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Blackboard Collaborate Original - Virtual Office Hours Template (UW-Madison)

How to set up a virtual office hours or a virtual instructor-student interaction space using Blackboard Collaborate.

You can set up an ongoing virtual space where you can safely discuss class and student information in an office hours setting. (Note: This is for Blackboard Collaborate Original only. If you are looking for help or information on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, please go here)

Examples: office hours, consultation, grade check-in, assignment Q&A

Recommended Organization:  In order to keep things simple for your students, we recommend that you set-up one ongoing web conference for your virtual office hours that runs the entire semester.  Since this web conference provides space for meeting with students and discussing potentially sensitive information such as grades, we recommend that you set up the conference so students can only join as participants and not as moderators.  If you need a student to use a moderator privilege, such as application sharing or file transfer, simply enable this permission once in the web conference. 

Tools Needed: Whiteboard, Application Sharing, Web Tour, File Transfer, Break Out Rooms

  • Setting up a Collaborative Web Conference
    • Blackboard Collaborate Original integrates with the new Canvas Learning Management System.  You can create web conferences that are accessible to anyone enrolled in your course using this integration.  Any recordings you make using Blackboard Collaborate will also be available to those enrolled in the class. Finally, Collaborate integrates with your course roster, so students who join Collaborate from your course will be automatically signed in as themselves. (Those who sign in via a guest link instead of through Canvas will be prompted to enter a name) (Note: This is for Blackboard Collaborate Original only, if you are looking for help or information on Collaborate Ultra, go here

      Blackboard Collaborate has already been integrated with Canvas.  However, in order to make the tool accessible you will have to add it to your course navigation bar.  To do this, click on Settings, then select "Navigation."  At the bottom of a page is a list of tools that are not in the navigation bar.  Simply find BB Collaborate and drag and drop it into the list of tools in the Navigation bar directly above.

      BB Collab

      To create a session, simply click on the BB Collaborate link in the Navigation bar, and then click on the plus sign in the upper right corner of the Collaborate interface.  After creating a session, you, or your students, can join it by simply clicking on the name of the session (see red arrow) (Also note that you and your students can access any recordings you make by clicking on the Recordings tab, underlined in red)

      Admin Interface

      For more information on the many features of Collaborate and how to use them, please click here.
  • Enabling Your Student's Permissions
    • Since your students will be joining the web conference without any moderator permissions, you will need to active their permissions for any tool you want them to use during the session.  You can do this by simply clicking on the tool icon next to their name in the participant's panel until the red x on the tool is gone.  (Note: you can activate all the permissions you anticipate your student(s) needing at the beginning of the session or wait until they actually need to use the tool)

      Individual Permissions

  • Setting Up Audio and Video
    • (Note: This is for Blackboard Collaborate Original only, if you are looking for help or information on Collaborate Ultra, go here

      Setting up Audio and Video:
      To set up your audio function, click on the “hamburger” button on the top right of the Audio/Video panel and select “Run Audio Wizard.”  This will walk you through setting-up your audio.
      Audio Hamburger Button

      To set-up the video, click on the video button at the bottom-right of the panel.  You can also preview the video without participants seeing it by clicking on the preview button next to the video button.
      Video Button

  • Using the Whiteboard for Notes and Information
    • You can use the Whiteboard to take notes or share information with text.  To begin a textbox on the whiteboard simply select the textbox tool from the Tool Palette.  Then click where you want the textbox to be on the whiteboard and start typing.  You can also give your student(s) permission to use the Tool Palette and start a textbox.  For more detailed instructions on use the Tool Palette click on the link, go to The Whiteboard>Adding Content to the Whiteboard>The Tools Palette:


  • Sharing Files and other Applications on your Desktop
    • (Note: This is for Blackboard Collaborate Original only, if you are looking for help or information on Collaborate Ultra, go here
        To begin Application sharing, click on the Application Sharing Icon at the top left of the Whiteboard.
        Application Sharing Icon

        This will open up the Application sharing control box.  Click on the "Share Desktop" selection.  (Note: While you can share specific programs instead of your whole desktop, the tool generally works better and runs smoother if you share your whole desktop.)
        Applications Sharing Selections

      For more in-depth explanations of the different Collaborate Tools, please visit the following website and click on the tool name in the index:

      If you want one of your students to use the Application Sharing tool, you will need to first disable your own permission before enabling his/her Application Sharing permission.  Only one person at a time can use the Application Sharing tool.)

