Troubleshooting Blackboard Collaborate - Common Issues and Possible Solutions

Hopefully you will click on the link to join a webinar....and sail in! Unfortunately this is not always the case as networks and computer settings can occasionally cause problems however don't give up - try some of the troubleshooting suggestions below and hopefully your issue will be solved.

Problem 1: "I get the error message - Connection Failed"connectionfailed.jpg
This means that your computer is unable to connect to the server where the webinar is happening. It may look like the picture at right or it may be different....but it will say 'Connection failed'. This could be caused by your internet connection, security software on your computer which is blocking the connection, or your organisation's network or firewall blocking a connection. (Accessing the webinars from outside your company firewall is often the easiest solution). :-)

What can I do?
  1. See if the same thing happens when you enter the Configuration Room.
  2. Make sure you have a stable internet connection. Sometimes a poor connection such as a satellite, wireless or connection of a congested network can cause this problem.
  3. Go to the Support Portal This will check your system to see if you have a supported operating system and correct version of Java installed. You should see two green 'ticks' at the top of the page.
  4. Check your computer virus software (or ask your IT support to do this) to make sure your computer is allowing Java to access the websites '' and ''. These sites may need to be added as 'safe sites'.
  5. If you are behind an organisation's firewall you may need to alter the proxy settings on your computer (which control how it is connecting to the internet) - Instructions available for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
  6. Ask your Network or IT support staff to check ports 80, 2187 and 443 and ensure that they are open. Closed network ports are a common cause of connection problems.

Problem 2: "I get the error message - Unable to launch the application"unabletolaunch.jpg

The webinar platform runs on Java, and this error occurs when there is a problem with the Java software or files on your computer. This is the likely cause if you have previously used Blackboard Collaborate successfully on your computer and are now having trouble, because there may be an old version or possibly corrupted files in your computer cache.

What can I do?
  • Clearing out your Java cache often helps. This isn't difficult and the video below will explain how to do this. If your system is blocking the embedded video, try this link:

  • It may also be useful to clear out your Internet browser cache too. Instructions for doing this are located here....just select your own browser.

Problem 3: "I get a Java Webstart installation error"JavaWebStartErrors.jpg
Java Web Start is the software necessary for the Blackboard Collaborate webinar platform to run on your computer. If you get an error of this type it is typically because the computer does not have correct download permissions, or when you have too many programs running at the same time and computer resources are low or inadequate to allow the installation.

What can I do?
  • Start by closing down all other programs, and ensuring that your computer is not running anything in the background which may be causing it to run slowly.
  • Try restarting the computer, to clear system memory.
  • Click on the webinar link again, ensuring that you select the options as shown in the images at right i.e. 'Open with [Java]' and 'Run'.
  • Does your IT Department allow you to download software? If not, the settings on your computer may be preventing the download of Java Web Start. You will need to talk to your IT Department.

Problem 4: "I get a Session Launch error"
This means that your computer recognises that it is a webinar link, however it can't access the session. Sometimes the link is malformed eg it has been sent to you in a form that doesn't allow it to wrap, or part is missing.

What can I do?

Problem 5: "I get no error messages....I just can't get into the session."
When your session does not load and no error message is returned, this can often be attributed to a missing file association between Java and the JNLP file type that launches your session.

What can I do?
  • Close (or minimise) every window that you have open, to ensure that there are no hidden error messages.
  • The Blackboard Collaborate Support Portal has suggestions about what you might try to overcome this issue.

Problem 6: "I have audio problems when I am in the session"
Important questions to ask are - are you the only one in the webinar who is experiencing this problem - do you have sound problems in other applications - could it be related to a slow internet connection - could there be a problem with your headset/audio device?

What can I do?AudioCheck.jpg
  • Ensure your headset is plugged into the correct holes in your computer.
  • Make sure that your computer's audio isn't on mute, and the volume is at an appropriate level. (Playing a Youtube video is a quick way to check that all works.
    If you don't have access to YouTube, there is a quick sound check button on this page. If you are experiencing general audio issues (it's not just in the webinar), here are instructions for troubleshooting audio for Windows and Mac operating systems.
  • When in the webinar, (or in the Configuration Room), check your audio using the Audio Setup Wizard (see diagram at right). It is a good habit to do this whenever you enter a webinar, as the Wizard can check your volume and it often fixes simple issues.
  • Also, inside the webinar you can increase the volume of the speaker by going to the top menu to Tools > Audio...or by using the slider at top left of the window.
  • If you are still not getting sound, try a different audio device as sometimes the wiring in a headset can have a small break.

Note: If you are getting an 'Audio System Error' or 'Cannot write to Speaker' - here are some suggestions which may provide assistance.

Problem 7: "I have a different error message"
  • The Blackboard Collaborate Support Portal details a number of different error messages, with associated instructions. (Click on 'Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing' in the left hand menu...then....'Errors and Messages'...then....'More'. Note that there are 3 pages...use the 'Next' link at the bottom to see all of them).
  • There are also a number of Known Issues which are worth checking. (Click on 'Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing' in the left hand menu...then....'Known Issues'.)