Web Conferencing :: Frequently Asked Questions

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Logging In
Accessibility
System Requirements
Audio/Video Information
Powerpoint Issues
Java Issues
General Questions
Pedagogical Information

Logging In

What is my Blackboard Collaborate login?
The login Username is your HSU Username. The password is your Blackboard Collaborate password. If you forgot your password, click on Lost your password? on the login screen

Who needs Blackboard Collaborate login?
Any staff or faculty wishing to host a Blackboard Collaborate meeting. If you are accessing the program through Moodle, your myHumboldt->Moodle login is sufficient.

My Blackboard Collaborate Live! link is broken
Sometimes Blackboard Collaborate Live! session links get broken and malformed when sent in an email message. Blackboard has a resource which may be able to fix it.

 

Accessibility

Is Blackboard Collaborate accessible?
Yes*, Blackboard Collaborate meets the requirements of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), is compliant with the Rehabilitation Act, Section 508, and conforms to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). 
 
The CSU and Blackboard have collaborated to increase and improve the software's accessibility. Blackboard Collaborate Live! provides a variety of features that promote accessibility including:

Note that some of these will require additional services, software, or hardware, and be aware that certain Blackboard Collaborate features, like its whiteboard, are not accessible.

 

System Requirements

What do I need on my computer to use Blackboard Collaborate?
Blackboard Collaborate is compatible with most popular operating systems and browsers. Check the Recommended Equipment page for more information on minimum system requirements. The company's motto is "no user left behind!" 

 

Audio/Video Information

What options do I have for the audio portion of a Blackboard Collaborate webconference?
Moderators have several options for this:

  • Voice-over IP (VoIP) - Blackboard Collaborate uses Voice over IP (VoIP), which means all audio communication takes place over the Internet. The quality is good, the cost is free except for the cost of a headset and microphone. Affordable headsets with noise-cancelling microphones are available at the HSU Bookstore.
  • Teleconference - HSU offers AT&T Teleconferencing services. The cost is about five cents per minute per person and charged to the session host's department. If you already have an account, you may use it now. If you do not have an account, one will be made available to you on request to the Technology Help Desk.
  • Voice over IP (VoIP) and Teleconference  - When the host has scheduled a session in which participants may be using a mix of VoIP and telephone, Blackboard Collaborate allows the meeting host to connect everyone through a telephone bridge. More information can be found in the steps for using teleconference integration.

Do I need an audio bridge with a web conference? I heard that can get expensive.
Blackboard Collaborate uses Voice over IP (VOIP), which means all audio communication takes place over the Internet. The quality is good, the cost is free, and all you need is a headset and microphone. If you are experiencing technical difficulties, do not have a microphone with your speakers or headset, or prefer not to participate by talking, the software also provides a chat window.

Can I use Blackboard Collaborate to conduct a video conference?
While Blackboard Collaborate does offer some video conferencing capability, video is not its primary delivery focus. Contact Classroom Technology Services if you want to host a video conference.

Can I record a session?
Yes, you can record and edit a session for later playback. Please remember to tell participants ahead of time that you plan to do this.

 

PowerPoint Issues

When the PowerPoint presentation is loaded onto the whiteboard, I lose all my transitions.
When PowerPoint slides are uploaded to the whiteboard, transitions are not converted, so you'll need to create your slides with this in mind - for example build bullet-point slides with one slide for each bullet point. Web links are also not converted; to share a website during your Blackboard Collaborate session, use the Web Tour option to bring up the website separately from the whiteboard presentation.

Which versions of PowerPoint are supported?

  • Windows Vista and Windows 7: PowerPoint 2007, PowerPoint 2010
  • Macintosh OS X 10.5 and 10.6: PowerPoint 2004, PowerPoint 2008

I'm using PowerPoint 2007 and my saved .ppt file won’t load
If you have a presentation that was created in PowerPoint 2007 and have saved it as a .ppt file, you have two options to load this on to the whiteboard.

  • You can open the file in PowerPoint 2007 and save the file with the .pptx file format.
  • You can load the .ppt file into Blackboard Collaborate with the Faster Import option selected.

