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Calling people good with technology: Blackboard Collaborate & pop-up distractions

I am taking a Physiology summer class. Lectures are being delivered in real time via Blackboard Collaborate. There is a chat window for everyone in the class. That's okay - I can close that - but my problem is that I get a popup superimposed over the powerpoint every time someone says something in the chat. It makes a little text "bing" sound too and it's just so distracting.

People are going nuts in the chat window while the professor is talking and there is just way too much going on to the point that I can't concentrate on what the teacher is saying.

Does anyone know how to disable these chat pop-ups in Blackboard collaborate? My browser pop-up blocker didn't work.
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