What is Blackboard Collaborate?
Blackboard Collaborate is our supported web conferencing software for holding real-time online ‘virtual classroom’ sessions with your students, wherever they are located. You can run interactive seminars, tutorials or meetings with your students. These sessions are usually called webinars.
The webinars are set up, accessed and delivered from within the Blackboard virtual learning environment. Anyone external to the institution is able to join using a guest web link.
Blackboard collaborate is entirely web based, with features to:
- Deliver presentation slides and images
- Interact with your students using audio, video and text chat
- Share your computer screen to give demonstrations
- Use poll questions and status indicators to receive real-time feedback
- Undertake group work with breakout rooms
- Manage participants using moderation features
- Record sessions for students to watch at a later date
- Participate using either a computer or mobile device.
Using Collaborate in your teaching
Webinars are an effective and practical way to deliver synchronous learning for both your on-campus students and distance learners. Increased internet speeds, better mobile connectivity and wide spread ownership of media enabled devices, make it a reliable mode of delivery. Many students are already familiar with the use of multimedia applications in their personal and social life; for example: Skype, Apple Facetime and Snapchat.
Blackboard Collaborate provides a flexible and convenient way for you to:
- Bring your students together and maintain contact with them
- Be responsive and give immediate feedback
- Increase interaction and participation – significant factors in the successful achievement of learning outcomes (Martinez-Caro, 2011)
- Provide collaborative learning experiences that improve motivation and group cohesion (Collis, 1996)
- Address the diverse needs of your students who can feel more comfortable engaging in this space
- Overcome the limited availability of physical teaching spaces, room capacity and save travel time/costs
- Extend learning by making a recording available as a learning resource.
You can use webinars in a range of different situations and contexts, from large-scale lectures to small group seminars and individual tutorials:
- Bring in external speakers, visiting lecturers or students from other institutions
- Replace face-to-face sessions during bad weather or travel disruption (e.g. snow days)
- Support students on placement
- Offer virtual office hours.
How to get started
Use our Blackboard Collaborate support guides to find out how to plan, set-up and run a session.
Think about how you are going to design and deliver your webinar sessions to make the learning effective. Aim to make them as interactive and collaborative as possible, using active learning techniques. Use the following guides to help you:
- Practical advice for setting up and running your webinar
- Basic principles
- Essential webinar presentation skills
If you need further advice or support , you can request a TEL 1-2-1 Consultation and meet with a member of the TEL Team.
Find out how staff have used Blackboard Collaborate at the University to connect with students and improve learning.
- Engaging students in online careers events using Blackboard Collaborate
- Closing the gap! Bringing together students studying at different campuses using Blackboard Collaborate
- Using Blackboard Collaborate for small group tutorials with distance learning students
Further reading and information
Collis, B (1996) Tele-Learning in a Digital World: The Future of Distance Learning. London: International Thomson Computer Press.
JISC (2015) ‘Using digital media in new learning models: Providing live support to your students over the web’ [online]. Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/using-digital-media-in-new-learning-models/providing-live-support (Accessed 12 September 2019).
Martinez-Caro, E (2011) ‘Factors affecting effectiveness in e-learning: An analysis in production management courses’, Computer Applications in Engineering Education, 19(3), pp. 572-581.