Blackboard Collaborate Original - Small Group User Template (UW-Madison)

Use cases and descriptions for using Blackboard Collaborate with small groups.

Small Group:  (15 or less.)

Examples: Undergraduate Seminar, Graduate Seminar, Instructor Meeting, Dissertation or MA Defense, Advising Meeting/Online Office Hours, Review Session, Student Collaborative Work Space. 

Tools Needed: Video, Audio, Whiteboard, Application Sharing, Web Tour, Chat, File Transfer, Break Out Rooms, Polls, Timer.

Student or non-moderator Permissions needed: Whiteboard, Chat, Video, Audio.

Recommended Organization:  For small groups you can opt to either try to stay on top of permissions and other technical issues yourself, or have a second moderator to take care of the technical side while you deal only with the content.  Until you are comfortable with running sessions on Collaborate, we recommend that you have a second moderator if possible. 
To ensure the session runs smoothly, log-on 15-30 minutes early to set-up audio and video, enable permissions and load content.
(Note:  If you want to set up a collaborate session for students to use as a collaborative space without an instructor present, you will need to set-up the session to allow everyone moderator privileges on entry.)

  • Setting Up Audio and Video
    • 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

  • Setting Permissions

      • Depending on what you have planned for the webconference and how you want the session structured you can approach setting permissions in two ways.  First, if you are planning for a fairly free-flowing and casual session with participants who can be expected to exercise self-restraint, you can simply enable all the permissions participants will need before the session starts.  To set permissions in this way click on the “hamburger” button on the top right of the Participants panel:
        Permissions Hamburger Button

        This will open the global permissions control box.  Make sure any tool you want students to use, such as “Whiteboard,” “Chat,” “Video” and “Audio” permissions have a check mark next to them (simply click to add or remove a checkmark).  If more than six people will use the video and audio tools for the session you will need to rotate permissions (see “Rotating Permissions” below)

        Global Permissions

        If, however, you have a more structured session in mind, then you will want to manage individual permissions throughout the session.  This is when having a second moderator to handle technical issues is most helpful. 
        (Note: Students can see the Whiteboard whether the permission is enabled or not.  Enabling the permission allows students to use the Tool Palette. )

        Each individual has a set of permissions.  You can over-ride a global permission for the individual by clicking on the individual tool above and to the right of their name.  A red x indicates the individual permission for that tool is off.
        (Note:  If you have more than one moderator make sure that you have enabled all their permissions including video and audio)
        Individual Permissions

  • Rotating Permissions

      • If you are planning on having more than six people in your session use the video and/or audio tools at some point or if more than one person needs to control the Whiteboard, Application Sharing or Web Tour tools you will need to rotate those permissions. Collaborate only allows six simultaneous videos and audio streams.  You can rotate permissions in one of two ways.  First, you can simply enable the tool, such as audio, for all participants and ask participants to turn off their tool when they are not using it, making sure that no more than 6 participants are trying to use it at the same time.  If you want a fairly unstructured, free-flowing kind of meeting this is a good approach.

        The second way is to only give out the permission to the specified number of people at any given time. I.e., only allow six participants to have "audio" and "video" enabled at any given time.  You can rotate those permissions by disabling an active participant's permission and enabling a non-active participant's permission.  To rotate the permissions simply click the tool icon to the right of the active participant's name in the participant's panel until there is a red x through that tool.  Then you can give that permission to another participant by clicking on the tool icon to the right of their name until the red x disappears. 
        (Note: We recommend that you use the second method of rotating permissions until you feel you have enough experience to channel and control the potential chaos of allowing everyone to have their tools' permissions enabled)

        Similarly with the Whiteboard, Application Sharing and Web Tour you need to first turn off or disable the permission for that tool for the host moderator (which is you unless you overrode the default settings for the session).  After you have disabled your own permission for that tool, you can then enable it for one and only one person.
        (Note: if you grant audio and video permissions to more than six participants, or if you grant Whiteboard, Application Sharing and Web Tour permissions for more than one person, only those who originally had the permissions can use those tools.  In other words, it may look like someone has the permissions to use one of those tools but they will not be able to unless one of the original six, in the case of video and audio, or the moderator, in the case of the other three, either turns the tool off or has their permission for that tool disabled)

