Bb Collaborate

Mobile Supported

Bb Collaborate is a synchronous communications tool that can facilitate communication and collaboration between staff and students.

Note to eLive users: Refer to the Factsheet (PDF, 629.8 KB) to see the differences between eLive and Bb Collaborate and how to download eLive recordings.

Bb Collaborate allows you to:

  • talk online in real time
  • chat via text online
  • share videos, presentations and applications.

Conditions of Use

Bb Collaborate is an externally hosted platform for on-line learning and collaboration. When you use Bb Collaborate your information, including any personal information you provide, will be disclosed to Bb Collaborate to be stored in its datacentres around the world. This will include your image, voice, or identifying information in readable format (Personal Information).

When you upload information to Bb Collaborate you are consenting to any Personal Information you include being disclosed to Bb Collaborate.

Bb Collaborate’s datacentres may be located in countries which do not have privacy protections comparable to that in place in Victoria. In particular, you may have no right of redress for an interference with your privacy committed overseas and the datacentre may be subject to a foreign law that compels the disclosure of Personal Information to a third party (e.g. a government or law enforcement authority).

You are responsible for Personal Information that you post to Bb Collaborate. Posting refers to making files, texts, chats, audio, video or any other form of data available on Bb Collaborate including by way of uploading or direct recording. You must remember that Personal Information that identifies you or another individual will be viewed by other users, and may be collected and used by other users of the site. It may also be accessed by administrators and technical support staff employed or engaged by Deakin or by Blackboard. Please exercise caution in posting Personal Information.

You must not post Personal Information about another person (including, without limitation, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, photographs or recordings of individuals) without their consent.

You are encouraged to review Blackboard Collaborate’s privacy policy at

Note: This usage disclaimer will appear every 120 days.


In order to use the accessibility features in Bb Collaborate, you must meet the following system requirements:

  • Java 7 Update 6 and later
  • Bb Collaborate has been fully tested with JAWS 14 and JAWS 13. Older versions of JAWS may work but have not been tested.
  • The Java Access Bridge is a technology that allows assistive technologies (such as screen readers, magnifiers, etc.) to access Java applications and applets, including Bb Collaborate products. Bb Collaborate supports the Java Access Bridge 2.0.3. Please refer to How to enable the Java Access Bridge 2.0.3 in Java 7 for more information.

For more information about Accessibility in Bb Collaborate refer to the Accessibility Guide for Moderators.

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First time users

Before you participate in your first Bb Collaborate session it is vital that you work through the set-up guidelines at least 24 hours before the session. This allows time to resolve any technical issues and ensures that you can participate in the session.

Note: If you switch to a new computer or another computer, be sure to work through the set-up guidelines again on that computer.

The online environment is great for 'networking' and getting to know one another, and the rules of common courtesy or 'netiquette' apply here as they do in any classroom or public area.

If you are having difficulties setting-up your microphone, speakers, or headset, contact the IT Service Desk.

Step 1: Set up your computer

Note to users who use Mac OS X 10.8.4 and later systems

The first time that a .collab file is to be sent to a user, the system will present a dialog that instructs users to download the Bb Collaborate Launcher (60MB) so that you can join a Bb Collaborate web conferencing session. As the Bb Collaborate Launcher provides the Java program needed to participate in Bb Collaborate web conferencing sessions, Mac users no longer need to install and maintain the system version of Java.

The Launcher is now rolled out to all Deakin Mac OS X 10.8.4.

  1. Ensure your computer meets the recommended computer standards, your computer is connected to the Internet and has a stable, reliable connection.
  2. To check if you have Java installed, go to

You should see the green tick to indicate you have Java.

If you see the red cross to indicate you do not have Java installed, download and install the Java Web Start (JWS) software from the Deakin University Software site.

Step 2: Set up your microphone and speakers

For a better audio signal, we recommend using an external microphone and external speakers. Common PC microphones do not work in a Mac microphone jack, so USB microphones are preferred. You can get headsets from any store selling electronic or audio visual equipment.

Step 3: Test your hardware

To configure your hardware before entering a session:

  1. Go to the Configuration Room.
  2. If you are prompted to open or save meeting.jnlp file, click Open.
  3. Then click OK.

