Scheduling and setting up a Collaborate session in Blackboard

 

Navigate to the Blackboard module where you wish to create your Collaborate session. 

  1. Locate Control Panel | Course Tools and then select Blackboard Collaborate.
  2. This area is known as the Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager. Click Create Session from the Schedule a Session box at the top of the page.
    bbcollabcreate_Session
  3. You now have the opportunity to set some options for the session.
    • Session Name – The session name will always default to the name of the module. It is suggested that you change this to the name of the specific session you wish to run.
    • Start Time – Enter the start and finish for both date and time for the session.
    • Repeat – If you intend to regularly have these ‘synchronous classes’ for a period of time you do have the option to set these repeated sessions. Switching ‘Repeat’ to ON reveals further options to set this.
    • Set the repeat options as appropriate.

      bbcollabsession_repeat

      important Note: Please take care using the repeat feature so as not to end up with lots of sessions scheduled that you do not actually require.
    • Early session entry refers to the window of time before the scheduled start time, that a participant can enter the Collaborate session. We suggest that you set this to at least 30 minutes, to allow participants to make sure that things such as their audio settings are working correctly.

  4. Room Options – refers to further options for the session which can be set upon selecting the title headers:
    Please read ‘Hints & tips on the effective management of a Collaborative session‘ 
    • Session Type
      By default sessions (Course) are made accessible to all those enrolled on the module that you are scheduling the session in.

      However, you can share sessions across other modules that you have instructor access to. When you select the Shared option you can choose which modules you wish to give access to the scheduled session (you can add as many as you wish).

      shared2

      Having saved the additional courses list, a session will be added to the scheduled sessions list in all of the selected modules.

      shared3


      It is important to note that you will still need to add a link to these shared sessions in each of the modules in order for students to access the session. That is, unless you have created a Blackboard Collaborate tool link in the main navigation area of the modules.

      In practice, it is unlikely that this shared session approach will be necessary.


    • Teleconference Options
      You MUST NOT activate the Teleconference function – as any student who uses a phone to call in to a session will incur charges on their phone account. These charges are NOT covered by DMU. Please leave the default ‘Do not use teleconference’.
  5. Room Attributes

    bbcollabroom_attributes

    • Recording ModeCollaborate is NOT a tool for RECORDING presentations or lectures. If you want to do this please use the multimedia enhancement technologies
       
      You should check that the Collaborate Recording Mode is DISABLED in all of your Collaborate sessions. By default this is disabled. 
      importantPlease Note: It is advisable that the following message accompanies a Collaborate session link: Participants are prohibited from capturing (recording) this session, or any part of it on their own device, in the form of still images, audio or video.
    • Max Simultaneous Talkers refers to how many people can have an open microphone at the same time. If you are ever intending to “hand the floor” to any of your participants during a “normal teaching and learning” session, we would suggest having 2 (6 max). This is very dependent on the type of session and size of the cohort however the smaller the number in a larger cohort would work best, if cohort is small you may wish to allow more ‘talkers’.
    • Max Cameras refers to how many people can be broadcasting their web cam at the same time. If you are ever intending to “hand the floor” to any of your participants during a “normal teaching and learning” session, we would suggest 6 as maximum.
      importantPlease Note: Collaborate is only able to cope with a maximum of 6 (six) simultaneous video and 6 (six) simultaneous audio connections. Any more than this and the speed of the system will significantly slow down and impair the user experience.

       

    • View Private Messages setting relates to private messaging between participants. Setting this to ‘On’ allows moderators to view ‘Private Messages’. We would suggest that this be left to ‘Off’ so participants are not mislead that messages are private.

    • The All Permissions setting relates to what tools participants can use upon entry to the session. If this setting is set to ‘On’ participants can perform the actions listed below:

      • Broadcast their web cam
      • Broadcast their microphone
      • Use the text chat
      • Use the interactive white board

      Unfortunately the controls are not particularly granular, so you can either allow participants to do everything or nothing. If you are scheduling a large session we suggest that this setting be ‘Off’ as use of the tools (particularly the interactive white board) can get out of hand very quickly. If however you are arranging a session for a smaller group then switching it ‘On’ might be appropriate. Note however during the session you can grant or remove access to any of the tools as required.

    • Raise Hand on Entry  – If ticked ‘On’ as a participant enters the session the raise hand feature is activated. A number is placed in the “raise hand” column in the participant list to represent a queue of who raised their hand first. You may wish to leave this setting to  the default ‘Off’.

    • Allow In-Session Invitations  – You should check that the Allow In-Session Invitations is OFF in all of your Collaborate sessions. This feature allows moderators to send an invite from within the Collaborate session to participants. These can be to participants that don’t have access to the required Blackboard module . 

      importantYou MUST NOT invite non-DMU persons in to a Collaborate session. If it is essential for such guests to attend your session, please discuss this requirement with your Faculty ELT Project Officer first.

       

    • The same principle on the setting ‘Allow In -Sessions Invitations’ applies to this setting ‘Allow Guests’ – you should check that the Allow Guests function is ‘Off’ in all of your Collaborate sessions. (This setting allows you to invite participants to the session who do not have access to Blackboard).

