Blackboard Collaborate (formerly
Elluminate) is an online conferencing tool
available in Blackboard.
The session is set up by an instructor,
presenter or other moderator and
students/participants can log in through
Blackboard, dial-in, or access the session
via URL link.
Once logged in, the participant can
communicate with the moderator and/or
other participants via type-chat,
microphone, and video.
The session can be recorded and
viewed in a variety of formats after the
session for anyone that couldn’t attend
the live version.
The program opens to a window like the one above. Everything
is laid out in plain view. As the moderator, you have access to
more tools and presentation options.
Their website has many tutorials and videos: http://
The following is a video tutorial for Blackboard
Collaborate participants: http://
For the most part, Blackboard
Collaborate is used at colleges using the
Instructors use the program for weekly
meetings, study sessions, and individual
For tutoring and general Q&A sessions,
most moderators use the main screen.
There are options to load PowerPoint
Presentations, view documents, and even
open up web pages.
The moderator can withhold options from
participants during these times.
I have used it in lecture settings for online
courses, presenting to students and
clarifying difficult topics.
In addition, I have used the program to
run professional development sessions for
remote instructors.This collaboration
connects people who may normally feel
Blackboard Collaborate is an extremely
useful tool in distance learning.
It connects faculty to faculty, students to
faculty and students to students.
The program has become increasingly
intuitive, which is great for adult
learners who may have trouble with new
The biggest weakness, that I have seen, is
the program’s large bandwidth needs.
This causes many people to become
disconnected during the sessions.
The need to download each individual
session can also cause problems.
Not having the right version of Firefox or
Java can also hinder the process.
Even with some of the technology issues,
I think this program is invaluable to
6 out of 7 of our instructors use the
program for weekly lectures.
Once our students are counseled on
troubleshooting, there are rarely repeat
Blackboard’s On-Demand website:
Blackboard training video:
Image from one of my sessions.