    Note: The first time you launch Bb Collaborate, it will take several minutes (depending on modem speed) to download the required Java files. (This is a once only download - these files are stored permanently on your hard drive).

  4. You will be prompted to set your Connection Speed:
    • inside the Deakin network choose "LAN"
    • if outside, choose the appropriate connection speed.
  5. The application will now take you through how to test your audio. Please follow the online instructions.
  6. Once you have finished, close the window - you will be disconnected from the configuration session.

Create and access

Create and access Bb Collaborate

Create a session within CloudDeakin

  1. Login to CloudDeakin and select the appropriate unit site.
  2. Click the Resources link in the Site Navbar.
  3. Go to an existing module.
  4. Click Add Existing Activities and select Additional Applications.
  5. From the pop-up window, select Bb Collaborate.
  6. Click on the link that you have just created.
  7. Click on the Create Session link to create a new session.
  8. Type in a Session Name. Please use the following naming conventions.
    • For unit sites: Year (space) Trimester (space) Unit Code (space) Context/purpose e.g. 2014 T2 SEPXXX Revision Seminars or 2014 T2 SEPXXX project meeting
    • For course/non-unit sites: Faculty (space) Name of the course/non-unit site (space) Other information re context/purpose if necessary e.g. SEBE Information Technology Course Hub or SEBE Life & Environmental Sciences (Honours Programs) 2014
    • For other purposes: Faculty (space) Context/purpose e.g. SEBE CloudDeakin Support Team meeting or SEBE Bb Collaborate Training
  9. Select a Start Date and Time and End Date and Time.
    Note: If you plan to use Bb Collaborate throughout the trimester, schedule the session from the beginning of trimester to the end of trimester so that you can reuse the session. 
  10. You can leave the default at 30 minutes for Early Entry to allow participants to access the session early.
  11. Click on the Options tab.
  12. If you wish to supervise the session, tick the box next to Private chat messages are supervised.
  13. If you want to record your sessions automatically, change the Recording Mode to Automatic. (Alternatively, you can record the session manually when the session commences).
    Note: It is good idea to ask permissions before you record the session.
  14. Then, click on Create Sessions.
  15. If you wish to invite participants who are not enrolled in your unit (Deakin or non-Deakin user) to your session, you must provide them with the guest link. Click on Show to see the guest URL. They will be assigned the role of participants when they first log in to a session, but can be promoted to the role of moderator during the session.

Access a session

  1. Log in to CloudDeakin and select the appropriate unit site.
  2. Click on the Resources link on the navigation bar.
  3. Go to the module where the Bb Collaborate link is created.
    Note: You're required to accept the Disclaimer. This Disclaimer will appear every 120 days. 
  4. Click the Join button Blackboard Collaborate Join.
  5. A File Download dialog box will appear asking if you would like to Open or Save the file. Click on the Open button.
    Note: For Mac OS X 10.8.4 and later users, ensure that you open the .collab file with Bb Collaborate Launcher.
  6. When joining a Bb Collaborate session for the first time you may see a security dialog box asking to confirm the application's digital signature. Click Run to continue.
  7. The Bb Collaborate session will open.
  8. Your name, along with other participants/moderators, will be listed in the Participants window.

Edit session details

  1. Login to CloudDeakin and select your site offering.
  2. Click on the Resources link on the navigation bar.
  3. Go to the module where the Bb Collaborate link is created and click on the link.
  4. Click on the title of session to edit the session details.
  5. From the pop-up dialog box, click on Edit Session.
  6. Once you've updated the details, click the Save Session button.

As a Moderator

Use Bb Collaborate as a Moderator

In a Bb Collaborate session, staff are moderators and students are participants by default. The following is the guide to using Bb Collaborate as a moderator. Also see the Student Help Guide on using Bb Collaborate as a participant.

Record a session

As a moderator, you can start or stop recording your session at any time during the session. In the recording, all activity in the main room during the session will be recorded. This means that all audio, public text messages, whiteboard content, application sharing, quizzes, multimedia, file sharing and video broadcasting will be captured in the recording and played back as the session occurred.

