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Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate promotes a depth and breadth to the online teaching and learning experience. The use of Collaborate tools for either synchronous or asynchronous content delivery is yet another way to teach to different intelligences and learning styles.

Collaborate is a synchronous, virtual classroom. Its features include multi-way audio and video, easy upload of PowerPoint presentations, application sharing, polling, and more—all designed to make the online classroom experience as robust as possible. Every session may be archived for review/reuse. Note that this tool is best used in a wired environment and can be bandwidth-intensive, depending on what features are used.

Collaborate Launcher

To join a Collaborate session or watch a recording, you will first need to download and install the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher. First time users will be prompted to download this application but there will always be a direct download link on the Room Details page of a session.

When you run the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher installation file please know that different browsers handle this scenario differently and the behavior of each browser may vary depending on your browser settings.  Some may have you save the installation file before you run it, while others may allow you to run it immediately.  Once you have completed the installation of the launcher, you will be able to run the .collab files. NOTE: You may have to restart your browser following the installation of the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher.

You can now open the meeting.collab or play.collab files downloaded when you click the Join Session button with the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher.

Windows Help Links:

Mac Help Links:

Training and Documentation


We provide a test Collaborate session so that users can confirm whether or not their computer is set up to successfully access the system. Before accessing the session, you can watch a video demonstration of how to launch the test session. Once you review that, go to the Collaborate test session.

Loading and Preloading Content

There is no way to preload your PowerPoint (PPT or PPTX) files into a Collaborate session. You will first need to convert your presentation to a Whiteboard (WBD) file. In order to do this, you can follow the steps outlined in the Preloading Slides Into Collaborate [PDF] document.

If Collaborate tells you that your PPT or PPTX file is not supported when you click on Load Content, you may have an incompatible version of PowerPoint installed on your computer. To load your presentation, you can follow the steps outlined in the Loading Presentations As Images Into Collaborate [PDF] document.


If your computer cannot run the Collaborate Launcher because of your operating system, then you should try the following steps to resolve any issues you have with launching Collaborate:

  1. Go to Collaborate's First Time Users page. Make sure you see two green checkmarks for your operating system and Java version. If not, follow the prompts to resolve those issues.
  2. Associate JNLP files with Java Web Start. This is different for PCs and Macs.
    1. PC (Windows) Computers [PDF] [Video]
    2. Mac Computers [PDF]
  3. If you are still having issues, contact the Instructional Technology Group at 215-895-1224 or

Recent security updates released by Apple may be preventing users running Mac OS X 10.8.4 from launching sessions automatically. Please refer to the instructions for this Known Issue.