Getting the Best Quality out of Blackboard Collaborate Screenshare

Blackboard Collaborate’s Screenshare application allows you to show students everything on your screen (if you share your desktop) or everything in a particular application (if you only share that application). While Collaborate’s default settings are good for most situations, if you are going to be doing a lot of scrolling and looking in detail at webpages that you want your students to see via screenshare, there are some settings that you should pay attention to.

When you log into Blackboard Collaborate, you are asked to choose your connection speed.

Choose LAN for your connection

If you are at Northeastern, even on the wireless connection, your network connection will generally be very good, so you should choose LAN as your connection speed.

If you are not at Northeastern, you should do your best to use a wired ethernet connection because this will give you the best network quality. If you believe your connection is fast enough, choose LAN, otherwise, choose DSL/Cable or Wireless. You’ll get the best quality if you choose LAN.

You should ask your students to do this as well, or send the request ahead of time if you send them access instructions. Blackboard will slow down the session in order to meet the quality needs of everyone in the room, so if your students are asking for a slower connection than what they are capable of, it will reduce the quality of your session.

If you have already logged into Blackboard Collaborate, you can adjust your network setting by clicking on Blackboard Collaborate > Preferences.

Click on Collaborate Preferences

On a Windows machine, you would click on Edit > Preferences

Edit - Preferences

Then Click on Session and choose Connection Speed: LAN and Prompt for speed: When Location Changes

Click on Collaborate Preferences

Prompting when the location changes will remind you if you begin a session away from the University, so that you can consider whether to ask for a slower connection or not.

Next, it’s a good idea to sacrifice a small bit of quality for speed/responsiveness, which will make your scrolling less visible to students. In order to do this, from the Collaborate Preferences menu item, choose Hosting quality. From the Image Quality menu, click Highest Speed. Only the moderator of the session (by default, this is the instructor who created the session) will need to change this setting. Your students won’t need to make this adjustment.

Click on Hosting Quality - Highest speed

Once you make these changes, you should notice that the screen sharing performance is better and faster for everyone in your session.

Need help with Collaborate features? Visit our Collaborate Web Conferencing information page.

Note on Recording Collaborate Sessions

You may notice a drop in quality in the recorded version of a Collaborate session. Currently, Collaborate compresses the video, and there is no way to change the way the video is compressed. One way to minimize the effect of the compression is to record in the same resolution the video will be compressed in. For Windows computers, you should change your screen resolution to 1024×768. For Macs, you should change the display resolution to 1024 x 640. If you are not recording the session, you should not make this change. Changing the resolution of your screen will make everything on your desktop bigger and some applications or websites may look strange using this resolution.

Here’s a video that shows you how to change the screen resolution.

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