Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is 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 for small group collaboration
  • Polling to get real time feedback from your students
  • Attendance Reports
  • Diversified emojis


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 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 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.)

  • 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! Contact the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning for additional information and training schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is it possible to use Blackboard Collaborate in a Blackboard Organization/Community?
Yes, Blackboard Collaborate is available in all NIU Blackboard courses and communities. In the Ultra Course View, Blackboard Collaborate is in the left panel under Details & Actions. In the Original Course View, you can access Blackboard Collaborate from the Control Panel by clicking "Organization Tools" and then "Blackboard Collaborate".
Can I use Blackboard Collaborate with a guest speaker?
Yes you can! You can easily invite a guest speaker when you are creating the session. To do so, edit the Settings for a particular session and ensure that the Guest Access setting is checked. Copy the Guest Link and send it to your guest speaker. 

Technical Requirements and Support

Can I access Blackboard Collaborate sessions from my mobile device?

Yes, you can participate in Blackboard Collaborate sessions directly in the browser on your mobile device. Participants can join the session by clicking a guest link (such as in their email or on a website) or from a Blackboard course. Students can access the course from the Blackboard app for students or by logging into Blackboard in their mobile browser. 

At this time, the options for presenting on a mobile device are limited. You cannot share content, such as PowerPoint slides, or application share from a mobile device. 

My webcam or microphone won't work with Blackboard Collaborate. How do I give permission for Blackboard Collaborate to use my webcam and microphone?

Because Blackboard Collaborate runs entirely in your browser, you need to give permission for your web browser to use your webcam and microphone. Usually, you will be prompted to grant permission the first time you access Blackboard Collaborate on your computer. If you inadvertently blocked the request, you can clear your cache and launch the session again. Your browser should ask you for permission again.

You can also change the permissions in your browser without clearing your cache. Here are the steps to do so in each browser:

In addition you may need to allow permission in your operating system to use the webcam and microphone


How long are Collaborate recordings retained?New

According to the Recording Retention Guidelines, Collaborate recordings are retained for 6 months. After that time, most recordings are never viewed again. 

For longer-term storage and use, we recommend moving your recordings to Microsoft OneDrive (for archival retention) or to Kaltura (for recordings that will be played frequently). 

How do I access a recording?

To access a recording:

  1. Go to Collaborate in your Blackboard course
  2. Click the menu in the upper left (three parallel lines) and click Recordings
  3. Use the Filter by menu on the right to view recent recordings (from the last 30 days) or recordings in a date range
  4. When you have found the appropriate recording, click on the name and select Watch now

click the menu in the upper left to access recordings

How do I download a recording?New

To download a recording:

  1. Access Blackboard Collaborate in a course
  2. Click to open the menu (three parallel lines in the upper left, above the course room)
  3. Click Recordings
  4. Find the appropriate recording by using the Filter by options on the right to view recent recordings (from the last 30 days) or recordings in a date range
  5. Click the Recording Menu at the far right (three dots in a circle) and select Download

The recording will automatically download to your computer in an .mp4 format.

Login to Blackboard

Get Help

Technical Support and Student Help

Division of IT Service Desk


Teaching Support and Faculty Help

Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning


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