Having problems with Blackboard Collaborate?

Work through the steps on this page to try and fix the issues you are having with Collaborate.

Firstly, if you are joining from a Windows, Mac or Android device, please check you are using Google Chrome to access Blackboard CollaborateSafari should be used to join from an iPhone or iPad. Many issues, such as a frozen image can be fixed by reloading the Collaborate Session in your browser tab.

Access Blackboard Collaborate from China


My connection quality is intermittent, and sometimes the picture or sound drops out

Collaborate can be quite demanding on your internet connection. Collaborate is smart, and will dynamically adjust your experience to enable you to remain in the session for as long as possible, but follow the steps below to ensure a successful session.

Improve your Collaborate experience
  1. If sharing your webcam, turn it off


  2. If you’re able to use a wired internet connection instead of WiFi, please do so.


  3. Close all unused programs and browser tabs open on your computer that you’re not using. Pause any downloads or uploads on your computer.


  4. Check to see if others are using the same internet connection in your house. If possible, ask them to minimise internet usage - especially if they are streaming video or doing other network intensive activities.


  5. Try opening the session in an Incognito tab.


  6. Try clearing your browser cache, and reloading the session.


  7. Restart your computer.


  8. Try using Firefox instead of Chrome.


  9. Try dialling into the session using your phone. Calls are charged at the standard rate for phoning a UK landline.

If you are presenting in a session, you should use the Share File option to upload your presentation as a PDF, as this requires far less bandwidth than screen/application sharing.


I can’t hear anyone speaking

If others in the session can hear audio, but you can’t, you need to check your speakers.

Try opening YouTube in a new browser tab and play a video. If you can’t hear the video, ensure your system volume is turned up by clicking the volume icon in the taskbar. If you can now hear the YouTube video, pause it, return to Collaborate and reload the page. If you still cannot hear audio, please follow the steps below.

Check your sound output
  1. Blackboard Collaborate uses the system default audio output, so ensure this is set correctly.
    Change the default audio playback on Windows 10
    Change the default audio output on OSX



  1. Ensure your speaker volume within Collaborate is 100%. Click the Purple Collaborate Panel in the bottom right hand corner of the session > Settings Cog > Audio and Video Settings and check the Speaker Volume is 100%.

Screenshot showing Collaborate output volume at 100%




  1. Ensure your browser isn’t blocking audio. Click the padlock icon in your browser address bar, and click on Site Settings. Search for Sound, and check this is set to Allow.

Screenshot showing how to enable sound output in Chrome




  1. Try entering the session using Firefox.


  2. Dial into the session using a telephone. Click on the Session Settings menu on the top left hand side of the Collaborate session. Click ‘Use your phone for audio’. This will give you a UK (020) phone number to dial, and a unique PIN number. Calls are charged at the standard rate for phoning a UK landline. International numbers are available - just use the same PIN as displayed in the session. Dial *6 to mute and unmute yourself.

Screenshot showing the use your phone for audio


Others can’t hear or see me

When you join a Blackboard Collaborate Session, ensure you click ‘Allow’ on the pop up box that might appear.

Screenshot showing Collaborate browser permissions
If you didn’t see the pop up box, try reloading the page. Your microphone will be muted when you enter the session. To unmute yourself, click the white microphone icon with the diagonal line through it towards the bottom of the screen.

If others still cannot hear or see you, please follow the steps below.

Check your microphone and webcam
  1. Check the correct microphone and webcam is selected inside Blackboard Collaborate. Click the Purple Collaborate Panel in the bottom right hand corner of the session > Settings Cog > Audio and Video Settings and work through the Set up your camera and microphone menu. Select the correct microphone - you should see the purple bar moving when you speak

Screenshot showing the Collaborare Audio Setup Wizard




  1. If you have an external microphone, check it is plugged in to your computer, and that it has not been accidentally muted. Windows 10 users should follow this link to check their microphone has been installed correctly.




  2. Check your browser isn’t blocking your microphone or camera. Once in the Collaborate session, click the Microphone (or camera) icon to the right of the browser address bar. Ensure the option ‘Allow https://eu.collaborate.com to access your microphone and webcam’ is selected. Refresh the page after saving this change.

