Blackboard Collaborate Best Practices and Recommendations

For the Instructor

A. Use either Google Chrome or Firefox for a much better experience

B. Figure out your audience. As instructor you have control over which features are available within a session.

i. Is the session a one-on-one remedial with a course student or a meeting of the entire course, or a virtual section group meeting?

C. Determine interactive feature availability (will students share their video & audio, or audio only, or do you prefer to only have them chat.)

i. The answer depends on the number of participants, the goal of the session, and technical factors (do all your participants even have cameras and mics)

D. Include the session link as well as the student “Collaborate Help” link when sending invites/announcements about a session.

i. (a RIC specific help link is probably better in our opinion)

E. The “Audio Test” in collaborate is only for outgoing sound (mic). It does not reveal an error in *receiving* sound from the session. As a result, best practice is for the instructor to keep their mic ON as participants enter the session, and watch the participant list and verbally greet each participant. This helps to discover audio receiving problems.

F. Once all participants have joined, ask all participants to give a thumbs up emoticon or chat response to confirm they are actually hearing you. This double-checks audio and also gives students a chance to try using the “feedback” tool in the session.

G. Use the “Share Files” option rather than the “Shared Application” option when you want to share a PowerPoint or PDF file with your students.

i. Pre-load any PowerPoints or presentations (multimedia files are not supported, only image, PowerPoint, and PDF)

H. Plan on using your desktop or laptop to manage a session and not the mobile app (Bb Instructor).

I. Instructors should use headsets or a pair of earbuds before they have conversations so that they don’t have feedback.

For the Students

A. Use either Google Chrome or Firefox for a much better experience

B. Have students go through the audio/video setup test and testing any other features to be used. Some browsers will prompt for permission to access mic and camera hardware. If guest moderators will be involved, have them enter the session early so you can promote them to the “moderator” role ahead of time.

C. At the beginning of the session, have all student audio muted by default in the Session Preferences. You can grant participants audio control after you start, or leave it of if for example you want to hold all verbal audio questions until the end of the session.

For a Guest

A. Ensure that participants enter with unique names, to avoid “Guest 1, Guest 2”. Have them leave and re-enter if they forget?

Recommendations for the Students

We recommend you alert students to the best practices for Collaborate session performance, these are good especially if students are connecting from shared family home networks.

  • Close all programs on your computer except for the browser you are using for your Collaborate session.
  • Use a hard-wired (Ethernet) connection, if available. If not available, use a Wifi connection.
  • Only use up-to-date Internet browsers that are supported by Blackboard Collaborate(,
  • Use video during the session only when necessary.

The Blackboard help page on low bandwidth has good info for Instructors. (


Article ID: 100490
Tue 3/10/20 11:07 AM
Tue 3/10/20 11:32 AM