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Learning Technology Team

NILE & Other Technology Guides

Information for Staff

Audio and video setup

When you first join a virtual classroom session, the audio and video setup wizard will guide you through steps to select the microphone and webcam you wish to use. First, select the correct microphone from the popup menu if you have more than one available and use the button 'Yes' to continue. Do the same for your webcam.

The test will say that you sound great if your microphone is working

You can return to the audio and video setup wizard in the My Settings section.

Open the Collaborate panel with the chevron tab on the right of the screen.

This operational link is labelled Open Collaborate Panel

Select My Settings from the menu at the bottom of the panel, indicated by a cog icon.

My settings is the fourth option in the menu

Choose the option Set up your camera and microphone.

The link is the first in the menu

Please see the section of this guide 'Audio and video troubleshooting' if you experience difficulties with your audio and video.

Preparing resources

Just as you would prepare resources ready to share onscreen in a physical classroom, you can do so in the virtual classroom. It may be useful to open items on your laptop or prepare webpages in your browser ready for when you share your screen. Similarly, you can upload PowerPoint files, images, or PDF documents directly into the session ready to share on the screen.

Sharing files instead of sharing the screen affords you more control over the other features in Collaborate while you present; the content is displayed in the centre of the screen while the chat and attendees panel are still accessible on the right.

You are able to upload files to a session in advance of sharing them and they will remain in the session indefinitely until you remove them or delete the session. Please visit the section of this guide 'Sharing content - Sharing files' for detailed guidance on uploading files.

Sharing content

There are two main methods to share resources for your participants to view; share application/screen or share files. When you wish to share PowerPoint files, images, or PDF documents it is usually best to use the share files method as you have will still have access to the chat panel and keep more control over the virtual classroom this way. When you wish to share web content or demonstrate applications such as Excel, the only option is to use the application/screen sharing.

Sharing files

PowerPoint files, Image files (e.g. jpeg, png) and PDF documents can be shared using this method. The following steps show how to share a PowerPoint file. Sharing other file types is a very similar process. 

Open the Collaborate panel and select Share Content from the menu at the bottom, represented by an arrow icon.

The share content option is third in the menu

Select the option to Share Files

Share Files is the fourth option in the list

Either drag and drop files here or select the option to open your operating system's file browser, choose the file and confirm.

By selecting the add files option you will be prompted to use your operating systems file browser

The file will be uploaded and converted.

The text will change through the parts of the process from uploading, to converting, to complete.

NOTE: PowerPoint files will lose animations once converted. Use the share screen function together with the PowerPoint Application instead if animations are important for your presentation.

Select the file you wish to share from the list and press the share now button below it.

 The file needs to be selected from the list before the share now button becomes active

Slide thumbnails are shown in a preview. To start presenting to students, the final step is to select the slide you wish to begin with.

Each slide is numbered to indicate the order so start with slide 01 to start at the beginning.

Once selected, the first slide will display in the main Collaborate window in the centre of the screen. Use the arrows underneath the slide to navigate through the full slide deck for all participants.

The navigation is labelled Next Slide and Previous Slide.

Notice that the chat, attendees, sharing and settings options are all still accessible in the Collaborate panel, providing full control over the session while displaying your slides.

Share screen/application

Sharing a screen, or a specific application allows you to present anything on your screen. It can be useful to display web content, demonstrate applications, or show the content of file types that require special applications to view such as 3d design, engineering schematics, etc. It is best to use a Chrome browser wherever possible, as it has the most features available when sharing.

Open the Collaborate panel and select Share Content from the menu at the bottom, represented by an arrow icon.

The share content option is third in the menu

This example will share the entire screen. You can share just an application window or a browser tab by selecting the appropriate heading at this stage.

NOTE: When sharing a single application window or browser tab, be aware that any popup windows or dialog boxes will not be presented to the participants. Consider sharing the entire screen if you think this may affect your presentation, for example when demonstrating an application.

Select the thumbnail preview under the heading 'Your Entire Screen' so that it becomes highlighted with a border. It is possible to select a second screen instead if you have one. When using the Chrome browser, there is also a checkbox for sharing your computer audio in addition to your microphone audio. Select the share button.

NOTE: The option to share audio is only available when using the Chrome browser.

The thumbnal preview has to be selected before the share button becomes active

If you remain looking at the Collaborate browser window when you first share your screen, both you and your participants will see a repeated image known as the Droste effect. As soon as you select another browser tab, application, or another resource, your participants will see exactly what is on your screen.

The screen image repeats within itself until it can no longer be defined.


TIP: If you only have one screen, you may wish to activate audio and visual notifications for common actions within the Collaborate session, such as when someone enters or leaves a session, or when someone raises a hand or posts a chat message. See here for further details on changing your notifications settings.

Managing the room

Collaborate includes several mechanisms for managing the virtual classroom. When an instructor on NILE enters a Collaborate session they are given the role of Moderator by default. When students enter a Collaborate session from NILE they are given the role of participant. As moderator, you can control which features participants are able to use in the session. Moderators also have control over some settings for individual participants.