  • Using The Whiteboard

      • To load a powerpoint slide show, simply click on the "Load Content" Button near the top-right of the screen and then select the powerpoint file you want to upload (There is a known issue with Collaborate and Office 2013, please use an earlier version of Office if possible):

        Load Content

        Once the file is uploaded it will appear on the whiteboard and the Page Explorer navigation box will appear.  This box displays all the slides from the powerpoint and allows you to move back and forth between slides by clicking on them.  You can also use Page Explorer to rearrange the order of the slides:

        Page explorer

        Once the file is uploaded you (and your students if you have enabled their Whiteboard Permission) can use the Tool Palette to modify the slides by drawing on them, entering text, placing markers etc.  (For more on the uses of the Tool Palette click on the link, go to The Whiteboard>Adding Content to the Whiteboard>The Tools Palette:
        Tool Palette

         (Note: if you are loading more than one powerpoint, Collaborate will load the second powerpoint slide show starting at whatever page you are on when you load it.  Make sure you are at the end of your first powerpoint before loading the second one.  You can always rearrange the order of the slides after you upload them.)

  • Using Application Sharing

      • 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:

  • Using Web Tour

      • 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)

  • Using Chat
      • The Chat tool can function as a Q&A for large, non-participatory events.  Non-moderators (students/attendees) can ask questions in the chat that the Moderator can then respond to either in the chat or through video/audio.  To use the chat simply enter text into the text box and hit enter.  You can also select emoticons by clicking on the emoticon icon in the text box. 
        Chat Text

        There are two default chats, one general chat that everyone in the web conference can see and one that only the moderator can see.  You can tab back and forth between the chats at the bottom of the Chat Panel.
        Chat Tabs

        You can disable the emoticons, manipulate font size, send announcements and adjust other chat settings by clicking on the “hamburger” button on the top right of the panel.
        Closing Chat

         (For more on the Chat Tool click on the link, then find Chat in the index:

  • Using File Transfer

      • 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

      • 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.)

  • Using Polls

      • You can create a poll either by clicking on the global permissions "hamburger" button on the top right of the participant's panel or by selecting "Polling" from the dropdown Tools menu at the top center of your screen (shown below).  You can select one of 4 different poll types; a Yes-No option, an A-C option (3 possible answers), an A-D option (4 possible answers), and an A-E option (5 possible answers).  When you create a poll, you need to either tell participants what their choices are (click A for this response, B for this one etc.), post the choices in the group chat or both. 

        Create Poll

        From this same menu you can also select "Publish Responses to Whiteboard" which posts the poll results on the Mainroom Whiteboard.  (Note: "Make Responses Visible" is a default setting that allows anyone to see how a particular participant voted by looking next to his or her name in the participant's panel)  Participants can vote by clicking on their choice from the dropdown menu under their name in the Participant's panel.  This is also where the poll results will show up for you as the moderator.
        Poll Voting

  • Using The Timer
    • You can set a timer that all participants can see count down for anything from a break-out room session to timing a poll.  When the timer goes off it emits a beep as well as sends a notification to all the participants.  To start the timer simply select “Timer” > ”Start Timer” from the “Tools” dropdown menu at the top center of your screen.

      The Timer appears above the Whiteboard.
      Timer Location

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

Keywords:Blackboard, Collaborate, Web conference, web conferencing, use case, user template, online tools, online office hours, online, online content, online seminar, online meeting, Dissertation defense, online collaboration   Doc ID:35520
Owner:Collaboration Support .Group:Learn@UW Madison
Created:2013-12-02 11:23 CSTUpdated:2017-03-16 12:00 CST
Sites:Blackboard Collaborate, DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Learn@UW Madison
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