Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

What does the interface look like for a moderator?


As of August 31, 2021, UofT will no longer license Bb Collaborate. Please see ACT's termination of Collaborate license memo for more details. We recommend reviewing our guide of currently available webinar tools for alternate options to host synchronous online sessions.

This guide outlines how to navigate the Bb Collaborate Interface in order to maximize your session functionality. It details how to interact with attendees, how to share content and applications, and provides an introduction to other major features of the tool.

For more, see Collaborate Ultra's guide to finding your way around Collaborate Ultra.

WARNING - DO NOT USE MICROSOFT EDGE: There have been reported issues with sharing audio and video while using Microsoft Edge. Please use Chrome or Firefox for more consistent connectivity.

To continue with this guide, please ensure you have Bb Collaborate in your course menu. To enable this tool, visit How do I add the Bb Collaborate tool to my Course menu?

1. User Interface: How it looks upon session entry

Upon entry, all settings and options menus are minimized (closed) so it can be difficult to see all of the tools and functionality included in Bb Collaborate. To see application options, you should expand the menus. Note: If you scroll over the menus with your cursor, you will the the text in quotations appear as labels over those menus.

2. User Interface: Sample

  1. Open Session Menu - This panel has a collection of high level session actions and information. From here you can: Record your session, use your phone for audio or report an issue with Collaborate.
  2. Media Space - The media space, or main stage, in Collaborate is where the content of the session is displayed. NOTE: If there is no shared content, you'll see attendee profiles and video in a grid view.
  3. Status - This panel allows the moderator to set their status, leave a session, or provide feedback for the attendees to view.
  4. Away/Leave Session - This panel allows you to set your status as "away" if you need to step away from the session, or to leave the session. TIP: It is considered polite to indicate your status if you are unavailable, so that users are not waiting on you for a response.
  5. Feedback - Moderators can provide quick feedback for the participants to view by selecting a feedback option. The resulting feedback will show on the status icon for 30 seconds. TIP: Moderator can verbally ask group about pacing and have attendees provide feedback. A quick glance and you'll know where you stand.
  6. Audio - Moderators and participants (if enabled) can turn on their audio to speak. It will turn green and fluctuate, as it registers volume levels. A line through the microphone icon means that it is turned off.
  7. Video - Moderators and participants (if enabled) can turn on their video to be seen and it will turn blue. A line through the camera icon means that it is turned off.
  8. Hand raise - Participants can use this to raise their hand to answer a question or get a moderator's attention. The number indicator will show the moderator how many participants have raised their hand.
  9. Collaborate Panel - This main panel hosts other panels. This view will change depending on the icon that is selected at the bottom. If you do not see these panels, click on the Open & Close Panel button (purple arrow tab).
  10. Chat Panel - Participants and moderators can use the chat panel to ask questions, share comments/links, etc, and for other purposes, as needed.
  11. Participants Panel - This panel shows you who is attending your session. It provides the ability to send a private message, and make a participant a moderator or presenter.
  12. Share Content - Moderators and presenters can share a blank whiteboard, an application, PDFs, Power Point presentations, and images in GIF, JPEG and PNG formats. They can also create Polls, Timers and Breakout Groups.
  13. Settings - This panel allows you to set up your audio and video settings, notifications and session settings.
  14. Open and Close - This allows you to open and close the Collaborate panel.


3. Open Session Menu

  1. Start your Recording - This allows you to record your session, that you can view at a later time in Quercus. Once you are recording you will see a video recording icon on the Session menu tab. IMPORTANT: If recording a session, you should notify the attendees that the session is being recorded and where/how it will be shared.
  2. Use your phone for audio - If you cannot use your browser to connect to Collaborate, use this option to phone in. NOTE: This may incur long distance charges.
  3. Report an Issue - Moderators and participants can report any audio or video issues that they have experienced.
  4. Tell me about Collaborate - This option offers an in-screen tutorial on the basics of Collaborate.
  5. Blackboard Collaborate Help - Users can choose this to access the Blackboard Collaborate Help support website.
  6. Privacy Policy - Users can choose this to access the Blackboard Privacy Statement.
  7. Leave Session - Allows you to leave the current session.

