Using Blackboard IM
Blackboard IM is a free instant messaging service that connects you with your classmates and instructors. The below instructions will describe how to download, install, and use Blackboard IM in all of your classes. Once you have registered for Blackboard IM in one of your courses, you can use it for all of your classes and future classes.
Downloading the Blackboard IM Service
To download Blackboard IM, complete the following steps:
-Login to Blackboard and locate the Blackboard IM Section toward the bottom on the right-hand side of your Blackboard homepage. Click on Get Blackboard IM to get started.
-Next, you will be taken to a registration screen. If you have never signed up for Blackboard IM, you will need to fill in the required information. Your Athens email address should already be placed into one of the fields. We suggest you use the same login name and password that you use for your normal Blackboard login, making it easier to remember (example if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, make your username jsmith1 if it is available). An example is shown in the screenshot below. Once you have filled in all of the information, click the Submit button.
-You will then be taken to the download screen. Download the IM program by clicking on the appropriate icon (Windows or Mac). This will launch the downloader. Save the program to your computer and then open it to install the IM program. Follow the on screen instructions associated with the downloader.
Using the IM Service
To effectively use Blackboard IM, view the following steps:
Once the Blackboard IM software has been installed, you will need to launch the program to start. You should have a purple Blackboard IM icon on your desktop that you can click to launch. If it is not there, look under your start menu. Once you open the software, you will have a screen appear similar to the one below. At this point, you will need to input the login and password you created in the registration step of the Downloading the IM Service. Then click Sign In.
Once logged in, you will have a screen similar to that below. All of your classmates from all of your current courses will automatically be populated in the program.
At the top of the screen, you will see your status. You can change your status to indicate your availability by clicking on the drop down menu. Status indicators are as follows: Green - Available, Yellow - Not currently at the computer, Red - Unavailable, Gray - Not logged on. Below, you will see a list of all of your classmates. To the left of your classmates' names, you will see their status indicator. The color of their indicator is the same as yours above. Therefore, if you see someone with a red indicator, then they are unavailable to chat at the moment. Since these lists can get long, if you need to look for a particular individual, you can type their name into the search box next to the magnifying glass. This will only pull up accounts that match that particular name. If there is a particular person you may contact frequently, such as your instructor or technical support, it might be a good idea to add them to your contacts list. To do this, just find their name in the classmates list (or using the search function) and the click the "+" sign to the right of their name. This will change the "+" sign to a smiley face. This means those individuals have been added to your contacts tab (which is located under your availability) to view the smaller list of ONLY those people you have added as a contact.
-Now that you know how to find your classmates and others, how do you chat with them? First, make sure they are available (green dot). If they have the green dot next to their name, double click their name to open the chat window. Once you double click their name, you will see a window similar to the one below. Simply type your message in the text input area at the bottom of the window and hit Enter when you are ready to send your message. Then just wait for the other person to reply. All conversations will appear in the larger text window above the text input window.
Other Blackboard IM Features
The above instructions should be able to get you started using Blackboard IM. The program does offer a number of other options to collaborate such as Voice Over IP and saving chat logs. If you would like to see how to work the additional features of Blackboard IM, please review the Getting Started PDF guide. Please be aware that Athens State University may not support ALL of the features described in the guide. Before spending a lot of time reading through the document, ask technical support as to whether or not those features are supported. You can reach the Blackboard IM Technical Support by searching Mark Gale or System Administrator in the Blackboard IM Program. Either of those contacts should be able to help you.