quiet group you can enter and kick start the conversation or troubleshoot any issues.

  2. The leftmost of the buttons along the bottom of the screen is a “person” icon.  Students can click that to select emoticons for themselves. If you open the Attendees panel on the right hand side of the screen (via the purple arrow), you can see students’ names and corresponding emoticons if they’re using one.  It’s a great way for the teacher to get immediate feedback about whether students are understanding a concept. 

  3. You can detach the Attendee panel by clicking on the circle with three dots at the top of the Attendee Panel and selecting Detach panel. This will keep the attendee panel always visible within BBCollaborate. It can be merged again by clicking on the circle with three dots and selecting Merge panel

  4. Third party cookies must be enabled in your browser in order for BBCollaborate to load.

Keywords:BBCollaborate, online lecture,   Doc ID:99660
Owner:Griffin W.Group:Law School
Created:2020-03-27 10:30 CDTUpdated:2020-03-30 11:17 CDT
Sites:Law School
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