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Learning Technology Team

NILE & Other Technology Guides

Information for Staff

Tips on using Collaborate in low-bandwidth situations.

It is possible that the network connectivity of yourself or your students may be lower at times than you would normally expect. In short, the Internet may be on a ‘go slow’ from time-to-time. To mitigate the worst effects of a possible Internet slowdown, please keep everything to a minimum – and shut off everything that might be using up some of your bandwidth.

1. Close all unnecessary programs on your computer.

If you’re running a Collaborate session, the only program that needs to be running is your browser, Chrome. Shut down all the other programs on your computer, including Jabber, Webex, etc., (but remember to turn them back on afterward).

2. Close unnecessary browser tabs.

If you’re used to having loads of tabs open in your browser, then now’s the time to change this habit. You only need two tabs open to run a Collaborate session – one is NILE, the other is the Collaborate session that opened in a new tab.

3. Restrict webcam usage to a minimum.

If you don’t need to share your webcam feed with students, then don’t. And you probably don’t need them to share their webcam feeds with you either. So, if everything seems to be slowing down, then lose the video.

4. Record the session.

Even if your Internet connection is okay, your students might be struggling, so make sure that you’re recording the Collaborate session just in case.

5. If it gets really bad, turn off all your other devices, and everybody else’s too.

If the kids are gaming, or streaming Netflix, turn off their computers and give them a book to read. Turn off your phone, and everybody else’s. Turn off all other computers, other mobile devices and anything that you can think of that might be connecting to the Internet for the duration of your Collaborate session.

Audio and video troubleshooting

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. If you have problems with your audio and video not working, please use the links below to troubleshoot issues you may be experiencing with your device.

Current known issues

Below is a list of known issues currently affecting some of our Collaborate users. This list will be kept up to date as LearnTech becomes aware of the problems UON staff and students are experiencing and recommend ways to avoid issues where possible.

Title Description Recommendation
Ad-blockers Some users have installed third-party ad-blockers on their web browsers. These can interfere with the proper operation of Collborate. Disable any ad-blockers you have installed, or add an exception for
Web browser freezes intermittently when sharing screen or application Some users have reported that browsers freeze, or become unresponsive, intermittently when sharing an application, or sharing their screen in Collaborate on Windows. This issue does not affect all users and does not occur during all sessions.

While this issue is being resolved, please consider trying a different supported web browser. Also please consider uploading and sharing files where possible instead of sharing the screen.

Chrome 78 isn't supported Chromebook users may see the error message 'Chrome 78 isn't supported' when trying to access Collaborate sessions. Update Chrome if possible, or use an alternative browser. Full details on this issue are here: FAQ - Chrome 78
Mac OS "Big Sur" or "Catalina" and Safari 14

When using Mac OS "Big Sur" 11.0 or "Catalina" 10.15 and Safari 14 with Collaborate the audio a user hears is breaking up or cracking.

Please do not use Safari 14. Instead, download and use Google Chrome:
Some older ChromeBooks and iOS devices are experiencing audio breaking up. Some users on older ChromeBooks and iOS devices (iPads and iPhones) may experience their audio breaking up due to hardware configuration and CPU capabilities Please use an alternative device where possible, or read the full documentation for suggested ways of improving your experience if you are affected by this issue.

Report genuine issues to Blackboard

If you do find that there is a genuine issue with Collaborate which is not linked to a poor internet connection, microphone and webcam setup, or the known issues listed above, then please see the link below on the quickest way to report the issue and have it resolved by the supplier, Blackboard. Reporting this way will provide their engineers with all the details they need to help you.

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