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Learning Technology Team

NILE & Other Technology Guides

Information for Students


Important: Please update your web browser for the best experience with virtual classrooms. Use a Chrome or Firefox web browser where possible and ensure it is up to date.

A virtual classroom is an online meeting space which provides interactive tools for tutors and students to teach and learn. At UoN, our Virtual Classrooms work through a system called Collaborate. It works directly in your web browser without the need to install software onto your computer. If your tutor uses Virtual Classrooms on your NILE site, the following basic guidance may improve your experience when using the system.

Original courses: Accessing Collaborate sessions

The specific names and location of links used in each NILE site may differ, but many NILE sites will look similar to the below image.

To access your session, choose 'Blackboard Collaborate' from the left-hand menu (1), select either the course room, or the session name that applies to you from the list (2) and click on Join session (3). Sessions are only available to click on during the start and end times shown.

The Blackboard Collaborate link is under the heading Module Content in the course menu

Ultra courses: Accessing Collaborate sessions

Navigate to the Details & Actions menu and look for the heading Blackboard Collaborate. Choose Join Session underneath the Blackboard Collaborate heading and select either the Course Room, or the Session name that applies to you from the list.

NOTE: Sessions will only be visible once the start time has been reached.

Join session is the fourth link in the details and actions menu

Getting started

Important Notes:

  • To access the virtual workshop you should use a laptop or desktop computer that has a Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge browser installed.
  • You will need a good, reliable Internet connection.
  • You will need speakers or preferably headphones to hear others and you will need a microphone to be heard yourself. It is also possible to use a webcam if you have one connected.
  • Your instructor controls whether you can use your microphone and camera, but you should usually be able to raise your hand or post a chat message.
  • If you have a problem with sound or video, leaving and re-joining the session usually fixes a lot of issues. If you still have a problem please try these links:  Windows | Mac | Chromebook

User Interface

Please watch this introductory video to Collaborate. The options available to you will depend on your instructor; for example, you may not be able to use the presentation tools, but you may be able to use your microphone.


At times, your instructor may provide you with the ability to present your screen or an application over Collaborate. Please refer to the section of this guidance, 'Presenting in Collaborate', which covers presentation features in more detail.

Collaborate technical requirements

Collaborate is designed to run in the web browser 

Software: The latest version of a Chrome or Firefox internet browser is recommended.

Internet: A reliable Internet connection, preferably broadband.

Device: A laptop or desktop computer. Students can use a mobile or tablet to join but may be subject to more restricted capabilities.

Peripherals: A microphone to speak, headphones or speakers to hear, and a webcam to share a video feed.

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. If you have problems with your audio and video not working, please try rejoining the session first. You can do this by refreshing the web page.

There are some more troublshooting tips available via the links below.

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