I'm having a problem uploading a PowerPoint file
You can instead load your content as image files inside Blackboard Collaborate Live! Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation. From the File menu, select Save As.
  2. In the Save As dialogue box, choose either GIF, JPEG, or PNG from the Save as type drop-down menu.
  3. Save all the images in the presentation.  A folder will be created where each slide in the presentation will be saved as a static image and numbered accordingly.
  4. Now to load the slides in Blackboard Collaborate Live!, click on the “Load Presentation” tool  in the Whiteboard window.
  5. In the Select Screens dialog box, determine whether you wish to insert the file before or after a screen, replace a screen or as a sub-topic of a screen.
  6. Determine whether you want to insert the file in relation to the Current Screen or Selected Screens.
  7. From the Files of Type drop-down menu select Filter for Image Files.
  8. Navigate to the folder created in Step 4 containing the images.
  9. Select all of the images by clicking the first image and then the last image while holding down your Shift key.
  10. From the Screen Creation Options shown on the right be sure to select Alpha-Number order.
  11. Click Open which will load the images.  Each image will be loaded onto a separate whiteboard screen as a background image.

I'm running Office 2007 and getting “Failure calling PowerPoint to process presentation” errors.
Windows users running Office 2007 version 12.0.4518.1014 will be unable to convert PowerPoint presentations to Blackboard Collaborate Whiteboard files. You need to upgrade Windows to include any service pack equal or greater than Office 2007 with SP1 (version# 12.0.6211.1000) to regain the functionality.

Java Issues

Why can't I connect to Blackboard Collaborate with my Mac OS X when I could before?
The latest Java update for the Mac, Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 4, breaks the association between JNLP files and Java Web Start. If a JNLP file opens in TextEdit or another application instead of launching Java, take the following actions to restore the proper association so that Java Web Start applications launch correctly:

  1. Save the text file to your desktop with a jnlp file extension, e.g. Meeting.jnlp
  2. Right-click or Control-click the JNLP file and select Open With –> Other
  3. In the Choose Application window, browse to: Macintosh HD -> System -> Library -> CoreServices. Under CoreServices, select Java Web Start.app. The full path to the location is: /System/Library/CoreServices/Java Web Start.app.
  4. Check the box for Always Open With then click the Open button. 

Why won't the Java application launch Blackboard Collaborate Live! successfully on my Windows 7 64-bit computer when I'm using Internet Explorer as my browser?
Your installation is out of synch. Uninstall all previous versions of Java, then download and install both 32-bit and 64-bit Java updates from this link.

General Questions

My colleague has used WebEx. Is this like WebEx?
Blackboard Collaborate is similar to WebEx but is designed specifically for use in educational environments.

Some of my students are not able to join the online event in real time. What can I do?
You can record and archive the event for later playback 

I would like to use a portion of my event in another course in the future. Is this possible?
Yes, you can edit out a portion of a recorded event for re-use later.

How much does it cost to conduct a web conference?
The annual Blackboard Collaborate licensing fees are paid for by HSU. There is currently no cost to faculty, staff, or students, with the exception of the cost of purchasing a headset and, for meeting hosts, possible teleconferencing fees.

Which other CSU campuses are using Blackboard Collaborate and how?
CSU East Bay has set up a CSU Web Collaboration site - its objective is to gather all relevant campus resources in one place (training schedules, workshops, documentation, discussion forums, etc.). You'll also find a number of case studies on the Blackboard website describing implementations at other CSU schools.

Pedagogical Information

How can I use web conferencing in my blended/hybrid course?
There may be some excellent opportunities for using Blackboard Collaborate in blended/hybrid courses, but please keep in mind that the software is recommended for desktop use, not for lecture halls or smart classrooms at this time. 

The technology component for hybrid courses will need to be worked out in a systematic fashion. There are several steps that should be considered well in advance of your class (for example, room reservations, inclusion in Course Catalog, software imaging, etc.):

  1. Clearly identify the scenario(s) for levels of interactivity you're aiming for
  2. Consult with the ITS group to determine potential technology solutions
  3. Purchase new equipment or identify existing resources to meet the audio/video needs
  4. Install new cable, cameras, and microphones as necessary
  5. Establish strict protocols for interaction, perhaps something like default microphones to "mute", use cameras only for introductions and demonstrations as required, use Blackboard Collaborate for slide presentations, and phone-based audio
  6. Thoroughly test equipment and processes prior to introducing "live" to students

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