Blackboard IM for Virtual Office Hours and Collaborative Group Work

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1 Blackboard IM for Virtual Office Hours and Collaborative Group Work Blackboard IM (Bb IM)is an instant collaboration solution designed to promote learning through group work and academic and administrative help. Bb IM also includes advanced features such as video chat, screen sharing, and a whiteboard. Creating a Blackboard IM Account Log into Blackboard. Click on your active course and select Tools in the Navigation panel. Scroll down and select Blackboard IM and add this tool to course menu settings Click on the Tool link and the following screen will appear. Enter requested information and submit. Tip: Select the suggest more option if you would like to have a more user friendly BbIM ID Complete the form entering the request information and select Submit 1

2 Once your account has been created, you can use the link created in the previous steps to access the Bb IM settings page. Check the courses that you would like to appear in the BB IM client. NOTE: You must also check the course in the Course Participant section to see the course in your Bb IM client Downloading and Installing Blackboard IM Download and install the Bb IM client to your computer by selecting the appropriate link, (Windows or MAC) from the Download Blackboard IM graphic at the top of your Settings page. This process will install the Bb IM client on your computer and the client is what you will use after installation is completed. You DO NOT start a Bb IM session by logging into Blackboard. Note: The Bb IM client can be installed on more than more computer making it easy to keep in touch with friends and classmates, even if you are not at your primary computer. Once the Bb IM is installed, access the Preferences menu and complete the various options that are available 2

3 Using Blackboard IM 1. Start Bb IM and anter your Bb IM ID. 2. Enter your password. 3. Click the sign in button. The Black Board IM Interface Chat Chat is the simplest form of communication in Blackboard IM and, in many cases it is also the most effective. Also known as instant messaging, Chat allows you to send a message, which is received immediately, to any user currently logged in to Bb IM. The user can then reply to your message and you can have a conversation via a series of instant messages. Starting a new Chat To Start a New Chat, do one of the following: 1. Double-click the name of the user you wish to contact in either the Contacts or Classmates tab. 2. Click the name of the user you wish to contact and press the Enter key on your keyboard 3. Click the name of the user you wish to contact and select Chat from the Tools menu. A new Text Chat window opens. 1. Click in the Text Input Area at the bottom of the Chat window and type your message. 2. Press return on your keyboard to send the message. Group Chat Similar to regular chat, Group Chat allows you to chat with multiple users at the same time. You can invite new participants to a Group Chat either while creating it, or after the session has already been created. Any participant, including the creator of the Group Chat, can leave a session at any time and the other participants are still able to continue the session. 3

4 Starting a New Group Chat Session To Start a New Group Chat: 1. Select at least one of the users that you wish to invite in either the Contacts or Classmates tab. You can invite multiple users at the same time (you can always invite additional participants later). 2. Right-click (Ctrl-click on Mac) the name of one of the selected users and select Invite to Group Chat > New Group Chat. Or click on the Tools menu and select the option Group Chat > New Group Chat. 3. The Invite to Group Chat window opens. Type a name for the session. 4. Click Invite. The new session is created, a Group Chat window opens, and invitations are sent to all of the users in the Invited list. Office Hours Office Hours takes the concept of Group Chat one step further by creating a waiting room in which users line up to speak to the course instructor in the order that they enter the chat. It is especially useful for situations in which an instructor needs to communicate with multiple users in a structured setting. Starting a New Office Hours Session The process for starting a new Office Hours session is different than for other types of chat in Blackboard IM because you don't have to invite other users. Instead, you set your status to Office Hours and other users can contact you by joining your session. To Start a New Default Office Hours Session 1. Click the Status Bar. 2. Select Office Hours. Your status changes to Office Hours and a new Office Hours window opens. To Start a New Custom Office Hours Session 1. Click the Status Bar. 2. Select Custom below Office Hours. The Edit Custom Status window opens. 3. Select the desired settings for your Office Hours session and click OK. Note: If you check the Office Hours messaging only box, you cannot receive instant messages from other users while hosting an Office Hours session. 4

