go to submitting assignments
go to Safe Assignments
go to digital dropbox
go to posting to a discussion board
go to taking tests
go to participating in virual classroom
go to sending emails
go to group work
Students > Using Blackboard >Participating in Virtual Classroom

Participating in virtual Classroom


What is the Viraual Classroom

The Virtual Classroom is part of Collaboration feature in Blackboard which allows users to have synchronous or real time communication. There are two types of Collaboration sessions in Blackboard: Virtual Classroom and Lightweight Chat.
Lightweight Chat
is a text-based chat room where live discussions can take place.
Virtual Classroom has capability to use various tools, inlcuding drawing tools, web tool,
Before using the Online Collaboration in Blackboard, you should consider the following:

  • The Collaboration session is a Java application that may be slow downloading.
  • You must have Java and JavaScript enabled on your web browser to run the Collaboration session.
  • Since the Collaboration sesssion is in real time, you will have to be online at the scheduled time in order to participate.

Note: Use of Lightweight Chat is in the samilar way as the Chat in Virtual Classroom. We'll only discuss the Virtual Classtroom here.

To access Collaboration Sessions

1. Click on the Communication button from the Navigation Menu Bar.
2. Select Collaboration.
3. Choose a online session you want to participate, and click the Join button.
You can also use the Filter drop menu or Search by function to find a specific collaboration sesstion.


Virtual Classroom Environment

When you enter the Virtual Classroom environment, you will see your name on the display area notifying other users that you have joined the session.

Return to Top

The virtual Classroom Menu Bar

The Virtual Classroom Menu Bar allows the user to manage participation in the Virtual Classroom, including how to view messages, clearing information in the display window, and creating breakout sessions.

  • View - Choose an option for viewing Personal Messages in the Virtual Classroom.
    Select Show in-line to view private messages within the chat area. Select Show in separate frame to view private messages in a separate window.
  • Clear - Clear the session display
  • Breakouts - Create a breakout room for a group of users.
    Allows users to participate in a separate session, while also participating in the main session. Users who enter a breakout session are still active in the main Virtual Classroom session. If a breakout session in closed, users are still active in the main session. Breakout sessions default to the same settings as the main session.
The Virtual Classroom Tool Box

The Classroom Tool box enables participants to use the different tools available within the Virtual Classroom. Participants can use the Whiteboard, access websites, and view the course map.The Classroom Tool box appears on the left side of the Virtual Classroom. To begin using items in the Tool box click the name of the tool.

Return to Top

Course Map

The Course Map enables users to browse and view course content while they are in a Virtual Classroom session.

To display an element: Click Content in the Course Map, and select "Display To Class" in the drop-down list.

To display an element on the map in a separate window: Click Content in the Course Map and select "Preview in New Window" in the drop-down list. The new window is only visible to the user accessing it.

To refresh the Course Map during a collaboration session: Click Refresh Tree in the drop-down list. This will update the Course Map to match the latest course menu on the course website.


The Whiteboard enables users in the Virtual Classroom to present different types of information as they would on a blackboard in a classroom. Using the tools in the Whiteboard Tools palette, users can draw images, type text, and present equations.

To select an item: Click the Arrow tool. Then click on an item for selection. The following actions may be performed on selected items:
Enlarge: Click one of the small black boxes that surround the item and drag it to the desired size.
Move: Click the item and move it to the desired location.

1. Cut: Click the Whiteboard Tools palette item, then click the Cut icon.
2. Copy: Click the Whiteboard Tools palette item, then click the Copy icon.
3. Paste: Click the Whiteboard Tools palette item, then click the Paste icon.
4. Delete: Click the Whiteboard Tools palette item; click on the selected object; then click the Delete icon.
5. Group items: Click the Whiteboard Tools palette items, then click the Group icon.
6. Ungroup: Click a Whiteboard Tools palette item in a group, then click the Ungroup icon.
7. Bring front: Click the Whiteboard Tools palette item; click on selected object; then click the Bring to front icon.
8. Bring back: Click the Whiteboard Tools palette item; click on selected object; then click the Send to back icon.
9. Select all figures on the Whiteboard: Click the Selects all Figures icon.
10. Erase conent in the display area: Click the Eraser tool and the cursor is changed into the eraser shape, hold down the mouse and move over orver the area to erase.

Return to Top

Group Browser

The Group Browser enables users to collectively browse the web during a Virtual Classroom session. The instructor and students can use this tool to open a URL that is viewable by all users. URLs used in the session will be recorded in the archive if one is created.

To open a website: Type the URL in the "Enter Address" field.

To choose where to display the website: Click Display To Class to display the window in the Whiteboard area of the Virtual Classroom, or click "Preview in New Window" to open the website in a new browser window. This window will only be displayed to the Instructor. (Click to see an example)


Return to Top

Ask Question

The Ask Question function enables users to ask questions during the session. As users submit questions during the session, the instructor and other students can view and respond to them.


To ask a question: Select Compose in the Ask Question area, enter the question in the text box, and click Send.

Question Inbox

Questions from users are sent to the Question Inbox during the Virtual Classroom session. The Question Inbox is used to manage and respond to these questions.


To respond to another user's question: Click the user's name in the "From" list and click the "Respond to Question" icon. The "Respond to Question" pop-up window will appear.

To delete a question: Click the user's name in the "From" list and click the "Delete" icon.

To view only questions that have not been answered: Click the checkbox next to "Show unanswered only."





Return to Top

More Information

A Java plug-in (Java 2 Run Time Environment 1.4.2_07 or higher) is required to use the Collaboration tools. This plug-in may be downloaded from the page that appears when a user joins a collaboration session, or may be found online at http://java.sun.com/products/plugin/.

Pop-up blockers will prevent the Virtual Classroom from opening. You must have all pop-up blocking software set to allow pop-ups from http://acconline.austincc.edu

If you are behind a firewall, the firewall must be configured to allow traffic on port 8443. This is the secure port used by the Virtual classroom.

If you are prompted to accept or run a security certificate, you must accept or run the security certificate to join the Virtual Classroom

Return to Top

© 2008 Bloomfield College, All right reserved | 467 Franklin Street Bloomfield, NJ 07003 | Contact Information
This site is maintained by the Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology