Session Settings lets you control what you want to allow in your session. Some settings you need to set before the session begins. Other settings you can change any time before or during the session.

Settings to make before sessions begin

While most settings can be changed any time during the session, you must set some settings before the session begins, if you want to use them.

  • Guest access
  • Default Attendee Role
  • Anonymize chat messages
  • Enable session telephony
  • Private chat settings
  • Allow 250+ attendees to join

    If you don't see this large scale session option, it may not be available in your integration. Your administrator can set this for you.

Settings you can change during a session

Some settings you can change during the session. If you want to change settings during a session, open the Collaborate panel, select My Settings, and open Session Settings.

  • Only show moderator profile pictures
  • Participant permissions

Video: Session Settings in Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra Experience

Watch a video about session settings

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.


Video: Session settings shows you session settings that must be set before a session and settings you can change during a session.

Guest access

Guests are attendees who don't need to sign into the session or be enrolled in your course to join the session. Guests don't require authentication.

When you allow guest access, a guest link is available for the session. This link is a public link that can be used and shared by anyone who has it. Anyone with the guest link can join the session.

More on guest access

Default attendee role

By default, everyone joins the session as a participant. Session owners and course instructor join as a moderators. Use the Default Attendee Role menu to change the default for guests and students. 

You can't change the default during the session. But if there is no end date for the session, you can change the default before the next time you use it.

Make sure you understand the different roles and their permissions before making any a default.

More on roles and permissions

Session recording settings

Session Recording Settings

  • Allow recording downloads: If you are the session owner, you don't need to turn this option on to download recordings. Session owners, course instructors, and administrators can always download recordings. The Allow recording downloads check box lets others download the recording. Select this option to let your attendees and students download recordings.

    You can turn this setting on after the session has ended. If the session has ended, change the session end date to the current or a future date and select Save.

  • Anonymize chat messages: Chat messages posted during the session appear as anonymous posts in the recording. You need to plan ahead with this option and turn it on before recording the session. Once the recording has started you can't change your mind. This option is not reversible.

Show profile pictures for moderators only

If you want to keep your session secure and free from inappropriate profile pictures, only allow moderators to show theirs. If selected, participant profile pictures don't appear anywhere profile pictures are seen in the session. This includes in the Attendees list, chat, breakout groups, and on the main stage. The default avatar appears for participants instead.

Participant permissions

By default, all participant permissions are on for sessions with fewer than 250 participants. Participants can share share audio, video, post chat messages, and draw on whiteboards and files. Clear any check box to turn off the permission.

You can change participant permissions any time before or during the session. These settings turn the permission on or off for all participants. You can't change permissions for just one participant. If you want certain attendees to have different permissions, change their role.

Participant permissions don't change what moderators and presenters can do.

For larger sessions all participant permissions are off by default and can't be changed. To learn more, go to Settings in webinar mode.

Enable session telephony

Select Allow attendees to join the session using a telephone to let attendees dial into the session teleconference. Up to 25 attendees can call into a session from the phone. If the maximum number of dial-in attendees has been reached, nobody else can call in.

You can't change this setting during the session. If you want to let attendees dial in, select this check box before the session starts.

More on Collaborate teleconference

Private chat settings

Private chat between attendees is on by default but you can limit how it's used.

  • Participants can only chat with moderators: When selected, participants can only chat privately with moderators. If you don't select it, participants can chat privately with any body else in the session.

  • Moderators supervise all private chats: When selected, moderators can see everything that is said in private chat channels between attendee. An alert appears at the top of the private chat channel informing attendees that the chat is being supervised. If you don't select it, you don't see the private chat channels.

More on private chat


Large scale session

By default, sessions support up to 250 attendees. You can set up your session to support up to 500 attendees. From the session's settings, select Allow 250+ attendees to join before the session begins.

If you don't see the large session option, check the session length. The session needs an end time and can't be more than 24 hours in length. 

If you still don't see this large scale session option, it may not be available in your integration. Your administrator can set this for you.

This option makes the session a webinar that supports up to 500 attendees. Not all features are available in webinar mode. These features are turned off:

  • Participant permissions: Participants can't share audio, video, post chat messages, or draw on whiteboards and files.

    Moderators can choose to turn chat on DURING a session. Moderator permissions don't change.

  • Breakout groups: Breakout groups aren't available while in webinar mode.

What if I want to let participants chat or use their audio?

If you want a single participant to share audio or video, post chat messages, or draw on whiteboards and files, promote the participant to presenter.

More on managing attendees