Collaboration is a 21stÂ Century skill as well as an effective method for learning, so detection of collaboration is important for both assessment and instruction. Speech-based collaboration detection can be quite accurate but collecting the speech of students in classrooms can raise privacy issues. An alternative is to send only whether or not the student is speaking. That is, the speech signal is processed at the microphone by a voice activity detector before being transmitted to the collaboration detector. Because the transmitted signal is binary (1Â =Â speaking, 0Â =Â silence), this method mitigates privacy issues. However, it may harm the accuracy of collaboration detection. To find out how much harm is done, this study compared the relative effectiveness of collaboration detectors based either on the binary signal or high-quality audio. Pairs of students were asked to work together on solving complex math problems. Three qualitative levels of interactivity was distinguished: Interaction, Cooperation and Other. Human coders used richer data (several audio and video streams) to choose the code for each episode. Machine learning was used to induce a detector to assign a code for every episode based on the features. The binary-based collaboration detectors delivered only slightly less accuracy than collaboration detectors based on the high quality audio signal.