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Virtual office hours can be a great way to make yourself available to your students when they can't come to you, or you can't be in your office. This tutorial will show you how to create one Virtual Office Hours Link for all of your courses. The tool used for Virtual Office Hours is called Blackboard Collaborate. With collaborate, you can have a video conversation with students, chat, and even show them websites, programs, or powerpoints. The steps below will show you how to set up Virtual Office Hours in one course. It is important to remember that

Step 1: Go to the grey Course Management panel in the Bottom left hand corner of the page and click on the Customization section to expand it, Then under Customization, click Tool Availability.

Step 2: Now that you’re on the Tool Availability  page, scroll down to the tool titled "Blackboard Collaborate My Room", check the first box under the Available,  and then click Submit.

Step 3: Now, navigate to the location in your course where you want students to see the link to the virtual office hours room. A common practice is to put the link above or below the syllabus on the Welcome page.  Then, hover your cursor over the Tools button and move down to the Blackboard Collaborate section.

Step 4: Now that you’re on the Blackboard Scheduling manager page, you should see a room called “Your Name’s Room”. Click on the “add link”  button to create the link that students will click on to enter your virtual office hours room.

Editing The Room Title

 If you’d like to re-name it to say “Virtual Office Hours, you can click on the “Edit Room” button, make the change, then click “submit”.

Step 5: You have the opportunity to select the Content Area where you want the link to your virtual office hours to appear. Then click the Submit button.

A Common Practice

A common practice is deploy your virtual office hours link on your Welcome page, or the page in which your syllabus is located.

Step 6: Once you have deployed the link to your virtual office hours, its a good idea to double check that the link is now available to your students. The link should look like the one below. This is the link that both you and your students can click on to enter your virtual office hours.

Step 7: To test it out, click the link to launch the room, and click the Join Room button.

Step 8: If it’s your first time using Collaborate on the computer you’re using, you will now be prompted to download the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher. If you already have the launcher on your computer, go ahead and click on the “Launch Blackboard Collaborate now” button. It may take a minute or two to get started.

Step 9: Once you see the room below, pat yourself on the back as you have successfully created and entered your virtual office hours. Don’t forget to repeat the process for all of your courses!