#6 Using Collaborate


Recorded 23/07/2020


This video was recorded over the summer of 2020, and since that time there has been a new policy on recording and downloads. The full policy details are available here, but the takeaway is that by default teaching and learning materials should be recorded, but should not be available for students to download.

To allow students who have exceptions (e.g. low bandwidth) to have access to download the recording, instructors should upload the video to their OneDrive account and use the permissions to allow the single student to download the video. You can learn more about OneDrive from the UoD IT page here

1. Introduction


To join, create or manage sessions, go into your module – the Collaborate links are in the left-hand menu. 

The ‘Join Session’ link is where you can join all sessions that are open. You can also access the Course Room from here. 

The Course Room is available for you and your students to go in and use at any time. You may want to close it before and/or during your scheduled sessions in order to avoid confusion (this is shown below). 


Image of ... menu

Click on the ‘…’ menu to Get course room guest link, edit course room settings and Disable course room. From here you can also View any recordings you have taken from your sessions. 

Room reports are covered in section 4 of this guide. 

To set up a session, select the Manage all sessions option. 


You can see this in action from 01.30 – 06.40. 


2. Create a Session


Within the Manage all sessions screen, you can use the filter on the top right-hand side to switch between upcoming sessionm previous sessions, or sessions within a range. 

To set up a new session, click on the grey Create Session button on the top left-hand side. 


A pop-up window will appear on the right-hand side of the screen which is where you can put in the details of your session. 


Image of create session tab 1

The first tab is where you will set up the Event Details. 

Enter the name of your session at the top. 

Clicking the Guest access box will generate a link that you can share with users who are not enrolled on your module or guest speakers from other schools/departments. The link will only generate after the session is completed. 

Select the start and end date and times using the calendar and clock functions. Ticking the No end box will keep the session running until you choose to close it (similar to the Course Room).

Ticking the Repeat session box to repeat your session on a recurring basis. Ticking this box gives you the option to select the days it will run on and when it will be repeated (daily, weekly or monthly). You can opt to repeat it every week, every 2 week, etc. You can also choose to end your session after a certain amount of occurrences or on a certain date. 

Early entry gives you the option to allow users (moderators included) into the session early. It is advisable to keep this as 15 mins before start time. 


Click on Provide a description to give further details about your session. 

In the cog wheel/session settings tab you can manage your session settings.

Select the default role you will give to your attendees. There are three possible roles: 

  • Participant – allows students to view the session but not to share content or change settings. 
  • Presenter – has the same permissions as a participant but are able to share content and change settings. 
  • Moderator – has the same permissions as a presenter but is the only role who can remove individuals from sessions. 

You can Allow recording downloads, but it is recommended that you Anonymise chat messages if you do this. 

You may want to disable Share audio and Share video to ensure a quiet/managed session, especially as students enter the room. This can be changed during the session. 

You can configure your chat options from here, allow Large scale sessions and Hide profanity in chat messages

(For more on large scale sessions, check out the guide specifically on sessions with 250-500 users.)


Image of create session tab 3

The third and final tab is where you can set up attendance reporting. Checking the tick box for Share attendance information with LMS will generate a room report automatically once the session is over. This box needs to be ticked before the session starts. 

You can change the length of time a student will appear as Late after, Absent after and the Required time an attendee must be in the session before they are marked as present. 

Please note that if a student is present in the session, but is there for less than the percentage of time in the Required time section, they will be marked as absent.

When you have finished inputting your session preferences, click Create


You can see this in action from 06.40 – 15.50. 


3. Running and Moderating a Session


When you have joined your session, you have will see four icons along the bottom of your screen, This is where you can see your user icon, access your microphone and camera and raise your hand. 

The hamburger menu on the left-hand side opens up and gives you the option to start recording (this is also where you would end your recording). You can also access the Blackboard help pages and leave the session from here (closing the window also removes you from the session). 

The purple arrows on the right-hand side open up the menus detailed in the rest of this section.Image of collaborate session


3.1 Chat


When you open the purple menu on the right-hand side, the first tab you will see is the Chat area. This opens a chat to everyone currently in the session.

Click on the back button to chat to just moderators or to chat with a student or user directly and privately. 

Type your message and hit the return key to send. 


Image of attendee controls

The second tab shows you all the attendees in your session. 

Clicking the circle with three dots beside the users name allows you to Send a chat message, Make moderator, Make presenter, Make captioner or Remove from session.


You can see this in action from 27.40 – 32.00. 


3.2 Sharing Content


The third tab is where you can share content with your students in the session. 

The top area, Primary Content, is what moderators and presenters can access. 

You can share a whiteboard, share your application or screen and share your camera from here. 

Note: when sharing your screen, be sure to click on the preview image of your screen. 

To share files, click into Share Files to upload any images, PowerPoint or PDF files you want to share. You can use the drag and drop feature, or click the Add Files box to choose your files. 

Once your file has uploaded, click Share Now to share this with your session attendees. 

When selecting to create a poll, you will be given the choice of whether you want a Multiple Choice poll or Yes/No Choices

Add your questions and answers and then click Start


Image of poll in collaborate session


You can see this in action from 32.00 – 35.00. 


3.2.1 Breakout Groups


Image of setting up breakout groups

You can create breakout groups in your session by clicking into Breakout Groups.

You can either randomly assign students to groups, or custom assign. Selecting the Include moderators in group assignment will also assign the moderators to groups. Select the Number of Groups from the available options. Selecting the Allow attendees to switch groups will let session attendees jump between groups freely. 

Hover over the students names to drag and drop them into different groups. You can rename the groups by clicking into the top section of each, and you can also add and delete groups. 

When your groups are all set up, click Start


Note: When in a room, students have presenter permissions, and the recording from the main room stops. 


Moderators can go between rooms by clicking on the green door icon beside the group they want to enter. 

You may want to suggest that one student shares their screen and they work on a document collaboratively, rather than using the whiteboard function. This is because rooms, and their contents, disappear when the room ends. 

To end the breakout groups, click on the stop icon in the top right-hand side. This will return everyone to the main course room, and the recording will resume. 


You can see this in action from 35.00 – 38.00. 


3.3 Settings


The last tab with the cog wheel icon is where you can change your session setting. 

Within Notification Settings, you can chose whether you get a notification and/or audio notification whenever someone posts a chat message, put their hand up or joins the session. 

Session Settings is where you can change the participant permissions (i.e. give everyone access to their mic/video if this was disabled during set up). 


You can see this in action from 38.00 – 41.00. 


4. Room Reports


When your session has finished, room report will be generated. The room report allows you to see the students who joined your session and the length of time there. You may have to wait for a bit for this to appear, so if it isn’t present immediately after the end of a session, please be patient. 

To view room reports, go back into the main course page and into the ‘…’ collaborate menu. Select View Room Reports

Select the session you and click the three dots on the far right-hand side. Select View Reports

You will see a table detailing the name of the students who joined the session, their role and attendee type, the times they joined and left the session, their total time in the sessions and the number of times they joined (this can be useful if you think a student may have connectivity issues – click into the number to see a breakdown of their separate joining times). 

You can download the room report as an excel spreadsheet by clicking the Export to CSV option. 


You can see this in action from 63.00 – 65.00. 

For further information on attendance, please refer to our training materials on Session 14: Attendance Monitoring in My Dundee




Updated on 09/09/2022

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