Audio and Microphone

Here are a few top tips for ensuring that your browser/computer can access your audio and video devices for use in Blackboard Collaborate.

Ensuring Access in Google Chrome

The recommended browser for Blackboard Collaborate is Google Chrome, which requires permission to access your camera and microphone. If you are having issues with your audio/video in Chrome it could be that Chrome cannot ‘see’ your devices (e.g. microphone, headset, webcam) even though they are plugged in. If this is the case you may receive a message stating the following: It looks like we don’t have permission to access your microphone and camera. Check to see if your browser is asking for permission”.

Select the video icon in the URL (address) bar at the top of the Collaborate browser window to check that Chrome is ‘allowing to access your camera and microphone’. If not, ensure that this option is selected by clicking on the radio button to its left.

screen image highlighting the video icon in the address bar of the Collaborate browser window and the drop-down menu that appears to select relevant permissions.

From this menu you can also check/change which microphone and camera you are using by selecting from the drop-down options. Click on Done to confirm and return to Collaborate.

Checking your devices are installed (Windows)

Sometimes computers have multiple available inputs and outputs for audio/video. To check that you desired microphone/webcam is being used by your computer:

image of sound icon at the bottom right hand corner of a windows PC screen

Right click on the Sounds icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Select Sounds from the pop-up menu. Select the Playback tab for output devices (e.g. speakers, headsets) and Recording tab for input devices (e.g. microphones).

Screen image showing the playback tab in the sounds set up window

In your list of devices ensure that the one that you want to use is recognised as the Default Device and has a green tick next to it. If not, right-click the device name and choose Set as Default Device. Click Apply and then OK to finish.

Seminar Podium Set-Up

CCCU Seminar rooms all have a similar podium set-up.
Once logged in to the Podium PC

  • Navigate to the Blackboard site where the Collaborate session has been created
  • Select to ‘Join Session’
  • If prompted, allow Collaborate to use your microphone by selecting ‘Allow’
Screen image showing the pop up window requesting permission to use microphone
  • Select the CODEC audio input option from the drop-down menu:
Screen image of the drop-down menu offered in Collaborate on initial set up for audio test.
  • Check the purple sound bar is picking up audio
  • Click on Yes, Audio is working
  • Follow the same steps to enable your camera
  • Select the correct camera input from the drop-down menu, usually webcam
  • Once in the Collaborate room, both the microphone and camera will need to be switched ON before you can be seen or heard
Screen image showing the My Status, Microphone, Camera and Raise Hand icons available within a Collaborate session.

Collaborate Closed Captioning

Blackboard Collaborate does not currently have the automatic closed captioning feature, however, there is the opportunity to make an attendee a captioner. Captioners type what is being said during a session. Other attendees can view what is being typed in real time. You can have multiple captioners for multiple languages. More on live closed captioning.

Google Chrome can also provide users with automatic captions of videos that they watch, including Blackboard Collaborate sessions, however, they do not caption you as the user (your own speech is not detected, only incoming audio speech).  Google provide instructions on how to turn automatic captions on within their Chrome Help site.

Collaborate Recordings

It is possible to record your session delivered via Collaborate. However, as Collaborate currently does not have auto-captioning, we advise that you download the recording from Collaborate and then upload it to ReCap. Please see the video below to see how to do this.

A Note about Deleted Recordings: recordings deleted by instructors/moderators get fully wiped (“hard delete”) from the vendor’s servers (including chat, captions, etc …) 30 days after they have been deleted by the instructor/moderator. After those 30 days, support will not be able to restore the deleted recordings anymore.

Moving Media from Collaborate to ReCap

Direct Link:

Collaborate Training

Take part, engage and interact in web conferencing.  A real-time e-learning environment which allows users to communicate via audio, text chat, application sharing and a shared whiteboard.  This development session will demonstrate how you can: Set up your own Collaborate room, Upload content to the Collaborate room, and use the various tools and features.

Scheduled sessions are bookable via StaffSpace or you may opt for the self-directed training module on the HR & OD e-Learning portal.

  • Go to the HR&OD e-Learning portal
  • Select the ‘Access the e-learning portal’ link on that webpage
  • Next, select the ‘Dashboard’ drop-down from the top left corner of the screen and select ‘Catalogue’
  • Enter the name of the workshop in the search bar at the top of the screen, e.g. ‘Collaborate’
  • Select to ‘Enrol’

This on-line (small group) development session will provide you with a safe space to practice sharing your content, be it slides, videos, Mentimeter quiz or Padlet walls within a Collaborate session.

Scheduled sessions are bookable via StaffSpace

Any other Collaborate training requirements are available on request. Please email

Share Files in Collaborate

Upload GIF, JPEG and PNG images, PDF files, or non-animated PowerPoint presentations of 60MB or lower to your session.  You can upload multiple presentations, however the total size allowed is 125 MB or lower for any particular session.

NOTE: as of May 2022, session attendees can download, in PDF format, any full file (including annotations) or any whiteboard shared using a download icon in the top right of the session. Files uploaded from the Share File option can only be downloaded once shared.

This is to provide better accessibility assistance for attendees, such as those who use screenreaders, who need to have the file in a separate state (e.g. to make use of different magnification options), or those who need longer to view the content than it might be available on screen in the session.

If you don’t want attendees to download files, share a specific application or screen instead.

From the Share Content panel in your Collaborate session select Share Files:

Screen image showing the Share Files option in a Collaborate session.

Select Add Files or drag a file into the box to upload it.  Then select Share Now.

