Collaborate Tips

Have you found a tip, shortcut, or cool feature in Blackboard Collaborate?  If you have, please post them here.

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  • I like sending students to YouTube to watch short videos that support what we are learning (especially helpful in bio). What I find in the K-12 age range, though, is that a lot of families have You Tube blocked on their computers to protect their children from stumbling into unsavory videos and to keep their children on task during the school day. Of course, some students getting to see the video while others cannot can be a problem both in terms of messing up the content I had relied on the student getting to see and hear as well as making the students that cannot see it feel bad that they missed out on something that other students are chattering about being 'so cool'.

    I have found two solutions:

    PureView - Pureview is a free website where you can paste in the location of the YouTube video and it will play from their server instead of YouTube and all the comments (often unsavory), previews of other videos, and descriptions are removed. Ads can still play, but typically those are kept tasteful at YouTube.

    Another option is MediaHuman YouTube Downloader. This will let you paste the address of the YouTube video into the tool and it will let you pick which quality of the video you want to download to your computer. You can also batch download them so that you can do something else while many are downloading one after another (there is a setting that you can use to tell it how many can be downloaded simultaneously). Once you have the file, it can be loaded under the Window menu option in Collaborate and placed in the media library before class to be used when needed in that day's lesson. Note that the playback will be relying on the student's own computer for the playback software. Another advantage to actually having the file on your computer is that you can edit when needed. If a video is 12 minutes long and you only need 30 seconds from the last 2 minutes, you can use video editing software to get just the part you need for the class and save it as your classroom use file. There is a Windows and Mac version. There is a small fee, $14.95, but it is reasonable. The link is

  • I would like to know the trick to using the screen capture tool on the wbd palette -- when I click on it, it automatically closes the meeting window and appears on some background window that I didn't choose.  Typically I want to use it to capture a Collaborate menu or dialog box for training others.  Thx.

    • Hmmm, it used to be that when you want to get a shot from Collaborate itself, you need to look for the little toggle box in the screenshot window that pops up that will set Collaborate not to minimize. The version released last summer seems to have changed that. You never get to see that settings screen now.

      Until they get that tool back, why not use another screenshot takking tool. Even with Collaborate's screenshot tool before, I seldom used it. I did take screenshots often throughout the day though. I used the Snipping tool that comes with Windows until I got OneNote. OneNote's tool was so good that I switched to that one. Both of those will load up the snap into the clipboard so that all you need to do is right click to paste to the image.

      Now that I am on a Mac, I have really loved Skitch. Skitch is definitely amazing! It is free and you can do so much with the snap. You can resize, annotate, save it as a file in any image format, and it keeps a history of all images you drag so that if you took a snap yesterday that you need again, you can get it right back.

  • Great idea, Lorie!  

    I'll start with my use of to embed music on a web page (I use the free service to create the page), and then I bring up that page in the web tour to have music before a session begins.  My example page is at


    • I LOVE this idea...I've never been able to figure out how to do this before, but this idea is going into the "execute" pile right away!  Thanks for sharing Steve!

  • While teaching a class last night, I found this tip by accident. 

    I had been using screenshots of student names in the participant's window to organize my class into 2 teams.  I usually use my screenshot program, then paste the names onto the whiteboard. 

    This time, I accidentally dragged a student's name onto the whiteboard, and it worked!  I was so surprised to find this that my students picked up on my enthusiasm. 

    I discovered that I can drag names to the computer desktop, then into another program as well.

    • I had a chance to try this tip for the first time today. That was so handy to just drag and drop the participant's name onto the team/scoring screen. It is a real text box, so if you want to change the font-size you can do so with the normal whiteboard tools. Yay!

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