4. Chat Panel

  1. Start by selecting the "Chat" tab from the "Open Collaborate panel."
  2. Chat with all users - This option opens the chat window so that you may communicate with all attendees.
  3. Chat with Moderators - This chat is only accessible by those who are marked as moderators. TIP: Chats send in this box are often overlooked, so careful attention needs to be paid if you are using this function.
  4. Chat box - Enter your chat text or emoticon in this field, and press "return" or "enter" on your keyboard to send the message. NOTE: If other users are currently writing a message, it will indicate above that chat box that they are typing.

5. Participants Panel

  1. More options - Used to find an attendee, detach the Attendees panel from the Collaborate panel, and mute all shared audio.
  2. Moderators list - This is a list of all the Moderators participating in the webinar.
  3. Participants list - This is a list of all the Participants participating in the webinar.
  4. Connection Experience - Users can examine the connection speed of other users.
  5. Attendee Controls - Current moderators can send private messages to specific users. They can also change the role of other participants, or remove them from the session.

6. Share Content

The Share Content menu has several tools that you can use to share your content with your students. The following tools will be outlined in further details below.

  1. Start by navigating to the "Share Content" tab of the "Open Collaborate panel."
  2. Share Blank Whiteboard - When selected, moderators and presenters can share a blank whiteboard with drawing tools.
  3. Share Application/Screen - Moderators and presenters can share their entire desktop or a single open application. TIP: Have your documents/websites and applications open prior to starting, so that they are available to choose from in the list of applications.
  4. Share Camera - Moderators and presenters can share video via their webcam or other cameras connected to their computer.
  5. Share Files - Moderators and presenters can share PDFs, Power Point presentations, and images in GIF, JPEG and PNG formats.
  6. Polling - Moderators can start and run polls during a session.
  7. Breakout Groups - Moderators can start and run breakout groups, so that attendees have a collaborative space to work in a group setting.

2. Share Whiteboard (In Share Content)

The whiteboard comes with its own tool kit. These buttons allow you to draw, and add text or shapes (rectangle, circle, line). If you plan on using these features, it is recommended that you test and practice before your session.

  1. Blank Whiteboard - The content area will be a blank slate that can be annotated as needed during a session. Depending on permissions, attendees can also be allowed to draw on the whiteboard. TIP: Turn OFF access to whiteboard for participants until it is needed for an activity.
  2. View Controls - With these controls, the moderator can zoom in and out of the whiteboard, find the best fit and actual size of the whiteboard.
  3. Select - This tool allows you to select an object on the whiteboard, so that you may move, resize, or rotate it. NOTE: Participants cannot see this selection arrow. If you would like to use an indicator that is visible to students, use the Pointer tool.
  4. Pointer - Acts as a pointer that participants can see on the whiteboard.
  5. Shapes - This tool allows you to add shapes (rectangle, circle, line) to the whiteboard.
  6. Pencil - This tool allows users to annotate and draw on the whiteboard.
  7. Text - This tool allows you to add text to the whiteboard. You can also change the colour of your text.
  8. Clear - This tool clears the entire whiteboard in a single press.
  9. Colour - Users can change the colour of the text, shape or pencil.
  10. Stop Sharing Whiteboard - Moderators can end the whiteboard presentation by selecting the stop button.

3. Share Entire Screen/Application Window (In Share Content)

If you are using Chrome, this step may require you to download the Desktop Sharing extension for Chrome.

  1. Entire Screen - This option allows you to share your entire screen with participants.
  2. Just an Application - This option allows you to choose a specific application to share with participants. Once this option is selected, you have the ability to choose which application window to share. TIP: In order to share an application, it must be opened first. It is helpful to have your document/application open and ready before sharing. Not all programs will appear in this window, so it is recommended to test out application sharing prior to a live session.