To begin or resume recording

  1. Click on the Record button at the top right of the window. You can do this at any time during the session.
  2. Click OK to confirm that you wish to record your session. When the recorder starts, the Recording icon will appear indicating to everyone that the session is being recorded and a voice message will indicate recording has started.
  3. Note: Some sessions may have been set to record automatically. In this case you cannot stop, erase or restart the recording.

Stop and pause a recording

  • Click on the Recording button. You can do this at any time during the session.

To retrieve a recording

  1. Login to CloudDeakin and select the relevant unit site.
  2. Click on the Resources link on the navigation bar.
  3. Go to the module where Bb Collaborate link is created and click on the link.
  4.  Click on Recordings tab.
  5. You will see all your recordings.

Convert recordings to MP3 or MP4 format

  1. Click on the Recordings tab.
  2. Click on the recording which you wish to convert.
  3. From the summary window, click on Start Conversion.
    Notes: The conversion will take a while to process. When this is completed, you will see the icons to play MP3 or MP4 beside the recording's name.

Audio & Video panel

The Audio panel lets you participate in conversations during the session.

Set the number of simultaneous talkers

  1. Go to the Tools menu at the top of the window and select Audio.
  2. Click on Maximum Simultaneous Talkers....
  3. Select the number of simultaneous talkers you wish to allow (the maximum is six).
  4. Click OK.

Release the microphone of a participant

There may be times when a participant or moderator has forgotten to release the Talk button for their microphone. As a moderator, you can release the Talk button on their behalf.

  1. To release the Talk button, hover your mouse over the participant's name in the Participants panel.
  2. Click on the Talking icon to revoke the participant's permission to talk. The microphone icon will have a red cross.
  3. Click on the microphone icon with red cross to allow the participant to use the Talk button again.

Select an audio input device

  1. Go to the Tools menu at the top of the window and select Audio.
  2. Click on Select Microphone Settings.
  3. The Preferences window appears. From the list, select the audio input line.
  4. Click on OK to save the changes.

Select an audio output device

  1. Go to the Tools menu at the top of the window and select Audio.
  2. Click on Select Speaker Settings.
  3. The Preferences window appears. From the list, select the audio output line.
  4. Click on OK to save the changes.

Chat panel

The chat panel is where you can send and receive text messages.

Send a chat message

The chat window is where you can send and receive chat messages. You can send your message to everyone in the session (All), just other moderators, an individual participant or several participants.

Note: Be aware that in a supervised session Blackboard Collaborate Chat Supervised, moderators can see all the messages, including private messages that participants send to each other. However, when a session is recorded, only the public messages are captured.

To send to all participants (public):
  1. Ensure that you're in the Room tab.
  2. Type your message in the message text field.
  3. Press Enter key in your keyboard to send.
  4. The message will then appear in the conversation area.
To send to all moderators:
  1. Ensure that you are in the Moderators tab.
  2. Type your message in the message text field.
  3. Press Enter key in your keyboard to send.
  4. The message will then appear in the conversation area.
To send to a selected group of participants (private):
  1. Click on the name(s) of the intended recipient(s) in the Participants panel (use Ctrl+Click to select multiples).
  2. Right mouse click (Ctrl+Click on Mac) on the highlighted names to open the Participants Option menu and then select Send a Private Chat.
  3. Type your message in the message text field.
  4. Press Enter key in your keyboard to send.
  5. A new conversation tab will open in your Chat panel and the recipient's Chat panel.

Send a message as announcement

  1. From the Chat option menu Blackboard Collaborate Chat option, click on the Send Announcement.
  2. Type your message in the message text field.
  3. If you want to send the Announcement to all rooms (Main room and breakout rooms), select the option Send to all rooms.
  4. Click Send.
  5. The message will appear to the recipients in both their conversation area and as a pop-up message.

Save chat messages to a file

You can save the chat messages to a text file to review at a later time.

  1. Go to the File menu at the top of the window and select Save.
  2. Click on Chat ....
  3. In the pop-up window, type in a file name and select the location to where you wish to save the file.
  4. Click Save. The suffix .txt will be added to the file name.

Note: You can use Notepad, WordPad or any word processing application to read the text file. You cannot load the file back into the Chat panel of the Bb Collaborate session.

