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Online Classrooms (Blackboard Collaborate)

Blackboard Collaborate

Josh Lund and his colleagues in FITS have some useful advice for those of you using Online Classrooms (Blackboard Collaborate) in Desire2Learn:

When you are running an Online Classrooms session, there is a command to copy breakout whiteboards to the main room. This will bring them in as separate areas under the pull-down box that usually says "public room" in the upper righthand corner of your screen.

For example, you might create three rooms, and the participants each drew on the whiteboard. When copied them back in, they showed up in the menu as Room 1-1, Room 2-1 and Room 3-1. This also means that if they had created additional pages in the whiteboard, they would have been copied in as 2-2, 2-3, etc.

It may be that you have to copy the stuff back in before you close the rooms and bring participants back, so here's the order FITS suggests:

  1. When participants are ready to return, copy the breakout whiteboards to the main room.
  2. Then bring back the participants to the main room.
  3. Finally, close the empty breakout rooms. You should have access to all the whiteboards now.

Josh Lund and his colleagues had an interesting experience trying to get recording files from Online Rooms, as they had assumed that it would generate a downloadable, playable video file like Wimba does. This is not the case, however. The upside is that the archives can be viewed online through a native player by anyone who has access to the room, so they can't be downloaded, which might be good for students viewing group presentations, etc.

There is software available to download that will let you generate a video file and transcripts of text chat, etc. if you do need to. It's available for download free


Java Troubleshooting for Online Rooms on the Mac

Josh Lund (of FITS) found a solution to some of the Java issues that Mac users of Online Rooms might be encountering. Here is his solution:

The newest version of Java uses some settings by default that can make it hard for the Collaborate program to start on Macs. If you go to System Preferences, you will see a new icon for the Java Console:


The Java Console will open in a separate window. Go to the Advanced tab and scroll down until you see the following dialogue:


By default, the system is set to prompt the user to accept a .jnlp file, which the Collaborate application does not do, so the classroom doesn’t launch the Java Console and open the room. Change the setting as follows:


This seems to fix the issue, and has worked so far. The file that gets downloaded when you start Online rooms will be automatically triggered to open, which will allow the application to load.



The DePaul Online Teaching Series II (DOTS II) is a sister program to DOTS, and focuses on the delivery of the online course, not the design. In this program, faculty learn and apply pedagogical strategies of effective online teaching. Topics include moderation of online discussion, appropriate ways to give students feedback, synchronous technologies, Web 2.0 tools and time management strategies, among others.

There are two upcoming session which may be of interest to faculty in the College of Business:

DOTS II, Track I: Building Community
Will run from May 6–May 20

DOTS II, Track II: Making the Most of Synchronous Tool
Will run from May 14–21

Registration is available at

DOTS II is offered 100% online. Participants will experience being an online student, which will allow them to experience group activities, online discussion, and online learning activities from a student perspective. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to interact with peers who have a shared commitment to online learning and enable them to develop a sustainable network of online-ready instructors.




DePaul is launching a new synchronous learning platform called Collaborate during Spring Quarter 2012. If you are interested in potentially holding a synchronous class session in Collaborate, please submit this form to indicate your interest and a representative from Faculty Instructional Technology Services (FITS) will add you to a mailing list to receive updates when training opportunities and documentation become available.


Loop Campus Plans for G-8/NATO Summits


DePaul University has announced plans for the G-8/NATO Summits:

Because of the traffic congestion and disruptions anticipated in and around the Loop during the G-8/NATO summits, DePaul will close the Loop Campus from Friday, May 18, through Monday, May 21. There will be no access to Loop offices or classrooms. The Loop Campus will reopen on Tuesday, May 22.

Faculty scheduled to teach in the Loop on any of those days should watch their email for information on making alternative arrangements for affected class periods. Your options will include relocating Friday or Saturday classes to designated classrooms in Lincoln Park, rescheduling Monday classes for a weekend, creating an alternative assignment for students to pursue on their own in place of class or delivering instruction online for any of these days.

You will find information about online instruction, relocating and rescheduling classes on The Teaching Commons (, DePaul's central online teaching resource. As you prepare syllabi for spring quarter courses, please keep these options in mind. Classes at our Lincoln Park, O'Hare and suburban campuses will follow their normal schedules.

For the latest updates, including FAQs, from DePaul on how the summits will affect the university, visit Newsline Online's G-8/NATO summits information page:

We encourage everyone to update their contact information for DPU Alert, our emergency notification system. To do so, log into Campus Connection, click Demographic Portfolio on the left menu bar and select the DPU Alert option.

A number of exciting educational opportunities for DePaul will arise from these global summits, and they will be covered in Newsline and Newsline Online ( in the coming months. Faculty are including lessons related to this unprecedented, back-to-back gathering of world leaders in Chicago into some of their courses.

What does this mean for Commerce faculty?
There are two recommended options that you may choose to employ, that will allow you to cover material that your students would otherwise miss:

1: Pre-recorded Content
Your presentation can be recorded beforehand, and then made available to your students via Desire2Learn. Please contact James Moore or Josh Lund if this is something you would like to do.

2: Live (Synchronous)Webinar
You can teach your class at a distance, using the Wimba Classroom (or Blackboard Collaborate - the successor to Wimba Classroom) and Desire2Learn. Please contact James Moore or Josh Lund if this is something you would like to do.

A dedicated webinar training session will be offered to Commerce faculty on April 24th from 10-11 a.m. as part of Technology Tuesdays. You can register for this training here:

Online documentation and training for using Wimba can be found here. FITS and Teaching Commons are working on Blackboard Collaborate faculty resources.

Contact Information

James Moore
Director of Online Learning, College of Commerce
Telephone: +1 (312) 362-5701

Josh Lund
FITS Consultant to The College of Commerce
Telephone: +1 (312) 362-6689
Cellphone: +1 (630) 962-9764


Wimba and Browser Advice from FITS

FITS has this to say about Wimba and browsers:

Please be aware that systems (like D2L and Wimba) are not always able to keep up with the most recent version (many of them Beta) of popular browsers. For those of you using Wimba be aware that the most recent version of Firefox is not supported by Wimba.

For D2L browser compatibility see:

For Wimba browser compatibility see:

Looking at Synchronous Tools

The university will be looking closely at four synchronous communication tools later in the year. I will be posting information here when I have details, but in the meantime here are the four products we are interested in

  1. Adobe Connect
  2. Webex
  3. Microsoft Lync
  4. Wimba

Wimba and Desire2Learn


FITS (Faculty Instructional Technology Services) has updated DePaul’s Wimba documentation. There is a new three-page PDF handout on the Teaching Commons website that explains how to add the Wimba Classroom to your Desire2Learn courses. The PDF handout can be downloaded here.

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