Participant permissions

Details on setting participant permissions before the session can be found in the earlier part of this guide, 'Session settings and recommendations'. Moderators can control whether participants can:

  • Share audio (microphone)
  • Share video (webcam)
  • Post chat messages
  • Draw on whiteboard and files.

As well as setting permissions before the session, you can change these settings during a session. This can be useful if, for example, you have a large cohort and you wish to deliver a few minutes of content without interruption before opening the session for questions. You could have all of these permissions restricted for a few minutes, then enable the chat messages to receive questions.

To change the permissions during a session, navigate to My settings in the Collaborate panel represented by a cog icon.

My Settings is the fourth option in the Collaborate panel menu.

Select Session Settings and use the checkboxes to make changes under the heading Participant permissions.

The permissions are displayed once you select the session settings internal link

Changes are instant and the participants receive an onscreen notification that their permissions have changed.

Attendee controls

Moderators can manage the session in the following ways from the attendees panel during a Collaborate session:

  • Send a private chat message to an individual attendee
  • Change an attendee's role
  • Mute an attendee's microphone
  • Remove an attendee from the session

To use any of these controls, go to the attendees section of the Collaborate panel, represented by an icon of two silhouettes.

The attendees section is the second item in the collaborate panel menu

Find the attendee you wish to action against and select the contextual menu next to their name for the list of options.

The menu is not laid out in alphabetical order but the most commonly used controls are near the top.

You can search for an attendee by name if you have a large cohort. It is also possible to mute all participants. For these options, select the menu icon at the very top of the attendees panel.

The main attendees panel menu can be located next to the heading which indicates the number of attendees.

Attendee indicators

There are indicators about your attendees which may come in useful during a session. All of these indicators are found in the attendees section of the Collaborate panel.

The attendees section is the second item in the Collaborate panel menu.

Hovering over the icon with bars in it will show the internet quality that an individual is currently experiencing with their own connection. This can be a useful indicator that someone is unable to share their video or screen during the session if their connection is poor, for example.

The words, poor, good, excellent are used as descriptors.

A microphone icon is present when an attendee has their microphone active. The icon is shown as an outline while there is no sound coming through and turns solid when sound is detected. This can be useful for identifying someone who has left their microphone on by accident, for example. See the previous section of this guide 'Attendee controls' for details on how to mute their microphone for them.

The indicator will read 'sharing audio' if an attendee has their microphone active

When an attendee raises their hand, it is displayed in the attendees list. The list is re-ordered based on who raised their hand first. This is useful to address questions in the order they would normally be presented in a physical classroom situation, for example.

The text 'hand is raised' will be against attendees with their hand up.

The chat panel

The chat area is the first item in the Collaborate panel, represented by a speech bubble icon.

The chat area is the first item in the Collaborate panel menu

Chats are split into channels. As a moderator is possible to engage in conversations with the following:

  • Everyone in the session
  • Individual attendees in the session
  • All moderators
  • Breakout group members

Use the search box at the top of the panel to find an individual to chat with, or select a channel from the list. The channels for everyone and moderators are shown by default. The other channels only appear once a chat has begun.

Channels are always listed with the Everyone channel at the top for easy access.

Tip: To include web links in your sessions, use the chat feature instead of adding them into PowerPoint slides. Links in the chat panel are clickable for students and will open in a new browser window or tab. This makes sharing online resources sessions much easier for you and your students.

Data protection notice for Collaborate recordings

Please note that recordings created in Collaborate may be subject to the Data Protection Act (2018). Before recording your session, please bear in mind that all Collaborate recordings created in NILE courses can be viewed by everyone enrolled on the course.

It is fine for staff to record classes that take place on Collaborate, although care should taken not to record any sections of the class in which students are disclosing things that could be considered personal or sensitive. However, Collaborate recordings should not be made of such things as individual meetings with students, as these recordings will not be private and could easily be viewed by other students enrolled on the NILE course.

Recording a session

Moderators entering a session that is not yet being recorded will be presented with a notification providing a shortcut to record the session. Click the link to begin a recording.

The link is labelled record and is located in the main panel of the collaborate screen.

The recording feature is also found in the session menu on the left of the screen. Open the session menu.

The internal link is labelled open session menu.

Select the option to start a recording. This becomes the option to stop a recording while in progress.

The option to start or stop a recording is the first item in the listed menu.

NOTE: Recordings only capture the main room, not breakout groups. Recordings will capture anything being shared in the main room including audio and chat messages. Please refer to the section of this guide, 'Session settings' for details on anonymising chat messages in recordings. 

For details on where to access the recordings after the session and how to share recordings, please see the later section of this guide 'Access session recordings'. 

Automatic deletion of Collaborate recordings

Collaborate recordings are available for three years, after which time they are automatically removed from NILE.

Collaborate recordings which are required for longer than three years will need to be downloaded from Collaborate and uploaded to Kaltura.

If you require assistance with NILE, please contact LearnTech Support using the NILE Enquiry Form

If you require assistance with PebblePad, please contact PebblePad Support using the PebblePad Contact Form