  • Shared View of Websites
    • (Note: This is for Blackboard Collaborate Original only, if you are looking for help or information on Collaborate Ultra, go here

        To start the Web Tour tool, click on the Web Tour icon at the top left of the Whiteboard.
        Web Tour Button

        This opens up the Web Tour tool.  Simply enter the URL of the website you want to go to in the box that opens up and hit enter.
        Web Tour Tool

        (Note: You cannot show a password protected website, such as Canvas, using Web Tour as your students will not be able to follow you past the log-in screen.  You can still show password protected sites through the Application Sharing tool if necessary.  Also make sure the "Follow Me" button has a check mark in it or the other web conference attendees won't see the website you are touring)

  • Sharing Files
    • (Note: This is for Blackboard Collaborate Original only, if you are looking for help or information on Collaborate Ultra, go here

        File transfer allows you to upload and distribute files to all web conference attendees.  To upload a file to the file transfer library, click on file>open>File for Transfer.
        File Transfer

        This opens the standard file browser of all the files on your computer.  Simply select the file you want and hit “open.”  This will then automatically open the File Transfer Library.   All files in the library are accessible to all web conference participants.  Using the icons at the top you can save the file, remove the file, remind participants that they can download the file or add a new file.
        File Transfer Library 

        (Note: After you log out of a session, all files are automatically deleted from the File Transfer Library.  If you try to upload a file format that is incompatible with the Whiteboard it will automatically activate the file transfer feature and ask users if they want to download the file.)

      For more in-depth explanations of the different Collaborate Tools, please visit the following website and click on the tool name in the index:

  • Using Break Out Rooms for Privacy
      • If you are concerned that multiple students may join the web conference while you are discussing sensitive information, such as grades, with another student, you can always create break out rooms and hold any sensitive discussions in one of the break out rooms.  Since participants do not get moderator privileges upon joining the conference, they cannot move themselves into a break out room without you giving them the proper permissions.  This allows you to set up a room (or rooms) in the web conference where only those you personally move into the room(s) can go.

        (Note: This is for Blackboard Collaborate Original only, if you are looking for help or information on Collaborate Ultra, go here

          You can access the Break Out Room controls from either the “hamburger” button on the Participants panel (shown below) or by clicking on the Tools dropdown menu at the top of the screen.
          Create Breakout Rooms

          To create breakout rooms simply click on the “Click Breakout Rooms” button and fill out the appropriate information on the dialogue box that opens up.  You can select the number of breakout rooms, whether you want students automatically divided evenly or whether you want them divided into groups based on a number.  If you want to personally assign each student to a breakout room, simply select “Do not move participants” and manually move them into their rooms (see below)  (Note: There is no limit to the number of break-out rooms you can create)
          Breakout Rooms Dialogue Box

          You can manually assign participants to breakout rooms by simply clicking on and dragging their name in the participants panel.  You can also click the “hamburger” button next to their name in the participants panel and select a room to move them to.
          Breakout and Participants

          To access the individual breakout room’s controls simply click on the “hamburger” button to the right of the room name.  From this menu you can do everything from renaming the breakout room to closing the breakout room to sending the entire room back to the main room. (Note: You may have to hover your mouse over the name for the button to appear).
          Closing Breakouts

          You can copy any and/or all Whiteboard pages from the break-out rooms to the main room Whiteboard.
          (Note: Each breakout room has its own chat and can have up to six simultaneous video and audio.  To avoid rotating permissions within each breakout room, simply divide the class into groups of six or less.)

For information on how to set-up and use other tools in Collaborate, please see the other Collaborate templates: Here

Keywords:Blackboard, Collaborate, Web conference, web conferencing, use case, user template, online tools, online, online content, software demonstration, instructor-to-student, interaction, collaborative, virtual, office hours, consultation,   Doc ID:38248
Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW-Madison
Created:2014-03-07 14:29 CDTUpdated:2019-10-08 15:11 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Learn@UW-Madison
Feedback:  3   0