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Student Digital Skills Hub

Blackboard Collaborate: Collaborate Interface

Collaborate Interface and Features 

There are a number of Interactive features that can be used depending on the nature of the session using Collaborate.


1. Main content display area

2. Collaborate right panel

3. Collaborate Tools

4. Session Menu

5. Leave Session

6. Text Chat

7. Session Attendees

8. Sharing Content

9. Settings e.g. audio/video. adjust notifications

10. My Status settings

11. Microphone Audio (Mute/Unmute) 

12. Camera (Enabled/Disabled)

13. Raise Hand

Note, options are based on session set-up e.g. a 'polling icon' appears if being used.

Find out more about some of these features below:

There are a number of interactive methods depending on the context of the session. Your lecturer may provide a ‘poll’ which you can take part in – polls are either ‘multiple choice’ or ‘yes/no’ choices. An additional icon appears when polling is being used, A Lecturers can choose to utilise a poll if suitable for the session. Results of the poll can then be presented for all to view. Note, no-one gets to view what anyone has chosen, you just get to view the overall results when shared.

Use the Raise Hand button if you want to ask a question at any point during the lecture.

In the Attendees Panel, a figure with raised hand appears to the left of the participant name.

If several participants have their hands raised at the same time, those who raised their hands first are moved to the top of the participants list in the Attendees Panel.

The My Status and Settings options provide several useful ways of communicating to your tutor and fellow participants :

  • Away - Indicate you are temporarily ‘Away’
  • Feedback - ‘Happy’, ‘Surprised’, ‘Slower’ etc
  • Vote/Poll - ‘Agree’, ‘Disagree’
  • Feedback available: happy, sad, surprised, confused, faster, slower (Feedback (e.g. ‘Happy’) shows up in the attendees list)
  • Use Agree/Disagree to quickly poll or provide feedback if part of the session

To display the Chat Panel, select the Chat tab at the bottom of the Collaborate panel.

To send a chat message to everyone in the session, select the Everyone option.

A chat box will then appear at the bottom of the right-hand panel. To send a message, type your text into the chat box and press ‘return’.

By default, students or other participants are not normally able to upload their own powerpoints or other resources for display in Collaborate Ultra.

However, if you tutor has enabled the Share Contents feature for you, you may upload a powerpoint or share other content as follows:

  • Select the Share Contents tab

The Share Content panel then permits presenters to upload files, eg Powerpoint presentations, so that everyone present can view them.

  • To share a file, for example, a PowerPoint, select Share Files.

The settings you can change during a session are audio and video settings, notification settings or session settings. Use the arrows to open each set. Use the sliders to make the adjustments where required.

In a session your lecturer can create group break out rooms. In these online breakout rooms you can do the following as per the features described in this guide:

  • chat
  • share video
  • share files
  • share screens
  • use a shared whiteboard
  • use the polling function
  • use the text-based chat function

Note that this is all discrete within their group away from the main room and other groups, although moderators can go into any of the groups. You will be able to view who is in your group. Once you enter your group you can always go back to the ‘main room’ (everyone) from a link in the panel which will appear if breakouts rooms are set up. The following screen will be displayed when your lecturer starts ‘Breakout groups’: