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Welcome to Collaborate!

If you’re using Blackboard Collaborate for a course you might have quite a few questions about your first session. The information below will guide you through what you need to do before, during, and after your first session. Note that this is general information and that your professor may have other specific instructions.

 

Before You Attend Your Class:

It’s very important to test out your computer and practice with Collaborate before your first real session. Follow the steps below to accomplish those tasks.

  1. Visit GHC’s Collaborate Help Page. This webpage will give you more information about Collaborate, a list of training resources, and an FAQ. This Quick Start Guide is especially helpful. You may want to print it or have it open on your computer during your first real class session.

  2. Make sure you are at the computer that you will be using for your class sessions.This is an important first step! Since different computers have different operating systems, hardware, and software, Collaborate may not work the same way on another computer.

  3. Plug in any microphones, headsets, cameras, or external speakers you will be using. You may or may not need to do this step - this depends on you computer and your personal preferences. Make sure to use hardware that you’ll be using during your real session.

  4. Visit the practice room. We’ve set this room up for you to test your system, sound, and video. To get to the room, simply click on this text. After clicking, go through the steps below. Note that this is not your professor’s Collaborate class - instead this is just a place to practice. Important: If you can not get into the practice room at all, this probably means that your version of Java is out of date. To get the most updated version of Java, either 1) run your System Updates or 2) visit the Java Download page.

  • Enter your name. The first thing you’ll see when you click on the link is a box asking for your name. You do not need a login or password for Collaborate - you just need to put your real name in this box.

  • A small file will download to your computer. For most Windows and Mac users, Collaborate will then begin to open automatically. If it does not, locate the file on your computer in the place where downloads are stored and click on it. The file will be called “meeting.jnlp”.

  • When Collaborate begins opening it will ask you a series of questions. What you see depends on 1) what operating system you are using and 2) what browser you are using. In general, here is what you will see:

Your computer may ask you if you’re sure you want to open a downloaded file. Click Open.




 

Next, you’ll probably see the following pop-up asking if you want to let Collaborate run. Click Run.

 

 

Finally, Collaborate will ask about your connection speed. Click Ok since Collaborate automatically detects your speed.


While Collaborate is thinking, you’ll see the box below. The 5 circles indicate how far along Collaborate is in the loading process. This process usually takes just a few seconds but can take up to a couple of minutes depending on 1) your connection speed and 2) how many applications you have open.

 

 

Success! You are inside of the Collaborate Practice Room. Now it's time to test out the features in Collaborate.

 

 

Click the image above to view a larger version.

  • Test out the features in Collaborate.

    • Test your sound and microphone. To test these features, click the Audio Setup Wizard icon. This icon looks like a little microphone with a red gear and appears on the Audio & Video panel in the top right corner of the room. Follow the directions in the setup Wizard to test your speakers and microphone. If everything is ok, this means that your sound and microphone should work fine during your first real class session. If you can not 1) hear the recorded speaker or 2) hear the message your recorded, try restarting Collaborate.

    • Test out your video. To test your video, click the Video option located next to Talk on the Audio & Video panel. Note that you can preview your video before going live by clicking on the magnifying glass. When you click on the little person icon to the left of this your video will be live. Because you are in a practice room, no one will be able to see you. To disable your video, just click the Video button again.

    • Test the chat box. The chat box is located in the lower left hand corner. Try sending a chat by typing in the box and then hitting enter on your keyboard. You can also test out the emoticons here as well by clicking on the light grey smiley face on the right side of the chat box.

    • Test out the whiteboard. The whiteboard is the large white space that fills most of the screen. To write or draw on this board, use the tools that appear on the left side of the whiteboard. To select a tool, click on it. The two most useful whiteboard tools are the typing tool and the pointer tool. The typing tool looks like a small “A” with a several lines next to it. The pointer tool looks like an arrow. The typing tool will allow you to draw a box on the board and then type inside of it. You can then highlight your text and format it using the options that appear. The pointer tool allows you to grab any objects on the board and 1) move,  2) edit, or 3) delete them.

    • Exit the session. Once you are done practicing with the Collaborate tools, exit the session by clicking on the “X” in the upper right hand corner.

 

 

During Your Collaborate Class:

 

 

It’s time for your first real session! To get into and participate in your session, follow the instructions below.

 

  1. Locate the link to Collaborate. Your professor will 1) email this link to your GHC student email and 2) place it on D2L. Once you locate the link, click on it. Collaborate will then open just as it did with the Practice Session. Because Collaborate takes a couple of minutes to open, it is a good idea to open Collaborate about 10-15 minutes early if possible. Very Important Note: You must attend Collaborate sessions live! If you do not you will be counted as absent.

  2. If you are in the class with the professor, turn the speaker volume all the way down. This prevents the comptuers from echoing off of each other. If you are in another GHC classroom without the professor it's best to use headphones for your sound. If you are at home, you don't need to worry about the volume.

  3. Run the Audio Setup Wizard. You did this in the Practice Room before but it’s always a good practice to run the Wizard every time you enter a session.

  4. Interact. Your professor will expect you to interact with the class in different ways. This may include chatting, using the whiteboard, talking, or using video. Please note that your professor may record the session.

  5. Exit the session. It’s very important to exit Collaborate after your class is over. If you don’t, your professor’s class recording will not work.

After Your Session: 

  1. View Recording (if needed). A lot of professors record their Collaborate sessions. If your professor creates a recording, you need a link to get into it. Your professor will place this link in D2L. Most professors create 1 recording link a semester. If you click on it you should see a table with all class recordings listed in it. To view a recording, click on the purple Collaborate icon for the class that you want to watch.

  2. Troubleshoot Computer Problems. If you had any problems during your session 1) let your professor know and 2) begin troubleshooting your problems.

  • If you are using your own computer. Many fixes for common problems can be found in the Before You Attend Your Collaborate Class section above. If you don’t find a solution there, try the Collaborate Support Portal. Here you can look up answers to common questions and contact technical support 24/7. If none of these solutions help, contact your local I.T. office.

  • If you are using a GHC computer. Let your professor and I.T. know about the problem. It is not your responsibility to fix GHC computer problems. Note that I.T. may want you to show them the problem during your next class session.

 

 

Page last updated: August 19, 2013