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Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate promotes a depth and breadth to the online teaching and learning experience. The use of Collaborate tools for either synchronous or asynchronous content delivery is yet another way to teach to different intelligences and learning styles.

Collaborate is a synchronous, virtual classroom. Its features include multi-way audio and video, easy upload of PowerPoint presentations, application sharing, polling, and more—all designed to make the online classroom experience as robust as possible. Every session may be archived for review/reuse. Note that this tool is best used in a wired environment and can be broadband-intensive, depending on what features are used.

Training and Documentation


We provide a test Collaborate session so that users can confirm whether or not their computer is set up to successfully access the system. Before accessing the session, you can watch a video demonstration of how to launch the test session. Once you review that, go to the Collaborate test session.

Loading and Preloading Content

There is no way to preload your PowerPoint (PPT or PPTX) files into a Collaborate session. You will first need to convert your presentation to a Whiteboard (WBD) file. In order to do this, you can follow the steps outlined in the Preloading Slides Into Collaborate [PDF] document.

If Collaborate tells you that your PPT or PPTX file is not supported when you click on Load Content, you may have an incompatible version of PowerPoint installed on your computer. To load your presentation, you can follow the steps outlined in the Loading Presentations As Images Into Collaborate [PDF] document.


If you are having issues launching Collaborate sessions on your computer, you should try the following steps to resolve the issue:

  1. Go to Collaborate's First Time Users page. Make sure you see two green checkmarks for your operating system and Java version. If not, follow the prompts to resolve those issues.
  2. Associate JNLP files with Java Web Start. This is different for PCs and Macs.
    1. PC (Windows) Computers [PDF] [Video]
    2. Mac Computers [PDF]
  3. If you are still having issues, contact the Online Learning Team at 215-895-1224 or

Recent security updates released by Apple may be preventing users running Mac OS X 10.8.4 from launching sessions automatically. Please refer to the instructions for this Known Issue.