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Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing

**NEW** Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is now available for all faculty and staff at NIU! Collaborate has been completely redesigned to make anytime synchronous collaboration simpler, more reliable, and more enjoyable with exciting new features like:

  • Brand-new architecture that runs directly in a browser - no need for Java!
  • A modern aesthetic and streamlined interface
  • HD audio and video
  • Personalized participant profiles
  • Quick & easy file and application sharing
  • Easy guest access for guest presenters or participants from outside NIU 
  • Mobile access to live sessions and recordings via the Bb Student app (mobile presenting coming soon!) 
  • Instant and convenient text chat
  • Live closed captioning (with a captioner)
  • Integrated telephony for listening/speaking via a telephone
  • Breakout rooms (coming late summer 2016)


Blackboard Collaborate is a comprehensive online learning and collaboration tool designed specifically for education. It is already part of your Blackboard Courses and Communities at NIU. Faculty and staff can create live sessions easily and free-of-charge, to facilitate engagement and interaction for teaching, learning, and other purposes. 

Blackboard Collaborate helps you to create virtual classrooms, offices and meeting spaces that open more possibilities for effective learning experiences and interactions for online, blended, and mobile learning. It helps to open up all-new aspects of real-time learning to engage more faculty, staff, students and guests. 

For first-time users, Collaborate provides an in-session set up wizard, so that you can ensure your speakers, microphone and camera are set up and ready for you to get started.

For Teaching

faculty member leading a web conferencing session
  • Faculty can schedule and deliver live classes using Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing. Capabilities include high-quality audio, multi-user video, integrated teleconferencing, PowerPoint import, shared whiteboard, public/private chat, breakout rooms, application/desktop sharing, guest participation, and more.
  • View participation reports to determine who attended the session, and for how long.
  • View recordings online or download in the MP4 format (for storage, or hosting on another video platform, like YouTube or Helix Media Library).

For Learning

students collaborating around a laptop
  • Students can access Blackboard Collaborate sessions and record directly from within a Blackboard Course, for a great user experience every time.
  • Join live classes and meetings on the go from mobile devices or tablets.
  • Collaborate with classmates via Blackboard Collaborate for more convenient team or group projects.

For Non-Instructional Web Conferencing (Training, Committees, Meetings, etc.)

faculty holding a meeting via web conferencing
  • Conduct live skill development and training sessions for faculty, staff, and students. 
  • Record training sessions for on-demand viewing anytime, anywhere. 
  • Schedule online interviews for search committees to see candidates, instead of phone interviews. Decrease expenses related to on-campus interviews by identifying the strongest candidates and bringing fewer candidates to campus. 
  • Feature guest speakers in live presentations or professional development offerings, without the travel expense. 
  • Organize synchronous sessions on research and scholarly activities with collaborators outside NIU. 

The possibilities for live online collaboration and communication are endless! Check the information below or contact the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center for additional information and training schedule.