- Stagger session start times. If your institution has more than one session starting around the same time, stagger the start times. Leave 5 minutes between each session. For example, if you schedule one at 2:00pm, schedule the next on at 2:05pm and so on. This reduces the number of attendees trying to connect at the same time.
- Schedule short sessions. Have moderators and instructors record what they want to present and share it with their attendees beforehand. Then use the session time to discuss.
- Be selective with participant permissions. When creating a session you can choose what participant permissions you want to allow in Session Settings. Turn on or off a participant's ability to chat, share video, share audio, and draw on shared files or the whiteboard. The permissions are turned off for every participant in the session. If a moderator wants to let a participant talk or chat, the moderator can promote the participant to a presenter.
Tips for your moderators and participants
Ask your moderators, participants, instructors, and students to follow these best practices for the best experience.
- Use a hard-wired (Ethernet) connection, if available. If not available, use a Wifi connection. If using Wifi, try to be as close to the router as possible.
- Close other programs. Close all programs and streaming services on your computer except for the browser you are using for your Collaborate session.
- Keep your browser current. Only use up-to-date Internet browsers that are supported by Blackboard Collaborate.
- Limit video use. Use video during the session only when necessary.
- Use supported mobile browsers. If on a mobile device, use a supported mobile browser. For the best experience, use Safari on iOS devices and Chrome on Android devices.
- Disable Adblockers. Browser Adblockers can turn off your audio and video and can cause buttons to not show up.
- Record only when necessary. Limit recordings to only sessions that require it.
- Limit application sharing. Share applications and screens only when necessary.
- Turn your presentations into PDFs. PDFs put minimal demand on a network. Convert what you plan to share into a PDF and upload it into to Collaborate.
- Keep sessions short. Record your presentation and share it with your attendees beforehand. Give them time to think on it and use the session to discuss.
When a Blackboard Collaborate session is created with the admin interface or the API, any user with the URL can access the session. This is normal behavior as no restrictions beyond the guest URL have been set. Users can freely add a name before joining the session.
You can restrict access to your session. Here's how.
- Remove user permissions in Session Settings. User permissions can be enabled by the moderator in-session. Limited permissions stop disruptive users since they won't be able to do anything when joining.
The permissions are turned off for every participant in the session. If you want to let one participant talk or chat in the session, promote the participant to a presenter.
- Use the invitation feature from the admin scheduler. This involves manual work, but ensures that only authenticated users join the session.
This isn't available to instructors who want to schedule sessions in their online course. Everyone in the course has secure access to the session that can't be shared.
- Leverage the Learning Management System (LMS) integration. From the LMS, users join the session using SSO, with their full name and picture. If students try to share the URL with an external, unauthenticated user, the external user gets an error when they try to access the session.
- Evolve the current portal to allow the following:
- Add users with the API. Collaborate users can be created from a form and validated against your records to make sure that only valid users access the sessions.
- Add enrollments with the API. Make sure only the required users can access the right sessions.