Blackboard Collaborate Training Session

I ran this session Learning Technology Support staff on Friday April 4th 2014. There was a relatively informal atmosphere with a good amount of group discussion through out the process, participants clarifying areas where they were uncertain about technical requirements and functionality.

There were also interesting comments made regarding the potential to provide remote one-on-one software support with the application sharing feature of the program.

It was also felt that a request should be made to Central IT for the BB Collaborate software and JAVA launcher to be installed on college machines as standard, removing the issues around administrator passwords and JAVA updates.

Discussion focused on using BB Collaborate in practice it was agreed that most users were unlikely to use the full capabilities of the software and indeed, initially users should be encourage to ‘start small’, using the basics of the software so that both moderator and participants could familiarize themselves with the functionality before incorporating more advanced elements. In this way users can develop their own experience on a class by class basis, for example a Illustration class might well make use of whiteboard or web tools for sharing work during a crate, or share an application for software training, whilst a business lecture might only use the PowerPoint slides and audio with students raising their hands in chat to ask questions. Essentially the style of class will define the end use.

1. Introduction.

▪ What is online collaboration

▪ Different tools : BB Collab, Webex, Skype, Wimba

▪ Why BB Collab

⁃ Moodle integration

⁃ UAL endorsed (CLTAD support etc)

2. Enabling Access.

This is probably the most important (and fiddly) part of the training. Logging in to a session and running the BB Collaborate is a process punctuated with pop up notifications and reminders to update Java etc. The aim is to introduce the process of setting up and session and accessing the player, acknowledging that some ‘jigery pokery’ maybe necessary to install and run the client on some machines. Expect to answer a number of questions relating to ‘unexpected’ access issues… hopefully these will give the group an idea of the style of issues that may result from getting BB Collaborate working.

▪ FIREFOX RECOMMENDED (Java updates issue with UAL machines running Chrome / IE / Safari)

▪ Log into Moodle

▪ Enroll participants into (LTS) Moodle sandpit

▪ Demonstrate scheduling and options to create a session.

⁃ Set number of talkers

⁃ Inviting participants not in the Moodle group

⁃ Adding moderators (for tech support etc)

⁃ Teleconferencing options

⁃ Automatic recording options.

▪ Trainees log into session

⁃ Connect via LAN

⁃ Download BBC launcher

⁃ Java

⁃ Mic and video set up

3. Guide tour : Basic Functionality.

The interface has been designed with intuitive use in mind, all but the most computer averse should feel at home relatively quickly after a brief guided tour. The subsequent ‘Explore’ aspect of the training should give participants a chance to familiarise themselves with the finer points of how the tools work.

During the tour participants should be encouraged to use the basic functions like chat and audio before breaking out into their own exploration in pairs.

▪ Distinction between moderator and participant

▪ Audio / Video panel

▪ Participants panel

▪ Chat panel

▪ Loading content (Powerpoint presentations etc – best to do this priorate the session)

▪ Setting up multiple pages

▪ Manually starting recordings

▪ Main work space

⁃ Whiteboard

⁃ Web tools

⁃ Application sharing

▪ Creating a breakout room

This is a good point to discuss how break out rooms could be used to provide in class support to students with software / audio / video issues without disturbing the rest of the class. Moderators can create a room for a support technician to sit in throughout the session so students can be sent to them.

Once the guided tour is complete get everyone to exit the session so that the recording will begin to process.

4. Explore. (Pairs) (Each partner should complete the tasks as a moderator and a participant…)

a. One of the pair create a session with your name so your partner can log in as a participant

b. Log in (as a moderator) from Moodle

c. Enable chat, webcam, Audio, whiteboard

d. Greet one another in the text chat panel

e. Turn on video and audio  (both partners)

f. Communicate using audio

g. Collaborate on the white board

h. Use the web tools screen to show a web page

i. Participant use the raise hand

j. Participant use the vote option

k. (optional) Join with the session via the telephone number (Mobile phones seem to work more consistently than landlines?)

Through out the exploration session : Feedback / questions / discussion.

5. Recording.

After you close the Basic functionality session the recording will take a few minutes to process the recording. Once it is complete demonstrate to the group how play back can be accessed using the BB Collaborate player.

▪ Where they show up in Moodle

⁃ In the BBC session on the Moodle list

⁃ As a block (from the side bar)

▪ Playback with BB Collab

▪ Convert to mp3 / Mov

6. Discussion / Round Up.

Depending on the needs of the group this could take the form of a technical / academic / administration discussion (or a mix of).

Booking / coordinating support is likely to raised here if it has not been already. As support is currently limited these discussions may need to be directed to CLTAD or local LTS / LTS like departments.

▪ Further specialised support available from CLTAD

▪ Support on line


▪ Feedback from group…


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