Participants panel

The Participants panel provides a list of all participants in the session. It indicates when participants have control of the microphone, or are using features such as the chat, whiteboard, etc. This is also where for example you can give or take moderator privileges, remove participants, see when participants are experiencing lag, view polling responses, lower participants' hands once they have spoken, disable features if necessary, send participants to breakout rooms and bring them back.

View participant activity

In the Participants panel you will often see various icons next to participants' and moderators' names to indicate which participants/moderators are using the microphone, typing messages, using the whiteboard, using the video camera feature and so on.

For example, you will know someone has their microphone turned on when the blue Audio Blackboard Collaborate Talk activity indicator appears next to their name in the Participants list. While someone is typing a chat message, the blue Chat Blackboard Collaborate Chat activity indicator appears next to their name.

Experience delay

When you are speaking, you may notice in the Participants panel that some participants have red or orange markers next to their microphone icons. This means that they are experiencing a delay in receiving their audio.

  • Orange: the participant is experiencing delays in the audio stream.
  • Red: the participant is experiencing significant delays in the audio stream.

When others are experiencing Audio delays, moderators can continue to talk. Bb Collaborate will buffer the audio for those who have fallen behind and ensure they are caught up to real-time. As they are catching up, they may hear the Audio in an accelerated "chipmunk" form until the backlog is cleared.

Global permissions

The Global permissions Blackboard Collaborate Global Permissions are displayed at the top of the Participants list.

To grant or revoke permissions for all participants, click on the icon of the desired permissions at the top of the Participants panel.

Give and take moderator access

You may wish to give moderator privileges to one or more of the participants during your session while still maintaining your own moderator access. You can do this at any time during the session.

Once you give a participant moderator privileges, they will have the ability to perform the same functions during the session that you have as the original moderator, such as to upload PowerPoint files and record sessions.

To give moderator access:
  1. Select then right-click (Ctrl + click on a Mac) on the participant's name in the Participants window and select Give Moderator Privilege.
  2. When asked if you are sure you want to give moderator access to the participant, click Yes.
  3. The Participants window will be updated so that everyone in the session can see the change.
To take moderator access:

At any time, you can take moderator privileges from a participant you promoted earlier.

  1. Select then right-click (Ctrl + click on a Mac) on the participant's name in the Participants window and select Take Away Moderator Privilege.
  2. The moderator will now become a participant. The Participants window will be updated to reflect this change.

Remove participants

Highlight then right-click (Ctrl + click on a Mac) on a participant's name in the Participants panel. Select Remove Participant.

Hand-raising indicators

Each time a person raises their hand, a number (1, 2, 3 etc.) will appear in the Hands Raised column to the left of their name. The number represents the order in which the hands were raised.

To lower a participant's hand:
  1. Click on the name of the participant in the Participants panel.
  2. Right mouse click (Ctrl+Click on Mac) on the highlighted names to open the Participants Option menu and then select Lower Hand.
  3. When a hand is lowered, the number is removed from the hand column and the queue is reordered.
As a moderator, you can also raise your hand during a session:
  1. To raise your hand, click on the Blackboard Collaborate Hand Raise button.
  2. To lower your hand, click on the Blackboard Collaborate Raised Hand button.

Use the polling feature

You may wish to ask participants to respond to a question using the polling feature. Participants will be able to respond to your questions by clicking on the available response buttons on their toolbar. The responses will be visible to you in the Polling Response bar in the Participants window.

By default, the Yes/No poll is available when you first join the session. You may change the type of poll at any time to multiple choice responses. The header of the polling column will change depending on the type of poll selected.

To select another type of polling:
  1. Go to the Tools menu at the top of the window. 
  2. Select Polling then select Polling Type.
  3. Click on type of poll you wish to display.
To hide polling responses:

By default, everyone can see the polling responses of others.

  1. If you wish to hide the polling responses from the participants, click on Tools menu at the top of the window.
  2.  Select Polling and deselect Make Responses Visible.
To Publish Responses to Whiteboard:

At any time during a session, you can display a summary of the polling response to Whiteboard.

  1. Go to the Tools menu at the top of the window and select Polling.
  2. Click on Publish Responses to Whiteboard. The Polling Statistics window appears.