    • Hide Names in Recordings allows moderators to anonymise recordings (participant names will be hidden). 

    • Preload Content – You can Preload content that is either automatically sent to participants when they join the live session or in the case of a “white board file” is loaded into the white board area. The file types are limited to those outlined.  

      If you wish to upload a Power Point you will need to first convert this file into a ‘White board file’ – [How do I do this? Blackboard_Collaborate_Uploading_PowerPoint_Presentations_into_LTI]


      Grade Center Integration

      Add a Grade Column – This option allows you to integrate the session with Blackboard’s GradeCenter. Collaborate has based this feature if used based on giving a mark to attendees  for simply ‘attending’ the session.

      If you wish to give a grade for attendance set this to ‘On’ and add a value in ‘Points’ or you can set this to ‘Off’.

      The basis of what you are marking/grading this upon needs to set by you if used. If you set this to ‘On’ and wish to give grades after the session has closed you can find out who attended with details of when an attendee joined and left the session and post the grade you set to all attendees.

      1. To do this you will have to go to the ‘Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager‘ –  this can be accessed through the Blackboard module Control Panel | Course Tools and select Blackboard Collaborate.
      2. Find the session in the list and select the downward chevron icon adjacent to the session name and the option ‘View Session Attendance‘. You will then be presented with a list of all those attended included you as a moderator.
      3.  In this view selecting  ‘Post Attendance to GradeCenter‘ which can be found on top right creates a Grade Center column in Grade Center and gives all participants the same ‘grade’. You can in Grade Center adjust grades if needed but note that if ‘Post Attendance to GradeCenter’ is re-selected it will override any grade adjustments made based on the original point value set.

        importantTo view an attendance list for any session you do not have to set the ‘Add a Grade Column’ to ‘On’ you can by following the steps outlined in 1-2 above for posting a grade for attendance still view an attendee list after the session has closed. 


        Roles and Access

        By default every one who is enrolled on the Blackboard module will have access to the session as a participant, you will be given a moderator role. Find out more here on Using the Collaborate interface for details on moderator and participant views/access.

        • All users join as moderators –  By default this is unchecked. If checked all participants who join the session will have moderator rights, if unchecked attendees will have the participant role.
        • Restrict access to this session – By default leaving this unchecked ensures all students as participants or attendees can access and enter the session. This option is available to be used if you wish to restrict access to the session, on selecting the ‘Add Participant’ link appears which on selecting you will need to search and select the students as appropriate.

          Please note if you have other colleagues enrolled on the module they are not automatically given a role of moderator. By default you (on setting up the session ) will be the moderator of the session. If you want to add colleagues enrolled on the module as a moderator you will need to select the ‘Add moderator’ link to search and select as appropriate.

  6. Click ‘Save’ to save your session.

    All collaborate sessions that you create will appear in this ‘Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager’. Having created your session you will need to consider how you will deploy your sessions within Blackboard. The following explanation on linking to your session in Blackboard shows you how to do this.


Linking to a Collaborate Session

There are two ways that you can make your scheduled session accessible to your students within your Blackboard module.

One method allows  you to add a Blackboard Collaborate course tool link within your Blackboard module course menu, or alternatively you can add a link to any content area within your Blackboard module. The benefits of the former make it easy for your students to access all scheduled Collaborate sessions in your module. However you do have the option to specifically link to a session in any content area in your course which may be preferable if more that one lecturer teaches on a module and you have structured your learning materials in a form where it makes sense to have specific session links.

To use the Blackboard Collaborate Tool link function:

1. Hover over the + above the main navigation menu and select Tool Link

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2. Give the link a name and select Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager from the drop down menu. Then make the link available to users.

collabtoollink

3. A link will appear in the main navigation menu

collabtoollink2

4. Clicking the link will open a list of scheduled session links which students can use to access sessions
NOTE: students will not be able to Create Sessions or Delete any of the scheduled sessions

collabtoollink3

 

To add a scheduled session link to a specific content area:

  1. Go to the Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager
  2. Locate the scheduled session that you wish to link to
  3. Select the downward chevron and the option Add Link. The ‘Add link to content area’ page will be displayed’.

    bbcollabaddlinkcontent

  4. In this page, you can:
  5. Reset the ‘Course Link Name’. 
    1. Content Area List ‘ Check’ the Content where the session is to be located under. This will usually appear as the last item in that area.
    2. There are some further course link options that you can set if you wish:
      • Details – You can further add a ‘Description’ and ‘Comment’ which will appear
      • ‘Required’ setting to On. This will flag the link to students as ‘Required’ rather than ‘Suggested’.
    3. Date Restrictions – You can further set date/time restrictions for setting when the session is ‘visible’ or just leave this blank and the session original time/date settings will prevail. 

Search Collaborated Sessions

All collaborated sessions created are accessible from the Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager, you will need to use the ‘Search’ criteria based on Start/End date. You will find setting back the Start Date that includes previously scheduled sessions will list previous session or your search date can be more specific. You can then if necessary check attendee lists etc by selecting the downward chevron as appropriate (only after the session has closed).

searchbbcollabsession

nextNEXT STEP: Launching a Collaborate session

 


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