Using a second camera in online live teaching (Blackboard Collaborate)

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Share Camera Tool

When you’re moderating or presenting a session in Blackboard Collaborate there is now the option to share a camera.

This is useful if you want to:

  • Demonstrate something live such as a handwritten diagram or exercise (use the camera as a visualizer) 
  • Demonstrate a practical physical experiment or process live
Screenshot of moderator view of sharing a second camera. Showing live handwritten demonstration with pen and paper.
Share a second camera as a visualiser in Blackboard Collaborate

A standalone webcam (any USB plug and play webcam such as Logitech C270 HD Webcam) works best as a second camera.

Note:

  • While you can use a DSLR with some videoconferencing tools, depending on your camera it can be quite a complicated setup requiring extra hardware and/or software and is not guaranteed to work with Blackboard Collaborate.
  • It is possible to use your phone as a camera using a third party App. However, these Apps require both an App install to your phone and your desktop PC and could potentially present a security risk. As an alternative, use your phone as a visualiser instead.

To share a second camera, you need to do the following:

  1. Connect your camera to your laptop or desktop computer via it’s cable
  2. Start your session
  3. In the Collaborate panel go to share content
  4. Select share camera
  5. Choose your camera from the list of available cameras
  6. When the video preview prompt opens choose share camera again

You can simultaneously share the live feed from the second camera and the feed from your normal webcam. Students will see your webcam feed in a smaller thumbnail window on the screen beneath the live camera feed.

Tips:

  • You can purchase a ‘gooseneck’ flexible clamp that can be used as a tripod and allows your phone to be angled in a any direction including filming the tabletop (useful for handwritten demos) fairly cheaply online
  • If you already have a tripod you can purchase a Griptight mount for smartphones that allows you to connect your smartphone to any tripod
  • If you prefer a specialised mini tripod the Manfrotto mini universal smartphone tripod is a good choice
  • Think about lighting – position your document so it can be seen clearly

Further Reading: