Recommended Equipment for Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing Sessions

To get the most out of using Blackboard Collaborate it is advisable to have:

  1. a headset or microphone so you can fully participate in live sessions
  2. a computer that meets the minimum specifications (see below)

Optional: Blackboard Collaborate offers good quality video conferencing. Users who wish to take advantage of the video conferencing option in Blackboard Collaborate will need to acquire and set up a Web camera. However, this is completely optional.

Headsets and Microphones

Options include:

  • a headset with attached noise-canceling microphone (highly recommended)
  • a microphone and computer speakers

Note: Due to potential "echo" issues when using speakers, SLIS strongly recommends the headset option at this time. However, if you have a microphone that includes "echo cancellation" support, then you may be able to use speakers instead.

There are two types of connection plugs:

  • USB plug USB connector, which will plug into any USB port on your computer. (Recommended)
  • Phono jack type plug Two 3.5mm connector plugs that connect to the microphone and headset ports on your computer.
    (Note that this is different than single-connector 2.5mm telephone headsets.)

Gigaware headset with microphone

Most microphones and headsets work fine so feel free to pick any you'd like. However, some students have used the following headsets or microphones and found they worked well.

Gigaware USB Stereo Headset with Microphone
This digital headset fits comfortably and doesn't give headaches from a too-tight fit. (Digital, model 4300079 available from Radio Shack.)

Behind the head style headset

Plantronics Behind-the-Head Stereo Headset with Microphone
Easy to use, very comfortable, can be purchased in-store or online. (Analog, available from Best Buy, Fry's and other sources.)

Headsets from Microsoft and Logitech (with noise-canceling mics)

Computer Minimum Specifications

PC/Windows:

  • Supported versions of Windows and Java:
    • Windows XP (32 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • Windows Vista (32 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • Windows Vista (64 bit) with 64 bit Java
    • Windows 7 (32 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • Windows 7 (64 bit) with 64 bit Java
    • Windows 8 (32 bit) with 32 bit Java  -Provisionally Supported
    • Windows 8 (64 bit) with 64 bit Java  -Provisionally Supported
  • Supported Client Java Versions (Please Note - Blackboard Collaborate Support recommends that you use Java 1.6.0_13 or higher for the best experience!)
    • 1.6 (32 and 64 bit)  -also known as Java 6
    • 1.7 (32 and 64 bit)  -also known as Java 7
    • 32 bit Java with 32 bit Operating System
    • 64 bit Java with 64 bit Operating System
    • Java Access Bridge 2.0.1 (Using Jaws)
  • Supported Browsers for use with Blackboard Collaborate
    • IE 7
    • IE 8
    • IE 9
    • IE 10 (provisionally supported)
    • Firefox (Latest Stable Release)
    • Google Chrome (Latest Stable Release)
  • 256 MB of free RAM
  • 20 MB free disk space
  • 28.8 kbps Internet connection
  • A headset is preferred, or speaker and microphone. 
  • Webcam (optional)

MAC:

  • Supported versions of Mac OS X and Java:
    • OS X 10.6 (64 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • OS X 10.6 (64 bit) with 64 bit Java
    • OS X 10.7 (64 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • OS X 10.7 (64 bit) with 64 bit Java
    • OS X 10.8 (64 bit) with 32 bit Java
    • OS X 10.8 (64 bit) with 64 bit Java
  • Supported Client Java Versions:
    • Apple Java 1.6.0_07 (J2SE6 - 64 bit) or higher
    • Oracle Java 1.7
  • Supported Browsers for use with Blackboard Collaborate:
    • Safari 5.x or higher
    • Firefox (Latest Stable Release)
  • 256 MB of free RAM
  • 20 MB free disk space
  • 28.8 kbps Internet connection
  • A headset is preferred, or speaker and microphone.
  • Webcam (optional)

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