You can preload files for a session at the beginning of the week, or even at the start of the semester.  However, you will need to enter the session and load the files you want to share.  These files stay in the session until deleted by a moderator.  Load them once and reuse them as often as you want.

If you cannot join a session you want to upload files to, edit the session and change the date and time to start now, then upload the files.  Don’t forget to change the start date and time back to the original time.

You can choose to allow participants to mark up your shared file during a session.  See Share Blank Whiteboard section.  Go to My Settings [1]  and then select the Session Settings to make your choice.

When using PowerPoint

You can upload and share PowerPoint files directly in Collaborate or share the PowerPoint via Application/Screen.  Read below to decide which to use.

Share Files: For the best overall experience, use Share Files for non-animated PowerPoint slides.

  • When uploaded each slide is optimised so all attendees can view quality slides no matter their network connection.
  • With Share Files you can upload more than one presentation at any time to have ready for your session.
  • Uploaded files stay in the session until deleted by a moderator.  This makes it easier to return to a slide if you need to review.
  • When you upload your presentation, you can use the annotation tools with your slides.  See Share Blank Whiteboard section.
  • You can also choose to allow participants to use the annotation tools during a session.  See Share Blank Whiteboard section.
  • Screen reader users can access text from PowerPoint and PDF files shared in the session.  This provides an easy way to follow along as slides change.  Moderators and presenters must select Share Files and upload the files to Collaborate for screen readers to access the text.

Share Application/Screen: Use Share Application/Screen, if you have animations or special symbols in your presentation or if you are presenting live in a physical space and online at the same time!

NB: Make sure your presentation is set up and running on the screen you want to share before selecting Share Application/Screen in Collaborate.

  • In PowerPoint open the Slide Show menu and select Set Up Show.
  • Select Browsed by individual (window) and select OK.
Screen image showing the Set Up Show window in MS PowerPoint
  • Start your presentation.
  • Resize the presentation window to the size you want.
  • In your Collaborate panel select Share Application/Screen and then Application Window and select the PowerPoint or screen you want to share.
  • Click on Share

For the best experience, don’t use Normal or Full screen views for your presentations.  These views can make it challenging for you and your attendees to see everything.  Instead, share your slides in a resizable window.

Share Application / Screen in Collaborate

When you share your desktop or application it is seen by everybody in the live session and anybody viewing the recording later.  Make sure to close any windows and applications you don’t want others to see before starting to share e.g. Outlook / Teams.  In addition the share Application/Screen requires good network connection for both the moderator / presenter and participants.  For further details and troubleshooting network connection issues please see Collaborate’s own Network Connection Troubleshooting page.

From the Share Content panel in your Collaborate session select Share Screen / Application.  The Share your screen window will open:

Screen image showing the Share Application / Screen window in Collaborate.

NB: If you are working with a single monitor, you will not be able to see the Collaborate session when sharing your entire screen.  Prepare what it is you want to share before entering the session and simply minimise it to your task bar, or have it open in a separate browser tab.

[1] Your Entire Screen – selecting this and then clicking on Share [5] will (on a single monitor) cause a “time-warp tunnel” effect:

Screen image showing the 'time warp tunnel' effect when sharing entire screen in Collaborate when you only have one monitor or share the screen showing the Collaborate session.

Simply click on the minimised task bar icon to open it or minimise your browser window and then navigate to the item you wish to show.  If you are going to share anything containing audio and or video please see Share Audio and Video Streams section.

[2] Application Window – selecting this will give you a thumbnail view of each of the applications you currently have open on your PC e.g. a word document, PowerPoint or other programme.  If you wish to share a PowerPoint make sure your presentation is set up and running before selecting Share Application.  Select which you wish to share and then click on Share [5].

Screen image showing the Share Application / Screen window with the Application Window selected in Collaborate.

NB: The share Application Window does not offer the Share Audio [4].

[3] Chrome Tab –selecting this will give you a list view of all the Chrome tabs you currently have open.  Select which you wish to share and then click on Share [5].  If you are going to share anything containing audio and or video please see Share Audio and Video Streams section.

Screen image showing the Share Application / Screen window with the Chrome Tab selected in Collaborate.

NB: When navigating your Chrome tabs be careful not to close the tab that has the current Collaborate session running, or you will be lose connection to your virtual room!

Share Audio and Video streams and files

Share video from sites like YouTube, or open video and audio files you have on your desktop in a new Chrome tab to share them.  From the Share Content panel in your Collaborate session select Share Application/ Screen.  Then select the Chrome Tab [3] option.

NB: If you are on Windows, you can also select Entire Screen [1].

Ensure you select the Share audio [4] check box.  Choose the tab you want to share from the list, then select Share [5].

NB: When sharing a video or audio via Application/Screen share, mute your own microphone so that the sound doesn’t feed back through to the Collaborate session via the microphone.

Sharing Content in Collaborate

Moderators and Presenters (or Participants whilst in a Breakout group) can share content in Collaborate.

Types of content that can be shared

How to Share content

Open the Collaborate panel and select the Share Content icon to view the panel

Screen image of the share content panel in Collaborate.

How to Stop Sharing

When you wish to stop sharing select to return to the open Collaborate session. In the Share Content panel select Stop Sharing:

Screen capture of the stop sharing icon in the share content panel of Collaborate

To learn more about sharing content in Collaborate please visit Collaborate’s own help resources.

Video tour of the Collaborate Interface

As a Participant

The video below demonstrates how to join a Collaborate session from a link within a module Blackboard together with some of the basic features available to you as a Participant. Collaborate sessions can also be accessed via a guest link that has been emailed to you, for more information please see Join sessions from a web link.

As a Moderator

The video below shows the user interface for Moderators: