Blackboard Collaborate Instant Messaging

What is it

Example of a Bb IM window.

Blackboard Instant Messaging (Bb IM) is an instant messaging tool that helps instructors, staff and students create their own learning network. More than just an instant messaging tool, Bb IM can support study groups, meetings and office hours via web conferencing, VoIP and collaborative whiteboards.

Your contact lists are automatically populated by your classmates/students and divided into groups based on all of your classes. You can also choose to restrict your availability in each class, depending on your privacy preferences. Create your own contact lists to keep in touch with friends and classmates even after your classes are done.

Uses and Benefits

Instant Messaging and Group Chats

Similar to other instant messaging tools, communicate with your classmates, students and colleagues through quick and simple text messages. Click on your contacts when you see them online and start chatting. No need to know their emails.

Example of a chat conversation.

Voice-over-Internet-Phone (VoIP) and Video Chatting

If you prefer to call someone instead, Bb IM supports VoIP calls to any of your contacts as well as video chatting for meetings. You will need a microphone and webcam for this feature.

Example of a voice or video chat.

Collaborative Whiteboards

Invite 1 or more of your contacts for a collaborative meeting where you have access to a whiteboard that allows you to add text, images, and share your desktop or websites.

Example of the collaborative whiteboard.

Office Hours and Drop-in Sessions

Instructors and TAs can conduct office hours using Bb IM. You can choose to communicate with all participants or have one on one discussions with each student.

Example of office hours.

Get Started

The Blackboard Collaborate Instant Messaging icon.
  • Blackboard Collaborate Instant Messaging is available to all faculty, staff and students. You will need to create a Bb IM account and download Bb IM to your computer.

Please see, How to Create a Blackboard Collaborate Instant Messaging Account.

  • Instructors can also integrate Bb IM in their Connect course with schedule discussion sessions.

Please see, How to Enable Blackboard Collaborate Instant Messaging in your Course.


"How to" Guides


Need help to access Bb IM? Send a message to

For Tier 1 technical support such as installation/Java issues, please contact the Blackboard Support team at 1 (877) 382-2293 or visit the Blackboard Support Portal

Explore the following resources from Blackboard:



Your Students

  • Can add friends or classmates to their Contacts to keep in touch with them. However, classmates lists will be unavailable after the course has been completed.
  • Their group chats and collaborative meetings can have 2 or more participants, while voice and video calls are only one-to-one.
  • If they enable Save Chat Logs in the Preferences, they can review conversations with friends.

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