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How to set up Blackboard Collaborate using the External Tool (LTI) activity

Blackboard Collaborate, a.k.a. Bb Collaborate or just plain Collaborate, is our main platform for delivering webinars. It has been designed for education and has a variety of features which make it easier to teach online, especially with larger cohorts. It is very easy to set up a Blackboard Collaborate session, anyone with editing access to a QMplus area can do it.

This guide provides an overview of setting up a Collaborate session on QMplus using the External Tool activity on QMplus, sometimes known as LTI. This is one of two ways of setting up Collaborate.

If you want to know the differences between the two ways of setting up Collaborate, please see our guide The two ways to set up Blackboard Collaborate sessions and how to choose.

This guide covers:

Add the activity:

Turn editing on via the slider in the top right corner of the screen & select Add an Activity or Resource in the section where you wish to add the Blackboard Collaborate session.

Select External tool from the list of activities and click Add at the bottom.

In the General section, give your activity an appropriate name via the Activity name field, choose BB Collaborate from the  Preconfigured tool dropdown menu.

 

 

Click Show more…  if you wish to add a description to your activity (as shown in the example below) and select whether the description is to be shown underneath the activity name:

Once this is complete, scroll to the bottom and click save at the bottom of the page.

Configuring your BB Collaborate session:

You should now see that you have created a Blackboard Collaborate ‘Course Room’. This room can now be populated with the webinar sessions. To do so, click the Create Session button.

You will now have the options to name your session and configure it.

Before you enter the event details, you can choose whether access is solely through QMplus or users access through a guest link. There are 3 roles which are available: Presenter, Moderator & Participant. Should you wish external users to access the session with varying roles, you will need to share the lesser role of participant and then change their access when the session is live.

The guest link can then be copied and shared.

 

Event Details

Under Event Details, choose the start time and end time of the session.

If this is a recurring class, you can choose to Repeat session, and choose the frequency of sessions (the times will display within the activity), or alternatively the session can be set so that it repeats indefinitely – set via No end (open session).

Once a repeating element is configured, you will see further options to set which days the webinar is to run on and to set a total number of sessions, should you wish.

 

Session settings

In the Session Settings you can set the default role for the attendees – we recommend leaving this as Participant; you can assign a presenter role to users once the session has started, should you wish.

  1. Allowing recording downloads – Enabling downloads allows students the ability to watch the content offline. It is useful if internet download speeds aren’t optimal as the students can set the file to save, rather than to stream the media and them encounter playback issues.
  2. Anonymise chat messages – The session can be customised to choose whether participants’ chat messages will be anonymous or not. Doing so may increase participant engagement, with more questions raised via the chat messaging.
  3. Moderators’ permissions – This can be set so that moderators’ names are not shown, should you wish.
  4. Participants’ sharing/collaboration settings – Consideration should be given to what you wish the students to be able to share/do depending on how many will be in attendance. Audio and video sharing is great for collaborative sessions, but for large groups or more didactic classes, you may wish to disable audio and video sharing for them so that sessions aren’t disrupted by questions or unmuted mics. These settings can be changed live during the session however, should you wish. Chat messaging being enabled for students is recommended for most sessions, however one may wish to configure audio notifications within the session to prevent messages being distracting. There is also an option to allow students the ability to draw on the virtual whiteboard and files – this is a great tool for collaborative exercises, however may prove more useful in smaller groups.
  5. Enabling session telephony – Audio is not as clear as using a computer with internal or external mics, however can be enabled should users not have access to a microphone. However, it is important to note that a student calling into the session will be charged standard call rates.
  6. Private chat settings – If there are a large number of participants for a session, ‘the chat privately to moderators’ setting are useful for presenters to choose questions to read out, rather than them appearing as viewable to all attendees. Chat messages between users is private by default, however it is possible to enable ‘moderators to supervise all private chat messages’ to ensure chat use is used responsibly, however it is best to be open with attendees in letting them know that all messages can be read by moderators.
  7. Allow 250+ attendees – this setting can only be enabled for non-reoccurring sessions.

Click the SAVE to button to save the configuration changes which have been made.

 

Reporting, re-editing settings, deleting sessions & quick access to guest access links:

To access attendance reports, amend or delete sessions and access the guest access link, click on the icon to the right of the session:

Accessing Recordings

To access recordings for any sessions, click on the burger menu in the top left of the screen and the link to recordings can be selected:

Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: its-helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the E-Learning Unit at Queen Mary University of London.
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