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Using Collaborate Successfully

Blackboard Collaborate is a web conferencing that offers you an interactive experience through your computer, tablet, or mobile device anywhere, anytime. A fully interactive web conferencing environment and asynchronous voice authoring capabilities allow for greater engagement so that you're not missing a thing.

1. Hold a Live Class Remotely

  1. Download Quick Start Guide for Collaborate for step-by-step instructions. The guide also includes tips for running a great live session.
  2. Watch How to create a Collaborate session.
  3. Watch How to join a Collaborate session via guest link.
  4. Record your live classes for students who are unable to attend. Please be as flexible as possible with attendance and participation policies.
  5. Reach out to students who miss a live class. The students might be experiencing technical difficulties or limited access to technology hardware.
  6. Keep track of students using the Attendance Reporting for Collaborate.

2. Use Breakout Groups for Small Group Work

To facilitate collaboration during a live session, use Breakout Groups in Collaborate. Breakout Groups are separate areas off the main room.  You can assign attendees to a group where they can complete collaborative activities. Breakout Groups have their own private audio, video, whiteboard, application sharing, and chat. Breakout Groups cannot be recorded.

  1. Get started with Breakout Groups by watching a video from Blackboard.
  2. See how students can share files in the Breakout room.
  3. Learn more about Breakout Groups with step-by-step instructions.

3. Try Collaborate Polling with Your Class

  1. Poll your class during a discussion or lecture in a live session.
  2. Create a multiple-choice or yes/no poll.
  3. Show the poll responses to students.
  4. Learn more about poll for Collaborate live sessions from Blackboard.

4. Record Your Lecture

Use Collaborate to record your lecture.

  1. Be authentic. Students don't mind if you make a mistake or flub a few words. Students don't care if you have bad hair. They are interested in the authentic, passionate you. If you make a mistake, move on and continue with the recording.  Don't spend a lot of time editing the video.
  2. Upload and share your PowerPoint or PDF files to Collaborate.
  3. Watch a video about sharing files in Collaborate.
  4. Start a recording.
  5. Share your recording with students through a link.

4. Set Up Your Office Hours and/or Set Up Sessions for Group Work

  1. Watch how to create a Session.
  2. Learn about Session settings.
  3. Communicate a schedule with students.
  4. Explain to students how to access sessions.

5. View Collaborate Reports

After you finish with your Collaborate session, you can download a quick report of who was in attendance and how long they were able to attend.

  1. In Collaborate, click on the circle with the three buttons, which is to the right of the session name.
  2. Select View Reports from the drop down menu.
  3. Click on View Reports.
  4. The report can be downloaded as a CSV file.

6. Plan for Bandwidth Limitations

To conserve bandwidth and increase the strength of your Collaborate live sessions with students, the following tips may make the connection better:

  1. Turn off all webcams.
  2. Turn off student audio. Students can use the chat window to ask questions.
  3. Upload PPT file to Blackboard and ask students to download, open and follow along without screen sharing.
  4. Break class into groups. Each group would meet live at a different time and day.
  5. Keep lecture to 20 mins. recordings.
  6. Create a script in the PowerPoint Notes. Printing ‘Notes pages’ to PDF allows students to read your notes and see the image at the same time.
  7. Use Discussions forums in place of in-class discussions. Ask the students to initially post on Weds/Thur and then reply to their peers at least three times.