4. Share Camera (In Share Content)

  1. Video Preview - Gives you a preview of your video before it is displayed on-screen to all participants.
  2. Cancel/Share Camera - This allows you to cancel or begin sharing the camera.

5. Share Files (In Share Content)

Moderators can upload image files (GIF, JPEG and PNG images), PDF files, or PowerPoint presentations of 60MB or lower to their session. Multiple presentations can be uploaded at one time, however the total size allowed is 125 MB or lower for any particular session.

  1. Add Files - Moderators can load and share any type of file using "Add Files" button to navigate to the file they would like to share.
  2. Files - The files that you have uploaded will show here. The file selected to share will be highlighted within the black box.
  3. Share Now - This button allows the Presenter to share the loaded and selected (if there is more than one presentation) file.

6. Polling (In Share Content)

  1. Polling - Moderators have the ability to create a poll that allows attendees to respond to an agree/disagree answer or by selecting up to five responses.
  2. Start - This option allows moderators to begin the poll.
  3. View Poll - Allows moderators to view or hide the poll they are currently conducting.
  4. Poll Response Window - This window allows moderators to see the current responses to the poll.
  5. Show Responses - Moderators can show participants the results of the current poll. TIP: When Show Responses is selected, then participants cannot vote in the poll.
  6. End polling - This option allows the Moderator to end the current poll.

7. Breakout Groups (In Share Content)

Breakout groups have their own private audio, video, whiteboard, application sharing, and chat. Any collaboration that takes place in a group is independent of the Main room (and other groups).

To encourage small group collaboration, moderators can create breakout groups that are separate from the main room and assign participants to them.

  1. Assign Groups - Moderators can create the groups manually (Custom assignment) or automatically.
  2. Switch Groups - This option allows attendees to switch from one breakout group to another.
  3. Main Room - This box represents which attendees are currently in the Main Room (Course room or Schedule Session room).
  4. Breakout Groups - Moderators can add attendees from the Main Room, by dragging and dropping them into to a specific Group.
  5. Create a New Group - These buttons allow you to add a new breakout group.
  6. Cancel/Start - These buttons allow you to cancel or Start the breakout groups.

7. Audio and Video Settings (In My Settings)

  1. Start by navigating to the "My Settings" tab of the "Open Collaborate panel."
  2. Audio and Video Settings - These settings allow you set up your audio and video settings for the webinar. TIP: Advise participants to test their audio and video settings prior to the webinar.
  3. Set up your camera and microphone - Moderators can view and test their audio and video inputs to ensure they are working properly. TIP: It is best to test your audio and video settings prior to the scheduled webinar to ensure your devices are working correctly.
  4. Audio and Video Test - These tests allow you to choose your audio and video inputs, and ensure that they are correct and working properly.
  5. Use your phone for audio - This option reveals the phone number and pin code used to access the webinar. TIP: This number is not toll-free and may incur long distance phone charges.
  6. Volume - These are the volume settings for your speaker (what you hear) and microphone (what attendees hear).
  7. Display Closed Captions - Moderators can assign a Captioner to provide live closed captioning of the webinar. Captioners type what is being said during a session, and other attendees can view what is being typed in real time. You can have multiple captioners for multiple languages. TIP: This provides an accessible learning experience for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as for students whose native language is different from the moderator's.

8. Notification Settings (In My Settings)

Moderators can adjust their visual and audio notification settings, so they are aware when a participant interacts with the webinar.

  1. Notification Settings - Users can set their notification settings so that they receive an audio or visual notification when an attendee: joins or leaves the Main Room or Breakout group, posts a chat message, when closed captioning is available, and when someone raises their hand.

9. Session Settings (In My Settings)

  1. Show Profile Pictures - This option allows a moderator to choose if profile pictures will be displayed for all all participants or just moderators.
  2. Participant Settings - Moderators can choose the level of participant interaction. They can allow them to share audio or video, post chat messages or draw on the whiteboard or files. TIP: When presenting with the whiteboard or files that you do not want participants to interact with, it is recommended to turn off the "Draw on whiteboard and files" setting.
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