In addition to the core Blackboard Learn system, UTSA instructors can enable Blackboard Collaborate within their courses for live virtual sessions. Collaborate provides real-time video conferencing capabilities directly integrated into the UTSA Blackboard platform.
As a student, you may be required to participate in Collaborate web conferencing for certain classes. This allows for an interactive learning experience online through features like video, audio, screen sharing, polls and breakout groups.
This guide will walk through how to access Collaborate virtual classrooms through your Blackboard course sites.
Prerequisites for Accessing Collaborate
Before joining a Collaborate session, ensure that:
- You have a properly configured webcam and microphone for two-way audio/video.
- Your browser allows use of camera and microphone. Chrome or Firefox recommended.
- You have adequate internet bandwidth for streaming.
- Pop-up blockers are disabled for your Blackboard site.
- Java plugin and other utilities are installed and updated.
Locating Your Blackboard Collaborate Link
Your instructor will post a link to join each scheduled Collaborate session somewhere within your Blackboard course site. This may be:
- In a content folder page
- On the course menu
- In a module/widget on the course site homepage
- In an announcement or email
Review your course thoroughly to locate the web conferencing link. Look for “Join Room” or “Begin Session”. Test sessions may be available for troubleshooting access before the scheduled time.
Joining the Blackboard Collaborate Session
Once you’ve located the link to join the session:
- Click the link to launch a separate tab/window.
- If prompted, select “Join Course Room” to enter the session.
- Enable your webcam and microphone when the browser asks for permissions.
- Type your name to enter the room so the instructor knows who joined.
- Click “Join Session” once your media devices are enabled.
- You will join the Collaborate virtual classroom – interact through video, audio and chat!
If joining from a mobile device, install the Blackboard Collaborate app and use your institution URL and credentials when prompted.
Interacting Within the Collaborate Session
Once successfully logged into a Collaborate session, you can actively participate using the available features:
- Communicate through speaker view video, audio and chat messaging.
- Answer polls, surveys and quizzes shared by the instructor.
- Join breakout groups for small group discussions/activities.
- Follow along using the interactive whiteboard and shared notes.
- Raise your hand or use emojis to provide feedback.
- Navigate uploaded PowerPoints and other content.
Make sure to engage fully just as during an in-person class. Follow any guidelines set by your instructor for virtual classroom rules and etiquette.
Technical Issues with Collaborate Access
If you encounter any technical problems joining or using Collaborate:
- Ensure all drivers are updated and browser settings are configured correctly.
- Test your equipment ahead of time during a practice session.
- Reload the session and re-test microphone/camera access.
- Contact UTSA tech support if issues persist.
- Notify your instructor immediately of any access problems on your end.
Troubleshooting early and often ensures you don’t miss out on the interactivity of live online learning.
Blackboard Collaborate facilitates ongoing, engaging communication between remote instructors and students. Learning how to reliably access these virtual live classes from your Blackboard course sites is a key skill for online academic success.