The Whiteboard is the main presentation window. Moderators use this region to load presentations. Moderators and participants can also use the tools on the Whiteboard to draw, write or insert icons and images.

Load a PowerPoint presentation to the Whiteboard

Note: To load a PowerPoint presentation, you must have Moderator access. Your PowerPoint file must not exceed 20 megabytes. Refer to Application sharing if your PowerPoint file is huge.

  1. Click on the Load Content button in the top left of the whiteboard window.
    Note: You must close your Microsoft PowerPoint application or else you will receive error message.
  2. Locate the file you wish to import, and select it. The file name will appear in the File Name: text box. Click Open.
    Note: This might take a while depending on the number of slides you have and please do not try to interrupt the process.
  3. The presentation will now be loaded and each slide in the presentation or image will be loaded onto a separate whiteboard screen as a background image.

Application sharing

You can share a file (e.g. MS Word or Excel) or any other application (e.g. a website) on your computer with other participants. The file or application must be open and maximised before it will be available to share. Application sharing is useful for demonstrating how to use an application or working collaboratively.

To share a file or application

  1. Click on the Application Sharing icon Blackboard Collaborate Application Sharing in the menu above the Whiteboard.
  2. Click on OK on the Elevated Privileges pop-up.
  3. Click on the application you wish to share.
    Note: You need to ensure that your application window is maximised.
  4. Click Share.
  5. On the Hosting Notification pop-up message, click on OK.
    Note: You will notice your shared application will have a yellow border around it.

Preview shared applications

You can view what the participants are seeing on their whiteboards while you are application sharing.

  1. From the Tools menu and select Application Sharing.
  2. Then, click on Show Preview Window. A small preview window will appear on your screen.

To give control

When sharing an application, the person who shares the application can give and take control of their desktop or shared application to another participant or moderator. By giving control of an application to a participant, they will then be able to manipulate what has been shared in the Application Sharing window.

  1. In the Participants panel, click on the name of the participant to whom you wish to give control, to select that person.
  2. Right-click (Ctrl + click on a Mac) on the participant's name. Select Give Control of Shared Applications.
  3. When prompted for confirmation, click OK.

To take away control

  1. In the Participants panel, click on the name of the participant who has control of the application(s), to select that person.
  2. Right-click on the name (Ctrl + click on a Mac) and select Take Away Control of Shared Applications.

To stop sharing a file or application

  1. Click on the Stop Sharing button Blackboard Collaborate Stop Sharing in the Action bar.

Breakout rooms

A breakout room has the same features as the main room and can be used to facilitate small group activities or private sessions. Breakout rooms have their own private audio, whiteboard, application sharing, video, polling, etc. What is said or viewed in a breakout room will not be captured in a recording.

Moderators can create breakout rooms at any time during the session and move participants between rooms. There is no limit to the number of breakout rooms or the number of participants in each room.

Create Breakout rooms

  1. From the Tools menu, select Breakout Rooms, and then choose Create Breakout Rooms....
  2. Enter a name for the breakout room.
  3. Enter a total number of rooms you want to create.
  4. Select one of the Distribution Options.
  5. If you wish to include the Moderators in the distribution, select the option Include moderators in the distribution.
  6. Click Create.

Moving participants into Breakout rooms

  1. In the Participants panel, select the participants you wish to move to a room by clicking on their names (use Ctrl+Click to select multiples).
  2. Right-click (Control-click on Mac) on the name(s) in the Participants list and select Send to Breakout Roomand then the desired room from the list of available rooms.
    Note: When you wish to return all the participants to the main room, click on Main Room button in the Participants panel and select Return Everyone to Main Room.

Multimedia Library

Multimedia Library can be used to incorporate rich multimedia content into your session. It support formats such as Flash, MPEG, QuickTime, MPEG4, WMV and MP3. The maximum file size supported is 100MB.

  1. Go to Window -> Show Multimedia Library.
  2. Click on Load a multimedia file button.
  3. Select your multimedia file and click on Open.
  4. The file will load to the server. When the status indicator reaches 100%, the file is fully uploaded to the server.

Note: To play the multimedia file, select the file from the list and then click the Play the selected media file button.

Exit the session

When the session has finished, click on the Close button in the main window.

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