Captions and Subtitles with Blackboard Collaborate Recording


Blackboard Collaborate combines the capabilities of Wimba and Elluminate to provide a comprehensive online learning and collaboration platform designed for education. Blackboard Collaborate can be used for a synchronous online classroom or meeting space for sharing documents, presenting slide shows, video conferencing, or hosting a webinar.

This article provides step by step instructions on how to add captions to a Blackboard Collaborate recording so that it can be viewed with iTunes, QuickTime, or any mobile devices, including iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Your captioned recording will be available for offline viewing. You will also be able to publish your captioned Blackboard Collaborate recording on any other video player or platform, including YouTube and Vimeo.

Step 1 – Convert Blackboard Collaborate Recording to MP4 Format

The method below requires the ‘Recording Converter’ feature, which is only available with Blackboard Collaborate version 11 or higher. For additional details, see Blackboard’s documentation on converting recordings.

1. Log into your Blackboard Collaborate Session Administration System (SAS).

2. Open the My Recordings page from the top of the SAS interface.

3. Click on the Convert button under the ‘Video (MP4)’ column. For audio-only recordings, select the Audio (MP3) option. The MP4 conversion process normally takes more than double the duration of the original recording. You will receive an email notification when the conversion is complete.

Convert to MP4 - adding captions to a Blackboard Collaborate recording

Note: The converted MP4 file will include audio, whiteboard, slides, and application sharing content. It will not include chat, polling, emoticon feedback, web tour, video and multimedia content. In order to view all of the content you will need the native Blackboard Collaborate recording (VCR file).

Blackboard Collaborate window with Recording selected

Step 2 – Get the URL Link for the MP4 File

The steps below explain how to obtain the URL link to the Blackboard Collaborate MP4 file so that it can be submitted for captioning. In some cases it may be necessary to download the MP4 file to your computer prior to captioning. This is explained in the last section.

1. Click on Utilities at the top of the page.

2. Under Session Management, click on Meetings. On the left side, click on Meeting Session and then click Accept.

3. Click on the box to the left of the session to be converted.

4. Click the Rooms button at the top and select the room that was recorded. (Click the box in the left column.)

5. Click the Recording button in the toolbar.

6. Click the Playback button in the toolbar.

Playback button - Adding captions to a Blackboard Collaborate recording

7. Right-click Video (MP4) Format, and select ‘Copy Link Location’. Keep this link stored in your clipboard. In the next step, it will be used to submit your recording for captioning.

Link to MP4 video - Adding captions to a Blackboard Collaborate recording

Screenshot of Blackboard collaborate. Utilities and Rooms selected

Step 3 – Submit Your Blackboard Collaborate Recording for Captioning

The steps below enable 3Play Media to import your recording directly from Blackboard Collaborate.

1. Log into your 3Play Media account.
2. From the Upload menu, select Upload Links.
3. Paste the URL link captured in the previous step.

4. Click Upload and follow the on-screen prompts to specify turnaround and other options. For additional details, read the support article on uploading files using links

5. You will receive an email notification when your captions are ready.

Upload Links. Enter Links to upload. URL in text box. Upload button selected

Step 4 – Download Your Captioned M4V Recording

1. From your 3Play Media account, select My Files from the top of the page.

2. Select your Blackboard Collaborate recording, and from the Options menu select Order Caption Encoding.

3. The caption encoding process may take up to 4 hours. Upon completion, you will receive an email notification with a link to download the video.

Screenshot with Order Caption Encoding (1) selected

How To Download a MP4 File from the Blackboard SAS

The steps below explain how to download a Blackboard Collaborate converted MP4 file to your computer. This may be necessary to publish your recording on YouTube, Vimeo, or other video platforms. Also, it may be necessary to upload the MP4 file to 3Play Media for captioning as an alternative to the link method described in Step 2. For additional details, read the support article on uploading files from your computer.

1. From the My Recordings page of the SAS interface, click the play button beside the recording that you want to download.

How to download Blackboard Collaborate MP4 recording

2. The recording will open in a media player embedded in the SAS.

3. Click the download button in the media player and save the MP4 file to your computer.


Video window with Play button and Download button with down arrow highlighted