Blackboard Collaborate: Next Generation Web Conferencing Coming to NIU

What's new...Blackboard Collaborate 11. Download Brochure

Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborateâ„¢ gives you the functionality you need in a 21st century teaching and learning environment, such as two-way audio, multi-point video, interactive whiteboard, application and desktop sharing, rich media, breakout rooms, and session recording. Educators and students can engage as if they were in a traditional classroom, with as good as, or even better,

Since 2009, the Wimba Classroom collaboration tool has been integrated into Blackboard at NIU and has been used by faculty, staff at teaching assistants for online web conferencing activities ranging from online lectures, office hours, to group activities.

In July 2010, Blackboard purchased both Wimba and Elluminate (another competing web conferencing platform) and has been in the process of developing a new “next generation” product that combines the best features of both Wimba Classroom and Elluminate and has released this new web conferencing platform, Blackboard Collaborate 11. Blackboard Collaborate includes a redesigned, easier-to-use interface that simplifies many of the tasks presenters typically perform. Institutions like NIU that currently have Wimba Classroom are encouraged to begin transitioning to the new Blackboard Collaborate as soon as possible.

To see Blackboard Collaborate in action, short demos are available online at

New Features

A few of the notable new features in Blackboard Collaborate include:

  • Completely redesigned user interface for an improved user experience
  • Web tour, allowing for moderator to show web pages to participants and maintain control
  • Audio buffering, allowing for better audio quality
  • Up to 6 simultaneous video streams
  • Ability for end user to change video quality
  • Countdown timer
  • Annotations on whiteboard persist throughout session
  • Multimedia presentation tool

Blackboard Collaborate continues to offer the same great seamless integration with the Blackboard learning management system that NIU faculty have grown accustomed to and expect with Wimba Classroom.

Moderator User Interface

Blackboard Collaborate Moderator Interface

Feature Comparison: Blackboard Collaborate vs. Wimba Classroom

While Blackboard Collaborate does include many new features not previously in Wimba Classroom, since it is built on the former Elluminate architecture, there are a few features previously in Wimba Classroom that are not currently available in Blackboard Collaborate 11, including:

  • Persistent settings and content
  • Content organized by presentation
  • Tracking information available to moderator
  • Telephony (per our installation)
  • Informal polling open ended question types
  • Mobile archives downloadable by students (mp3/mp4 files)

A full comparison of the feature differences between Blackboard Collaborate and Wimba Classroom is available here.

Blackboard Collaborate Preview

Online Archive

View this online preview of Blackboard Collaborate offered 4/27/2012 to see the new interface and features first-hand and learn more about NIU’s options for moving forward with upgrading to Blackboard Collaborate. | view online archive | view podcast in iTunes | view mp4

Limited Release Availability – Summer 2012

NIU is currently testing Blackboard Collaborate and seeking feedback from existing Wimba Classroom users concerning the timeline for upgrading from Wimba to Blackboard Collaborate.

Blackboard Collaborate will be available on a limited release basis during Summer 2012 for any faculty/staff or teaching assistants who would like to use the tool within their Blackboard courses or communities. If interested in using Blackboard Collaborate during the limited release this summer, please contact Jason Rhode at to express your interest.  Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center staff are available to provide assistance to those interested in using Blackboard Collaborate this summer.

Based on the feedback received from faculty, Blackboard Collaborate will likely become available campus wide by Fall 2012 and replace Wimba Classroom by Spring 2012.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *