Time for Students to Lead Online?

Wall ClockStaff, and students alike have deliberated long and hard over when, where, and how they can work more collaboratively, either in taught sessions, while engaging in a group activity, or during activities that require distance participation.

Look no further, Learning Services has the right solution for you, in the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra tool.

There is greater emphasis these days on giving students the space, time and flexibility to work collaboratively, on joint projects and away from the constraints and rigidity of the conventional classroom environment.

All Learning Edge course templates include a link to Blackboard Collaborate ‘Ultra’, within the course menu (Note that Faculty or Department Administrators must add this course menu template) to merged courses.Blackboard Collaborate Logo

In earlier versions of Blackboard Collaborate, you’ll remember Tutors were given the role of Moderator; everyone else was given the Participant role. The Moderator is the person responsible for the room (usually the tutor), and is required to conduct sessions, and control Participant (usually the student) privileges and the availability of tools.

In the Ultra version, however, although the Tutor has overall control as Moderator, there are a couple of new roles the Moderator can use including; Presenter and Captioner. To encourage effective student online collaboration, we recommend setting up sessions, and applying the Presenter role for all students.

Captioner can be applied to any user. They are given an area to type what is being said, so that those with a hearing impairment can participate and join in with the conversation.

The Presenter role is designed to allow participants/students to use the whiteboard tools and present without giving them full moderator privileges.

Presenters can upload, share, edit, and stop sharing content. Presenters are able to share their screens and upload images or PowerPoint files, they cannot modify another users’ permissions the way a moderator can.  This is a useful role, as all students are given the same, high level of user access, but can’t accidentally exclude another member from the project group activity.

Guides to help you:

If you want to discuss this and other users of Collaborate further, as always contact the Learning Technology Development Team via ext.7754, ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk or Ask LTD knowledge base.

Martin Baxter

 

 

Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

Defeating ‘The Beast from the East’: How Collaborate was used to run a ‘blended’ conference

Blackboard Collaborate is an online classroom tool. It is designed to allow presentations and tutorials to be given to students while they are off-campus. In this blog post we look at an unusual use of Collaborate, as it was used to run a ‘blended’ conference.

Meg Juss: Could you set the scene for us?

Peter Beaumont: The Every Child Counts conference had been organised to run at Edge Hill University in early March 2018, with speakers coming from all over the country. However a day before it was going to run it was clear that due to snow, with red and orange weather warnings in many parts of the country, most of the presenters and many attendees were not going to be able to make it.

Welcome to the Conference Sign

MJ: Can you explain what we did?

PB: First we posted to the very helpful ALT-MEMBERS mailing list to ask for advice from the learning technology community. It was useful to read personal experiences of others, and the advice influenced some of the specific decisions we took.

The key thing for us was to enable the speakers to present from home, but we also wanted distance attendees to be able to experience and take part in the conference as much as possible. We decided to try and run the conference through Blackboard Collaborate. Speakers would present through it, and their webcam video and slides could be displayed on the big screen in the lecture theatre, as well as on distance attendees computer screens. Distance attendees could post questions in chat when it was time for post-presentation questions, and we used a Catchbox microphone to ensure that questions asked in the room, could be heard at a distance.

Welcome to Delegates

MJ: What were the issues and concerns?

PB: Because the conference was suddenly moved online, presenters’ slides were not created with Collaborate in mind. Animations don’t work as slides are converted to images, and videos need taking out of the slides and presenting another way. The presenters were fantastic and flexible and spent extra time changing to fit the limitations of presenting this way. Obviously in an ideal world we’d want to work with presenters to make the most of the technology, rather than be limited by it, but there just wasn’t time for that.

There were some distance attendees who were finding that slides were not updating, and we worked with Blackboard to identify that these users were not using the Chrome browser. Although we sent out instructions advising the use of Chrome, we identified two issues which we will need to consider in future. Not all users have an understanding that different web browsers are available, and I think their mental model of using the web is that they click on the ‘e’ to ‘open the internet’. The other thing to consider is the amount of pre-conference information that can you send to attendees before you get into a TL;DR situation?

Finally, even with wonderful, understanding and flexible presenters, unexpected things can happen. For example a presenter in the room might do something in the room which cannot be followed at a distance, for example writing on a flip chart. When that happened at this conference, we copied what was being written using the Collaborate annotation tools, allowing the distance attendees to follow. There are moments like that when you are a bit unsure what you are going to do.

Online Presentation

MJ: What would be your advice to others trying to do this?

PB: Running a ‘blended’ conference felt successful and we got good feedback from attendees, but we did have three people working on Collaborate all day during the conference, and spending the day before planning, and speaking to the presenters. One person was supporting the presenters, doing things like switching between the slides and the videos, switching the room mics on so distance presenters could hear the audience during discussion times, and operating the Catchbox mic. One person was at home, meaning they were aware of how the distance attendees were experiencing the conference, and they offered support to those having issues, as well as advising the people supporting the conference on campus of how it sounded and looked. The third person, was monitoring chat to collect questions from the distance attendees, welcoming and supporting attendees, copying what was written on flipcharts, etc. This sort of support, from people who understand the Collaborate system, is not often available.

You need to prepare online presenters in advance, so that their slides and planned activities are appropriate for the presentation method. Presenting online doesn’t have to be a worse experience than a face-to-face presentation, but you need to understand the strengths and limitations of the medium.

A lot of small things are quite important too. We found that putting some ‘elevator’ music on in the room between sessions, gave some feedback to distance attendees that they were in the right place. We made sure that Collaborate notifications are turned off on the presenter PC at the front, so that it was not bleeping as people entered and left the session.

Collaborate is a good solution to enable people to present online, but you need to be aware of the risks. If the presenter’s home internet is poor, then the session could be frustrating for attendees to follow. The Every Child Counts team very wisely had back-up plans for an alternative session, in case something went wrong. However, there are risks with face-to-face presentations too, as we saw with this conference. There is no reason to be scared of online presentations, as long as you and the attendees are prepared.

All over

MJ: Can you share any quotes with us?

Distance Attendee: “The day exceeded my expectations. The speakers were fantastic [… it was] all very informative and useful. The online conference was exceptional. It was very easy and smooth. The moderators were very helpful. A fantastic experience – would be a great way to deliver a course/ conference in the future.”

ECC Team: “[The Learning Technology Development team] managed a mixture of onsite and distant presenters and onsite and distant audiences that worked beautifully, was roundly praised by all concerned … and [the Every Child Count’s team are] very grateful”

Learning Technology Team: “We enjoyed the challenge and learnt a lot in the 12 working hours we had to prep, as well as during the event.”

Meg Juss, Learning Technology Development Manager

Meg Juss, Learning Technology Development Manager

Blackboard Collaborate Video Case Study 3 of 3

Third and final case study in the series (part 1 and part 2)

Caroline Galon, Graduate Teaching Assistant, in Performing Arts, explains the importance of mastering any new technology and how Blackboard Collaborate provides her with the most stable and reliable platform from which to conduct her research interviews. Caroline tell us how Person looking at image of people-overlay and world map.crucial it is for her research that she has confidence using the technology, especially as her research involves meeting online with extremely busy people, experts from around the world.

On attending training and after talking to her Faculty Learning Technologist, Caroline explains why she continued using Blackboard Collaborate and how she felt it offered her the complete and robust solution she needed.  It was also important to Caroline, that the web conferencing tool used is widely supported in terms of providing best practice resources, guidance and buddy support, particularly as a first time user.

Caroline Galon - youtube playerCaroline describes her own experience of interviewing participants, all of whom are external to Edge Hill University with no previous experience of Blackboard Collaborate and the challenges she faced along the way.  She continues to compare Blackboard Collaborate with Skype, which she feels is more user friendly.

The next release of Collaborate, ‘Ultra’, is currently being evaluated by LTD with internal stakeholders and external colleagues.  It has the potential to offer significant benefits over the current version, such as ease of entry and a more attractive and intuitive interface.

Blog 3 Bb Collab Case StudyBlackboard’s release notes will tell you more about the < The Ultra Experience https://en-us.help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/030_Get_Started/Navigation > and < The Ultra Changes https://en-us.help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Administrator/030_Changes.

If you feel inspired by this and other videos in the series and want to learn more about web conferencing (Blackboard Collaborate) and other technologies, your Learning Technologist can help.

In addition, you can access to Blackboard Collaborate training session, talk to your Learning Technologist for more information.

Martin Baxter
Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

Blackboard Collaborate Case Study 2 of 3

Blog 2 Bb Collab Case Study cropLesley Briscoe, Senior Lecturer on the International Midwifery Programme.  Lesley explains in this the second in a series of three video case studies (click to view the first in the series), the challenges of delivering a programme aimed at both conventional students and those accessing the programme online and from overseas.

She goes on to mention the solutions Blackboard Collaborate provided her, the Midwifery Team and the students studying the programme, particularly those attending from all corners of the world.

Lesley’s video outlines her personal experience and the significance that technology can play to instil confidence in developing an online course that is able to deliver all that it promises.

Click the YouTube image below to hear more about Lesley’s experience…LB youtube_player

If you feel inspired by this and other videos in the series and want to learn more about web conferencing (Blackboard Collaborate), your Learning Technologist can help.

In addition, you can access to Blackboard Collaborate training, talk to your Learning Technologist for more information.

Martin Baxter
Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

Blackboard Collaborate – Video Case Study 1 of 3

David Callaghan is a Learning Technologist and an Associate Tutor for the Faculty of Education on the Undergraduate Professional DevelopmentStudent participating in an online video conference session. Programme, a blended course – delivered mostly online – via our Blackboard VLE and the Collaborate web conferencing system, with some face to face conference days.  So, he can also practice what he preaches.

Collaborate is used by David and his colleagues for student inductions; it’s also used for tutorials giving an equivalent experience to that of distance learners. The feedback from students indicates that Collaborate has made them feel part of the University community.

David Callaghan Associate Tutor

David’s video tells us how using web conferencing can help create an equitable experience – by bringing students together online they are able to support and challenge each other and build a community of inquiry, as they would do in an on-campus classroom.

Learning Edge Blog Post – Student account:
“The experience for me was absolutely invaluable on every level and absolutely without a doubt was a contributing factor to achieving a first class honours.”

Read more in this blog post: Technologies are an “absolute lifeline” for our students!

If you feel inspired by this and other videos in the series and want to learn more about web conferencing (Blackboard Collaborate), your Learning Technologist can help.

In addition, you can access to Blackboard Collaborate training, talk to your Learning Technologist for more information.

Martin Baxter
Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

Get your own ‘Quick Hit’ video case study

Celebrate your success with Collaborate

We are creating a series of brief video case studies showcasing the success colleagues have been having with the Collaborate web conferencing system this year.Screen shot of YouTube video player

David Callaghan (also a member of the LTD team) is the first of a number of contributors to get involved from each Faculty (in his case Education).  Click on the YouTube image to see an example of the kind of short videos we are creating.

So, please let us know if you’d like your own case study, and watch out for the series that we’ll be launching in September. Call LTD Support on 01695 650754 or email LTDsupport@edgehill.ac.uk.

Martin Baxter

 

 

Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

What Equipment do I Need to Collaborate?

Classroom PCs with Blackboard Collaborate Logo insetBlackboard Collaborate is a real-time web conferencing and online learning tool that can be used to support teaching and learning and other collaborative projects, and is generating a great deal of interest within Faculties and Departments at Edge Hill University. There has been a major increase in its use for taught sessions, meetings and student support.Close-up of Plantronics Headset

Learning Technology Development (LTD) is often asked, “what equipment do I need to fully participate in a Blackboard Collaborate session?”  So we have come-up with a document and resources that allow you to “try before you buy”.

The eShare guide (LTD5032: Blackboard Collaborate: Audio and Video Equipment) outlines best practices and suggests equipment recommended by LTD based on our own experience of using it with Blackboard Collaborate.

Open boc with Blackboard Collaborate logo floating aboveNow, the try before you buy element comes from the investment made by Learning Services in quality equipment that you can borrow from the Library and testing it prior to your own or departmental purchase.

Want to learn more about Blackboard Collaborate and the benefits for staff and students who need real-time virtual collaboration.  Contact your LTDO for more information, consultation and any training you wish to explore.

Martin Baxter

 

 

Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

 

A collaborative experience that engages everyone, every time, everywhere

It is now possible to engage with your students wherever they are. Keep them engaged offering them collaborative and interactive activities and a learning experience. This can be done all through the new platform Blackboard Collaborate.

Blackboard Collaborate Overview

It allows you to create virtual classrooms to deliver presentations, show videos, show websites, communicate synchronously in real time, and engage students in activities that can be presented online.

Mobile support is also available so students can access the online session through an iPhone or an iPad allowing them to access the session wherever they maybe.

iPad

iPhone

 

 

 

 

 

The sessions can also be recorded to allow students to view the recording again and again.

Below is a link to a demonstration by a Blackboard Collaborate Advisor that gives further information on Blackboard Collaborate and the different ways it can be used.

Blackboard Collaborate Demonstration

If you have any questions or would like to find out more information you can contact me directly on 01695 650755 or irfan.mulla@edgehill.ac.uk

Irfan Mulla

 

 

 

 

 

Irfan Mulla

Learning Technology Development Officer (LTD)