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Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate

If you are short on time but need some quick instructions for features of Blackboard Collaborate sessions, this guide should help you get started.

Screenshot of Blackboard Collaborate
The Collaborate panel on the right side of the screen offers options for sharing content and changing settings.

Sharing a PowerPoint

To share files or PowerPoint, click the Share Content icon.

To share a PowerPoint, you would click “Share Files.” Upload the file. Click the file once it has uploaded and then click “Share Now” when you are ready to present. It will have you click on the first slide (or whichever you want to start sharing).

The limit to sharing a PowerPoint is that if you have a video or link embedded, it will not be playable or clickable because you are essentially sharing an image of each of your slides.

To stop sharing the file, click the Stop Sharing icon in the upper-right corner of the screen (to the left of the Collaborate panel).

Sharing Your Screen or an Application

To share your screen or an application, click “Share Application/Screen.” You have options (in Chrome) to share your entire screen, share an application window, or share a Chrome tab.

If you want to be able to share audio, click the box in the lower left of the window (“Share audio”). Then, click “Share.”

When you want to stop sharing, go back to your Collaborate session in your internet browser and click the “Stop” button in the upper-left corner.


If you want to use a Whiteboard, click the “Share Blank Whiteboard” option. You can type and draw on the whiteboard and allow students to write on it as well.


You can also share a poll by clicking “Polling” under Secondary Content. There are two options for polling: Multiple Choice and True/False. The limit to polling in Collaborate is that you cannot create the poll ahead of time.¬†You will need to create the poll at the time you will be implementing it in your session.

Breakout Groups

You can also have breakout sessions within your Collaborate meeting if you want small group discussions (you can switch between groups to check in).

Just click “Breakout Groups” from within the Share Content section. You can either Randomly Assign groups or create Custom Assignments.

When you want everyone to come back to the main room, just click the End Breakout Groups (stop) icon in the lower-right corner of the menu.

The limit to breakout groups is that you cannot create them ahead of time because they are created with participants who are in the Collaborate session.

There are a lot of things you can do with breakout groups, so if you’re interested in using them, here are some instructions:

Settings and Permissions

Screenshot of Collaborate settings panel
Click the gear icon in the Collaborate panel to change your session settings.

From within your Collaborate session, you can also control permissions you give your students.

Go to the gear icon in the Collaborate panel, and click “Session Settings.” You can allow/disallow sharing audio, video, chat messages, and drawing on the whiteboard and files.

You can also control what notification settings you receive from the “Notification Settings” in the settings menu.

Helping Students Get Started

To help your students get started in Blackboard Collaborate, use our Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) Collaborate slides.

Blackboard Collaborate Participant Tour [PowerPoint]: These are sample slides that you can use to provide an overview for students on participating in a Blackboard Collaborate session

Blackboard Collaborate Office Hours Slide [PowerPoint]: This is a sample slide that you can use for holding office hours in Blackboard Collaborate with instructions for students.

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