Skip to main content

Manage Sessions

Last updated: May 12, 2022.

From the Scheduler sessions list, select Create Session. The Create session panel is organized by tabs.

The tabs you see depend on if you create sessions from inside your course or not. Only event details are required to create the session. The other tabs are optional.

  •  Event details: Basic information required for a session. 
  •  Invitations: Optionally, send email invitations to specific attendees. 
    • Note: This feature is only available from the Scheduler web page. You can’t send invitations from inside LMS courses.
  •  Session Settings: Optionally, decide if users can download recordings, share audio or video, post chat messages, and more.
  • Attendance Reporting: Optionally, share session attendance data to your Blackboard Learn course.
    • Note: This feature is only available in Blackboard Learn.

Event Details

Event details include the name, date, and time of a session. Decide if the session is open-ended or recurring.

Tip: Sessions that last longer than 12 hours are disconnected. Recordings also limited to 8 hours.

Make the name something meaningful for your attendees so they know what the session is for.

Note: Collaborate uses your computer’s local time zone for session start and end times.

You can also allow guest access from the Event Details tab.

Edit recurring sessions

Recurring sessions are based on the first session in the series. To change the time of the whole series, make the update in the first occurrence. You can also update individual occurrences.

  1. From the Scheduler find the recurring session.
  2. Expand the session to see all occurrences.
  3. Select the Session options menu and select Edit occurrence.
  4. Edit the occurrence and save.

Sessions that run for very long are automatically disconnected

By default, sessions that last longer than 12 hours are disconnected. While sessions can be scheduled for any length of time including no end date, it’s unusual that anyone stays in the session for more than 12 hours at a time. We assume it is unintended and disconnect the room. Attendees can rejoin the session, if they need.

Guest access

Guests are attendees who don’t need to sign into the session or be enrolled in your course to join the session. Guests don’t require authentication.

When you allow guest access, a guest link is available for the session. This link is a public link that can be used and shared by anyone who has it. Anyone with the guest link can join the session.

Guest access is off by default to limit access to authenticated attendees. If you want to keep your session secure, don’t use guest links.


After you allow guest access, choose a role for your guests based on the permissions you want to give them. Make sure you understand the different roles and their permissions before assigning them to guests.


If you allow attendees to teleconference into your session, anonymous dial-in information is also available. As with guest links, anybody who has the dial-in information can use it. You also won’t know who the attendee is as they’ll be anonymous. If you want to keep your session secure, don’t share the anonymous dial-in information. Attendees can still teleconference but with dial-in information that authenticates them.


Remove guest access

If you allow guest access and change your mind later, clear the Guest access check box in the session’s Event Details tab. Any guest links that were previously shared will no longer work. The session is still active but the guest link is broken. Attendees will need to join from your course or email invitation.

Session Settings

Session Settings lets you control what you want to allow in your session. Some settings you need to set before the session begins. Other settings you can change any time before or during the session.

Settings to make before sessions begin

While most settings can be changed any time during the session, you must set some settings before the session begins, if you want to use them.

  • Guest access
  • Default Attendee Role
  • Anonymize chat messages
  • Enable session telephony
  • Private chat settings
  • Profanity filter
  • Allow 250+ attendees to join
    • Note: If you don’t see this large scale session option, it may not be available in your integration. Your administrator can set this for you.
  • Multimedia: Use AWS Chime for audio and video
  • More about Collaborate in Chime.

Settings you can change during a session

Some settings you can change during the session. If you want to change settings during a session, open the Collaborate panel, select My Settings, and open Session Settings.

  • Choose your preferred language
  • Only show moderator profile pictures
  • Gallery view
  • Participant permissions
  • Multimedia: Use AWS Chime for audio and video
  • Caution: If you apply this change while a session is running, you must keep the session empty – with no attendees – for 5 minutes for the change to take effect. This also applies when switching from your standard Collaborate sessions to AWS Chime, and from AWS Chime to standard sessions. More about Collaborate in Chime.

Default attendee role

By default, everyone joins the session as a participant. Session owners and course instructor join as a moderators. Use the Default Attendee Role menu to change the default for guests and students. 

You can’t change the default during the session. But if there is no end date for the session, you can change the default before the next time you use it.

Make sure you understand the different roles and their permissions before making any a default.



Moderators can record their sessions and share them. The recordings are saved as MP4 files. Users can stream or download them to view them. Recordings capture the audio, video, and any content that is shared during a session. Recordings also capture any real time captions or subtitles available during the session. If there are more than one captions available during the session, the recording will capture only the first one.


Session recording settings

  • Allow recording downloads: If you are the session owner, you don’t need to turn this option on to download recordings. Session owners, course instructors, and administrators can always download recordings. The Allow recording downloads check box lets others download the recording. Select this option to let your attendees and students download recordings. 
    • Tip: You can turn this setting on after the session has ended. If the session has ended, change the session end date to the current or a future date and select Save.
    • Caution: The Collaborate Downloader Chrome Extension allows users to download the recording even if the Allow recording downloads check box is not selected.
  • Anonymize chat messages and mentions (@): Chat messages and mentions @ posted during the session appear as anonymous posts in the recording. You need to plan ahead with this option and turn it on before recording the session. Once the recording has started you can’t change your mind. This option is not reversible.

Choose your preferred language

Up until now, Collaborate used the default language set in your browser, which may not be your preferred language. Now you can choose any language supported by Collaborate as your default language during a session in Session Settings. Your selection is then remembered by this browser on this device for your next sessions.

