Blackboard Collaborate-Small Group Meeting Template

Use cases and descriptions for using Blackboard Collaborate for a Small Group Meeting.

Small Group Meeting:  (Less than 6)

Examples: Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly or otherwise ongoing Department Chair Meeting, Executive Committee Meeting etc.

Tools Needed: Video, Audio, Application Sharing, Chat, File Transfer.

Recommended Organization:  For small groups you should  take the first meeting to simply get all participants comfortable with the tool and its features so all participants can use all tools.  Always select someone to "host" or be head moderator and actually run the meeting.
To ensure the session runs smoothly, log-on 15-30 minutes early to set-up audio and video and load content.

  • Setting Up The Web Conference
    • My UW Madison Portal web conferencing uses Blackboard Collaborate software. Collaborate is a browser-based tool that allows people to communicate, collaborate, and participate in virtual meetings. Collaborate can also be used independently of the portal.

      Setting up web conferences in the portal includes:

       1. Creating a Web Conference and Modifying its Properties

      1. Log into MyUW and launch the Web Conferencing app. If the app is not on your your homepage (but you would like it to be), you can search for "Web Conferencing" and then click Add to Home on the corresponding search result.

      2. Click the Schedule a Web Conferencing Session button.

      3. Enter the following web conference details:
        • In the Session Name field, type the title of the conference.
        • In the Start field, enter a date and time for the conference to begin.
        • In the End field, enter the time and date for the conference to end. This must be within 1 year of the start time.

      4. You may also click on Additional Settings and configure any of the following optional settings:
        • Early Session Entry Period: Allows participants access to the session prior to the scheduled start time.
        • Max Simultaneous Talkers: Specify the default number of individuals (Moderators and Participants) that can speak at the same time during a session (6 is the maximum). This setting can be changed by a Moderator during a session.
        • Max Cameras: Specify the default number of individuals (Moderators and Participants) that can share video captured on their webcam during a session (6 is the maximum). This setting can be changed by a Moderator during a session. 
        • Private Chat Supervised: Allows all Moderators in the session to see any private chats that occur among the Participants.
        • All Participants Have Full Permissions?: Allows all attendees, both Moderators and Participants, to have access to all of the tools in the session, such as the whiteboard, chat, audio/video, etc. The Moderator can disable access to specific tools for individuals or all Participants during the session.
        • Raise Hand on Entry?: A visual indicator ("hand raise") and audible alert when someone enters the session.
        • Recording Mode: Sessions can be recorded and viewed on-demand after completed. Selecting Manual requires the Moderator to initiate the recording and Automatic will record sessions immediately upon entry. We recommend Manual to allow the Moderator the option to determine when to begin the recording.
        • Hide Names in Recordings: Hide the names of the attendees in recordings.
        • Allow In-Session Invitations: Permit moderators to send email invitations to potential attendees while a session is in progress.

      5. Click Save Session.

       2. Adding and Inviting Attendees

      The Session Details page will give you a Guest Link that you can send to potential participants. Anyone who has the generic Guest Link can join the web conference.

      Optionally, you can send individual invitations to specific attendees or moderators through a process that generates a unique URL for each participant. The process to send an individual invitation is the same whether individual is a part of the University of Wisconsin or external to it. 

      Individually invited participants will not see web conferences that they are invited to in their instance of the My UW Madison portal. Individually invited participants must join web conferences through a link emailed to them.

      The individual invitation process is: 

      1. In the Session List, click on the web conference session you’d like to add attendees to. The Web Conference session details page opens.

      2. Click on Invite / Edit Participant(s). The Invite / Edit Participants page opens.

      3. Type the name of the invitee in the name field. If they are part of UW System it will automatically look up the user in the UW System database.  If you see your invitees name click on their name and it will automatically fill out the email field with the invitees preferred email address.  If you don't find your invitee or want to invite someone outside of UW System fill out both the name and email address fields. 

      4. Use the drop-down menu to designate whether the invitee will be a moderator or not. 

      5. Click Add Participant

      6. Repeat steps 3-5 for each invited participant.

      7. When you’re done adding participants, click Complete.


      3. Email Invitations

      All individually invited participants will receive an email that looks like this:


      The email will also include a calendar invitation which participants can import into most major online calendar systems.

      NOTE: Some email programs may filter this email by sending it to the user's spam or junk mail folder. If attendees report not receiving an email, please advise them to check their spam or junk mail folder.

  • 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

  • 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:

      For this scenario we recommend using google docs in Application Sharing rather than the whiteboard for any notes or agenda. To use google docs simply have the head moderator share their screen in Application Sharing and then pull up the google doc in a web browser. While the head moderator can arrange their screen so they can see both the video feed and the document, it works better if they use two screens, with Collaborate running on one screen and the google doc on the other.

  • 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 Telephony
    • To activate the Telephony feature of Blackboard Collaborate, simply click on the tools menu, scroll down to Telephony and click "Use Telephone for Audio"

      This will open a dialogue box with two telephone numbers, one for participants and one for moderators.  Simply call the number and follow the instructions on your screen to switch to Telephony for audio.  (Note: The PIN generated is unique to the session, once you and/or your participants have the PIN, you can use the same PIN anytime you are in that session, even if you leave the session for an indefinite time)
      Telephony Numbers

      Please note that the number given is a Virginia number and is long distance, this could be an issue for people using landlines.  Also note that all telephony users will get lumped onto the same stream, so if you create breakout rooms, they will all have to be part of the same break out room.  Finally, be aware that you as the moderator cannot control the audio of telephony users, you cannot turn off their Telephony nor can you mute them.  You will need to remind them to mute themselves or to be conscious of any background noise at their 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:43757
Owner:James M.Group:Learn@UW Madison
Created:2014-09-30 11:11 CDTUpdated:2016-06-16 10:48 CDT
Sites:Blackboard Collaborate, DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Learn@UW Madison
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