Using Groups in Collaborate




Blackboard Collaborate incorporates features that allow you to facilitate small group collaboration. Using the Breakout Group tool, you can create breakout groups that are separate from the main room and assign students to these rooms. Breakout groups have their own private audio, video, whiteboard, application sharing, and chat. Any collaboration that takes place in a group is independent of the Main room (and other breakout groups). Every attendee in the group is a presenter, which means all attendees can share the whiteboard, files, and applications with the rest of their group. The Breakout Groups feature is only available in sessions with 250 or fewer attendees.

If you are new to Collaborate, please read the Getting Started in Collaborate and Collaborate Interface Tools pages first.

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Using Breakout Groups Video (0:58)

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How to Start and End Breakout Groups

Start Breakout Groups

Collaborate can create groups and randomly assign attendees or you can create the groups on your own.

  1. Inside a Collaborate session, open the Share Content panel from the Collaborate panel.Share Content button
  2. Select Breakout Groups.Breakout groups
  3. Assign groups: Select Randomly assign or Custom assignment.
    • Randomly assign: Collaborate creates groups and randomly assigns attendees for you.
      • Only available when there are four or more people are in the room.
      • If you want to be in a group, select Include moderators in group assignment.
      • Change how many attendees are in each group by selecting the number of groups from the Number of Groups menu.
      • If you don’t like how the attendees are grouped, select Reassign attendees.
    • Custom assignment: Create your own groups.
      • Assign attendees to a group. You can select the attendee’s options menu and select the group. You can also select the attendee and drag them to the right group.
      • Select Create a new group to add more groups.
      • You can create up to 20 groups.
  4. Optionally, select Allow attendees to switch groups, if you want attendees to be able to move to another group on their own.
  5. Select Start.

End Breakout Groups

To end breakout groups and bring all attendees back to the main room, select End Breakout Groups. This button can be found at either the top of the Attendees panel (left image) or beside Breakout Groups in the Share Content Panel (right image). After you end breakout groups, all attendees are moved back to the main room.

End Groups on Attendees Panel End Groups on Share Content Panel


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Monitoring Groups

After starting a breakout groups session, you can move in between groups to monitor and/or participate in them. When assigned to a group, you can see and hear what other attendees in the group are doing. This includes any shared content, audio, video, and chat.

To see how other groups are doing, you will need to join those groups. To join other groups, go to the Attendees panel and select Join Group.

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Moving Students to Other Groups

Attendees can also be moved to other groups by the moderator. To move attendees to another group:

  1. Go to the Attendees Panel, find an attendee, and select the Moderator controls.
  2. Select Move to another group (this will open the Breakout Groups panel).
  3. Move attendee to another group via two different ways.
    • Select the attendee’s options menu and select the group.
    • Select the attendee and drag them to the new group.
  4. Select Update.


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Group Presentation Recordings

Instructors can make a Collaborate online meeting room available inside CourseWeb groups, and optionally allow students to record their session. For example, one or more students could upload PowerPoint slides and narrate the presentation for an assignment.

Faculty should first create groups in CourseWeb (see Create Groups post). When creating the groups, under the Tool Availability section and the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra area, make sure to select the entry Allow all group members to create and access session recordings.Edit Collaborate settings when creating groups in Course Web

For students:

  1. Access their group from the Course Web content menu.
  2. Choose the Collaborate tool.Choose collaborate from Group menu
  3. Click the Join Room button. Join room to access collaborate session
  4. Once in Collaborate, students can prepare their session by uploading any files and confirm their microphone is on and working.
  5. Students then choose the menu at the top left and select Start Recording. After the session is over, the recording will become available in about as much time as the length of the recording. It will be located on the group’s Collaborate page.Choose start recording

The recording is only available to group members and instructors/TAs via the group’s Collaborate page. Students cannot share a link or download the recording. Only the instructor/TA has the ability to get a link to the recording, edit the name, and delete the recording.

These student instructions will also appear in the Student Knowledge Base articles under Collaborate.

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