Screenshot showing how to force access to the webcam and mic in Chrome




  1. Check your operating system isn’t blocking access to your microphone or webcam. Follow the link below to find out how to grant access to Google Chrome (or Firefox if you are in China).
    Check Windows 10 Microphone & Camera privacy
    Check Mac OSX Microphone & Camera privacy




  2. Dial into the session using a telephone. Click on the Session Settings menu on the top left hand side of the Collaborate session. Click ‘Use your phone for audio’. This will give you a UK (020) phone number to dial, and a unique PIN number. Calls are charged at the standard rate for phoning a UK landline. International numbers are available - just use the same PIN as displayed in the session. Dial *6 to mute and unmute yourself.

Screenshot showing the use your phone for audio


I can’t load Collaborate in my Blackboard course

If you click on the Collaborate link from your Blackboard course, but all you see is a spinning purple circle, you need to enable 3rd party cookies in your browser.

Enable third party cookies

Access Google Chrome settings (three dots in top right hand corner) > Site Settings > Cookies and Site Data. Ensure the option to Block third party cookies is greyed out as per the screenshot below:

Screenshot showing how to enable Third Party Cookies in Chrome


My Collaborate session is presenting me with a failure code

If you are having difficulty joining a Blackboard Collaborate session, or your connection is disrupted, you may see an error message with a failure code. Below are some common Collaborate failure codes, what they mean, and recommended actions to take. 

Common Collaborate failure codes
  • Failure Code A01: Your authentication attempt for the session timed out after 20 seconds. Check your network connection, and use a wired internet connection or move closer to your WiFi router if possible. Also minimise other internet usage.
  • Failure Code A05: You are attempting to join a session using a Join Link that has been copied and pasted into your web browser. Links to Collaborate sessions that include /join/ as part of the URL are single-use only. Connect to the session by clicking the Join session button in the Collaborate area of your Blackboard course, or request that the session organiser sends you a Guest Link.
  • Failure Code A07: You have lost access to the session and tried to re-join but failed. Reconnect to the session by clicking the Join session button in the Collaborate area of your Blackboard course, or request that the session organiser sends you a Guest Link.

The times of my Collaborate sessions are listed incorrectly

Blackboard Collaborate uses the time on your computer to identify when live sessions should start, so you must ensure your clock is set for your current local time zone.

Set the time on Windows

It's best to let Windows set the time zone automatically for you: 

Click on Start > Settings > Time & language > Date & time and click on Sync Now

Also check you have selected the correct time zone, and have the correct daylight saving settings. More information is available at Microsoft Support.

Set the time on Mac OSX

It's best to let Mac OSX set the time zone automatically for you:

Click the Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Date & Time. You may need to click the padlock icon to make changes.

Click Date & Time, then select Set date and time automatically and choose an appropriate server for your region. Click on the Time Zone tab to select the appropriate Time Zone. More information is available at Apple Support.


Everything is greyed out in my Collaborate session

If the image looks very dark, or greyed out in a Collaborate session, a dialogue box is covering the page. This can happen if you have no webcam or microphone available on your computer. Browse to the top right of the Collaborate window, and you should see a small white ‘X’ you can click to reveal the page.

Everything is greyed out in my Collaborate Session

If you do not have a webcam or microphone on your computer, you may need to close the dialogue box that appears. Click the small white 'X' highlighted in the screenshot below to enter the Collaborate session.

Screenshot showing the error message that may appear when you do not have a webcam on your computer

If you do have access to a webcam or microphone on your computer, you should follow the steps in the 'Check your microphone and webcam' section.


Access from China

Collaborate can be accessed from within China, but we recommend students download Firefox on to a computer to access sessions if Google Chrome is not available. Collaborate works best from a computer, and you should always try and connect your computer to the internet via a network cable. Using a phone to join Collaborate sessions from China is not recommended.

Local browsers such as UC Browser are not supported. We recommend students follow the steps listed in ‘Improve your Collaborate Experience’ to ensure the highest quality connection.

Testing by Blackboard indicates that users with China Unicom have the best performance with Collaborate, followed by China Mobile. Users with China Telecom can experience problems accessing sessions.


For immediate technical assistance with a Collaborate Session please use the live chat listed on the Blackboard Support Pages.

Report an issue with Collaborate