QuickGuide: Converting Online Rooms Recorded Sessions to View Outside of Desire2Learn


It is possible to convert recorded sessions in Online Rooms so that they can be viewed on most devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets. This conversion requires the use of a software tool called Blackboard Collaborate Publish. With Publish, recordings can be converted to several different multimedia formats. Instructors will typically choose between .mp3 (audio only) files and .mp4 files which contains audio and video of the entire session. It is also possible to create a nearly exact copy of the Online Room session including participant names and chat transcripts that can be viewed outside of Desire2Learn using Java. To begin the process it is necessary to download and install the Blackboard Collaborate Publish tool free download.


  • The multimedia file (.mp4) conversion process will take at least as long as the actual run length of the recorded session. It may take even longer (1.5 to 2 times) if an unplugged recording (.jar) is created.
  • To facilitate the process of finding the archived Online Room session, it is good practice to use unique names for Online Room sessions. Use a naming convention that includes a date, course name and/or instructor name can help more clearly identify files.
  • Online Room archived sessions are not immediately available following a recorded session. It can take up to several hours for an archived session to appear in the directory. 


  • Access to a Desire2Learn course with archived Online Room sessions.
  • Blackboard Collaborate Publish downloaded on local computer.


  1. Download and install Blackboard Collaborate Publish tool

Note: After the Blackboard Collaborate Publish tool is installed to the local computer, it can be found by searching for Elluminate Publish 

Elluminate Publish logo

  1. Navigate to the Desire2Learn course that contains the Online Room that has been archived by choosing the More tab, select Online Rooms.
  2. Select the name of the Online Room in which the session had previously been recorded and archived.
  3. Select the Archive tab.
  4. Click the name of the archived session.
  5. When the Blackboard Collaborate window opens, locate the URL at the top of the Blackboard Collaborate window (it begins with https://sas.elluminate.com/...) and copy the URL to the clipboard.

Note: Do not close any windows that are part of the Collaborate Launch. Allow all windows to remain open in the background of the local computer until the conversion process is complete.

  1. Open Blackboard Collaborate/Elluminate Publish.

Screenshot of Blackboard Collaborate window
Blackboard Collaborate Launch window

  1. Paste the URL into the Recording field at the top of the page.

Screenshot of Publish default selections
Settings for MP4 conversion

  1. Click Browse. The software tool will automatically copy the VCR file to the local system before it is possible to make changes to the Conversion screen. To reduce conversion time, it is best to only check  the desired filetype.
  2. Click Convert and type a file name and location that the converted file will be saved to on the local computer.

Note: For an MP4 file, select Create Multimedia Files. It is useful to select Create Chat Transcript if webconference participants were using the chat feature during the Online Room session. If the whiteboard and application sharing features were used, these should be checked, as well. Unless the recorded session was subsequently close captioned, it is not useful to select Captioning (.rtf) or Captioning (.srf) as the close caption process is a separate event. It is best to select the Optimize for desktop (1024 x 768) option.

  1. The conversion process will begin and operate in the background of the local computer system. It is possible to work on other tasks, but important to be aware of the Elluminate and Collaborate windows so that they are not accidentally closed during the process.
  2. Verify that the video is being created by checking to see the the VCR Analyzer is running and that the recording time is advancing.

VCR Analyzer Verify window
Verify VCR Analyzer launched

  1. After the download process finishes an alert message will display to open the folder where the converted files have been placed. Select Yes to open the location and access the multimedia (.mp4) and/or the Chat (.rtf) file.

Note: The multimedia files are separate files (i.e. a video file and a chat transcript file). It is also possible to create a recording that looks identical to the original Online Rooms session but can be viewed outside of Desire2Learn (the Unplugged Recording). This standalone recording version is a .jar filetype which means that it must be viewed on a computer that has Java installed. 

Additional information on Collaborate Publish, including access to Publish knowledgebase articles can be found at the Blackboard Collaborate website.

If you need further assistance, contact icet@uwplatt.edu or phone 608.342.1792

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