In order to improve security and in support of this release, Blackboard will implement product changes that will strengthen security of Collaborate integrations. This change will roll out as part of the release automatically within the scheduled release window.

Show profile pictures for moderators only

If you want to keep your session secure and free from inappropriate profile pictures, only allow moderators to show theirs. If selected, participant profile pictures don’t appear anywhere profile pictures are seen in the session. This includes in the Attendees list, chat, breakout groups, and on the main stage. The default avatar appears for participants instead.

Gallery view lets you see the most students at one time. With this view you can see up to 25 attendees on a page. 25 is the optimum number of videos you can show on a page and still see enough detail for visual non-verbal feedback.

With the Gallery view settings you can decide if:

  • Everyone in the session can use Gallery view
  • Only moderators can use Gallery view
  • Turn Gallery view off for everyone

When you disable gallery view, up to 4 videos are visible. Attendees can’t choose to see more.

Participant permissions

By default, all participant permissions are on for sessions with fewer than 250 participants. Participants can share share audio, video, post chat messages, and draw on whiteboards and files. Clear any check box to turn off the permission.

You can change participant permissions any time before or during the session. These settings turn the permission on or off for all participants. You can’t change permissions for just one participant. If you want certain attendees to have different permissions, change their role.

Participant permissions don’t change what moderators and presenters can do.

For larger sessions all participant permissions are off by default and can’t be changed. To learn more, go to Settings in webinar mode.

Enable session telephony

Select Allow attendees to join the session using a telephone to let attendees dial into the session teleconference. Up to 25 attendees can call into a session from the phone. If the maximum number of dial-in attendees has been reached, nobody else can call in.

You can’t change this setting during the session. If you want to let attendees dial in, select this check box before the session starts.

Private chat settings

Private chat between attendees is on by default but you can limit how it’s used.

  • Participants can only chat with moderators: When selected, participants can only chat privately with moderators. If you don’t select it, participants can chat privately with any body else in the session.
  • Moderators supervise all private chats: When selected, moderators can see everything that is said in private chat channels between attendees. An alert appears at the top of the private chat channel informing attendees that the chat is being supervised. If you don’t select it, you don’t see the private chat channels.


Use a toll-free number

Save your students long distance charges and add a toll-free number for session dial in. Owners of the toll-free number are responsible for the charges instead.

Note: Collaborate doesn’t provide toll-free numbers. If you don’t already have one, you can purchase them from services like Toll-Free Forwarding

  1. Set up your toll-free number to forward to one of Collaborate’s dial-in telephony numbers.
  2. Submit a request to replace the number in the session user interface with the toll-free number on Class Community and Support.

Chat profanity filter

If someone uses inappropriate words in the chat, those words can be filtered out in both the live session and the recording. The words are replaced with a series of stars.

The profanity filter primarily filters out some of the most commonly used offensive terms relating to race/national origin and gender identity/expression, as well as derogatory slang for body parts or sexual acts. It is in English, French, and Spanish. It is primarily intended for use by K12 schools.  The default is that this feature is disabled. We understand that, by its nature, no such list will be complete and is likely to be over- or under-inclusive.

Moderators can turn it on in Session Settings.

  • Select the checkbox next to Hide profanity in chat messages
  1. End the current session
  2. Start a new session to apply the changed setting. Changes will also apply to subsequent session recordings.
  3. Caution: Reloading the session is not sufficient.

Turn on webinar mode

Caution: Webinar mode is not available for our clients on the Moderator Access (Classroom) license. It is available for clients on our Department and Enterprise licenses. For questions about your license or to upgrade, please contact your Blackboard Account Executive.

Change a session to webinar mode and support up to 500 attendees. To help manage the increased number of attendees, webinar sessions have these limitations.

  • Webinar sessions can’t be longer than 24 hours in length
  • Attendees see a maximum of 2 videos at a time
  • Guests must be assigned the participant role
  • Participant permissions are turned off.

Tip: Moderators can turn on chat while in the session.

  • Breakout groups aren’t available
  • Session ends and attendees are removed at the scheduled end time

To create a session in webinar mode, go to the Session Settings and select Allow 250+ attendees to join. If you don’t see the option in Session Settings, submit a request to enable it on Class Community and Support.

Invite attendees

You can invite users two ways:

  • Send a public guest link
  • Send a personal invitation

You can’t send invitations to sessions in a Learning Management System (LMS) course. Everyone enrolled the course has access to the session. If you want to invite someone not in your course, send them a guest link.


Bulk invite attendees

You can create a comma-separated(CSV) file and invite up to 500 attendees all at once.

Warning: Collaborate sessions support 250 attendees at a time. Administrators can turn on webinar mode to support large scale sessions of up to 500 attendees. If you invite more attendees than the session supports, not everybody invited will be able to join.

Start with the CSV. Limit the CSV file to 500 attendees. The CSV file must use these fields in this order and column headers written this way:

  • displayName (required)
  • email (required)
  • role (optional)
    • moderator
    • presenter
    • participant
  • If role is blank, participant is assigned by default.

Caution: CSV column headers must be written exactly as shown here. For example, use “displayName” not “Display Name”. The headers must also be in English. Translated headers don’t work.

Upload the file

  1. From Session Settings, select Invitations.
  2. Select Import Attendees.
  3. Select Import new attendees, browse for your CSV file and select Upload.
  4. If everything is ok, select Confirm to finish uploading the attendees. If there are errors, resolve them in the CSV file and upload the file again.
  5. Select Add To Session.
  6. Select Save to send the invitations.


Administrators, managers, and moderators can view reports from the Scheduler.