5 Calling Calling can be used to make online communication more fluid and natural. Also known as Voice over IP (VoIP), Calling allows you to have a real-time audio conversation with any user currently logged in to Bb IM. You can use Calling with your computer's built-in microphone and speakers; but for the best call quality, it is recommended that you have a USB headset with an integrated microphone. Starting a New Call To start a new Call, do the following: 1. Select the name of the user you wish to call in either the Contacts or Classmates tab and click the Call button. 2. The Audio & Video window opens. If it is not already open, a Chat window for the user also opens. 3. When the user accepts the call, the Talk button becomes active. Click the Talk button to start transmitting audio. Video Calling Video Calling allows you to have a real-time, face-to-face conversation with any user currently logged in to Blackboard IM. Video Calling in Bb IM is unique because both participants do not need to have video capability in order to participate; using blended media, it is possible for one user to participate using video, while another user participates using only audio. Starting a New Video Call To Start a New Video Call, do the following: 1. Select the name of the user you wish to call in either the Contacts or Classmates tab and click the Call button. 2. The Audio & Video window opens. If it is not already open, a Chat window for the user also opens. 3. When the user accepts the call, the Talk and Video buttons becomes active. Initially, the call only uses audio. Click the Talk and Video buttons to start transmitting audio and video. Video Capture Video Capture allows you to capture a still image from a Video Call and either save it to your hard drive, or send it to an open Whiteboard session. To capture an image: 5

6 1. Move your cursor over the Audio & Video window and click the Capture Snapshot button. The Video Capture window will open. 2. From the Video Capture window, you can select whether you wish to capture Broadcast video only, Preview video only, or both. Then click the Save button to save the image to your hard drive or the Send to Whiteboard button to send the image to a Whiteboard session. Collaboration The Collaboration window enables you to exchange information ideas with others. You can share: a whiteboard with drawings and presentations a region of your screen (via the Screen Sharing feature) websites (via the Web Tour feature) Using the Whiteboard The Whiteboard is a collaboration tool that allows two or more users to synchronously view and modify objects and text on shared pages. Whiteboards are object-oriented, meaning that you can add and modify content independently of other objects on the page. You can use Whiteboards in conjunction with other Blackboard IM features, such as Chats, Calls, Office Hours, and Help Desks. Starting a White Board Session To Start a New Whiteboard Session, do one of the following: 1. Double-click the name of the user you wish to contact in either the Contacts or Classmates tab. A new Text Chat window opens. 2. Click the Collaboration button. Or select the name of the user you wish to call in either the Contacts or Classmates tab. Click on the Tools menu and select the option Collaborate > Invite to Collaborate. 3. The Collaboration Window opens and a Whiteboard session starts. Tips: You can start a Whiteboard session without another participant by changing your status to Office Hours and then clicking the Whiteboard button in the Office Hours window. Using Screen Sharing Screen Sharing allows you to share a live view of a portion of the screen on your computer with other Blackboard IM users. When you host a Screen Sharing session, other users can see your screen just as if they were physically sitting at your computer. You can choose exactly how much and which part of your screen you want to display. You can also give another user cursor and 6

7 keyboard control of your desktop, allowing them to control and modify anything displayed on your screen. Starting Screen Sharing To start a new Screen Sharing Session, do the following: 1. If it s not already open, open the Collaboration Window. 2. On the Collaboration Window, click the Screen Sharing button. The Screen Sharing Window opens. 3. The resizable frame controls how much of your screen is displayed to other users; only the area contained within the box is shared. You can move the frame around by dragging any of the dashed edges and resize it by grabbing one of the eight control points located at the corners and on each side of the box. Blackboard IM Assistance Select the chevrons at the right end of the File menu, then select Help > Blackboard IM Help. 7

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