Blackboard Instant Messenger

Blackboard Instant Messenger (formerly known as Pronto) is a free instant messaging and voice chat tool that allows students and instructors to spontaneously meet live, online at any time to discuss their coursework. Blackboard Instant Messenger works with Blackboard Learn to automatically populate students' contact lists with their classmates' names, thereby making it easy for students, faculty and teaching staff to spontaneously collaborate live online. Blackboard Instant Messenger can also be used as a regular modern Instant Messenger, outside of Blackboard on Windows and Mac systems.

While Blackboard Instant Messenger offers many similar features as other instant messaging tools such as Windows Live Messenger, Skype, GoogleTalk, Yahoo, AIM and Jabber, Blackboard Instant Messenger is unique to education because it integrates seamlessly with Blackboard Learn, thereby automatically populating each student's contact list each semester with the names of every student in their classes (and Blackboard Learn committee/group sites). When one logins to Blackboard Instant Messenger, one instantly sees who's online from their classes and other Blackboard Learn sites (without even logging into Blackboard Learn). 


  • Ideal to complement faculty and teaching staff office hours.
  • Provides natural text and/or voice-chat capabilities inside and outside of Blackboard Learn.
  • For Blackboard Learn sites, Blackboard Instant Messenger automagically pre-populates everyone in the class :: no need to figure out what Instant Messenger software to use and what everyone's IM logins and handles are.  Blackboard Instant Messenger and Blackboard Learn know and take care of these details. You simply login and start chatting with your fellow students, instructors and other collaborators.
  • Blackboard IM is very easy to use, for both, one-on-one and group text and/or voice-chats (inc. text-chat archives)
  • Use the Blackboard Instant Messenger Contacts to save Blackboard Instant Messenger addressbook information for past and current students and instructors, for anyone at UIC, and for any other Blackboard Instant Messenger users in the world.
  • Please note that UIC has currently only the Basic Version of Blackboard IM, which only supports text-chats and audio calls among two or more people.  Blackboard IM Enterprise features, like whiteboards, video chats, using Web conferencing, office hours and broadcast notifications are not available at UIC.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the benefits of using Blackboard Instant Messenger?

Using Blackboard Instant Messenger allows students and instructors to spontaneously meet live online at any time to discuss their coursework without having to exchange usernames...Blackboard Learn does it for you!   Use this free Blackboard Learn feature for office hours (or in tandem with), before an exam so students can ask last-minute questions, or allow students in the same course to communicate anytime, anywhere on a project. 

Where can I find Blackboard Instant Messenger so I can use it?

Log in to a Blackboard Learn site, select Tools (or Student Tools) from the Blackboard Learn course menu (on the left) and scroll down to select Blackboard IM.  This will prompt you to download the Blackboard instant messenger software -- a quick and simple installation.  Once Blackboard Instant Messenger is installed, simply login using your Blackboard IM username and password and you can be available anytime and anywhere!

Can anyone see my messages that I send to an individual?

Blackboard Instant Messenger works just like any instant messaging tool.  Individuals can only see the content that the two or more people are exchanging; no one else can see or hear or Blackboard IM chat conversation.  That is, Blackboard Instant Messenger lets you easily set up a group chat by inviting others (select Invite Group Chat from the Actions pull-down menu) and you can save archives of the text-chat to review later or to share it with the test of the class. 

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 (EdG)