Blackboard Collaborate Troubleshooting Guide

This guide details some of the issues most commonly encountered by students and faculty and how to help resolve them.

The recommended web browsers for Blackboard Collaborate Ultra are Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Some issues can be resolved by switching web browsers, or by updating their web browser. Users can also open their browsers in incognito/private mode or disable all browser extensions except for WebRTC desktop sharing

Course Room vs Scheduled Session

Problem: I am in my session at the scheduled time but I do not see other participants. How do I fix this?

Solution: Some users may have gone into the course room instead of the intended scheduled session.

One option would be to lock the course room so students only have access to the scheduled sessions.

If you wish to keep the course room open for general use, it would be helpful to provide instructions directing students to which session they need to attend prior to the session.

Microphone/Camera Not Available

The image above shows the message users receive when Collaborate does not have permission to use the camera and microphone

Problem: How do I give permission for Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to use my webcam and microphone?

Solution: You will need to give permission for your web browser to use your webcam and microphone.  This is required to be done in order to use the camera and speak to users.

Here are instructions on how to give your web browser permission to use your webcam and microphone:

In addition you may need to allow permission in your operating system to use the webcam and microphone

Lenovo laptops with Lenovo Vantage installed may require additional permission settings to be enabled in Lenovo Vantage. More information can be found here

Additional troubleshooting information can be accessed here:

Problem: When I turn my camera on, I get a blank image
Check to make sure the camera shutter is open and that nothing is covering the camera. Some models of laptops and all in one devices have a built in shutter that is located on the top of the device. Additionally some devices may have a switch on the side of the device or on the keyboard that turns the camera on and off.

Low/No Volume

Problem: I have given permission for Blackboard to use my webcam and microphone, but I cannot hear other participants.

Solution: Increase the volume on your computer. You may need to open your system preferences menu to change some volume settings.

In Windows, right click on the speaker icon in the system tray and choose Playback to modify the speaker volume, and choose Recording to modify the microphone volume. You may need to select the device you wish to use from the list if you have multiple options available.

If selecting the output and input fails to resolve the issue, click on the Windows logo in the system tray, and type "audio" in the search bar, and select "FInd and fix audio playback problems." If the issue is with the microphone, select "Find and fix audio recording problems."

On the screen that appears, click Advanced, and then check the checkbox for Apply Repairs Automatically. Click Next to proceed. When the process is completed, restart your computer.

Windows 10 also allows users to control sound preferences for specific apps.  Someapps listen, others dont. Because Collaborate runs entirely in your browser, you have to check settings for your browser.

  1. Right-click the speaker icon in your system tray. This is usually at the lower right of your computer monitor.
  2. Select Open Sound Settings.
  3. Check your default Output device. Normally this will be the speakers or headphones you regularly use, but not always. You can use the dropdown menu to change yourdefault for the system.But some apps will save their own preferences.So we will need to check those as well.
  4. Scroll down until you see the Advanced sound options section.
  5. Click on the App volume and device preferences link
  6. Find your browser that you use for Collaborate in the list and check if you have options in the dropdown to select the sound source you expect to hear it from. This fixes most issues. Notice that there is also an Input option if you are having problems selecting the correct microphone.

On a Mac, click on the Apple logo in the top right corner of your screen and select System Preferences. Click Sound from the menu.

On the Output tab, select the device you are using and ensure the volume is turned up. On the Input tab, select the microphone you are using and ensure the volume is turned up.

Solution: If you have adjusted the sound profiles and volume on your computer, but you are still having problems, check the speakers and microphone you are using, especially if you are using external speakers. Check that the device is powered on and that the volume dial on the device is turned up. If your microphone has a mute button, you will want to check that the mute button is turned off.

Screen Sharing Issues

Problem: I am unable to share my screen in my Collaborate session.

Solution: Ensure the WebRTC Desktop Sharing Extension is installed in your web browser and enabled. In Chrome, type chrome://extensions to view installed browser extensions. In Firefox, type about://extensions to view installed browser extensions.

Solution: Some users on Mac OS 10.15 Catalina may find that they experience issues when trying to share their whole computer screen or a particular application/browser tab via Collaborate Ultra. Users will need to modify their operating system permission settings to allow their web browser to share their computer screen.

To resolve this issue:

  1. Select the Apple in the upper left hand corner of the screen
  2. Select System Preference
  3. Select Security & Privacy - Note:  You will need to unlock this window to make changes by clicking on the lock in the bottom left corner of this window
  4. Select the Privacy tab at the top of the dialog box
  5. Scroll down on the left hand side of the screen to Screen Recording
  6. Check the box next to Google Chrome or whichever browser you are running
  7. You will then be prompted to restart your browser
  8. Launch your Collaborate Ultra session again and start appshare

If you are using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra in your courses, you might want to share the following link with your students, as it provides detailed navigation guides on how to access Collaborate Ultra, participate and troubleshoot common issues.