My final 10 musings on using Blackboard Collaborate™ Thanks for reading!
- Use the Forum. Encourage asynchronous discussions. As participants are busy with life and deadlines, it can be a challenge to generate engagement here. Remind them to use the forum as a solid sounding board that they can draw from to prep for assignments. Also, invite everyone to feed queries and comments onto the forum instead of emailing you directly. If some students still email, ask them to copy and paste onto the forum before you reply. Everyone can then benefit from questions or clarifications. Also, relay back to forum entries to invite dialogue during synchronous sessions.
2. Send out Regular Reminders/Announcements. We all need gentle reminders to press the Talk Button before breaking out into groups or populating the public page with comments
3. Wait time. Allow for wait time throughout for dialogical engagement. Just because you have a set time to get through, don’t feel you have to rush it. So what if you don’t get through every slide! Quality over quantity rules. Follow up by using the forum as a means of engaging the group with the remaining slides you haven’t covered.
4. Loop back on chat box comments: Ask participants to loop back on their peer ideas and develop one idea on the whiteboard/public page. I once had a group of 400 participants online and in an effort to keep it as interactive as I could, I decided to put up a key organising question on a public page and then asked them to respond to it in the chat box. I knew I didn’t have enough time to scan through all the replies so I asked the group to do it. They then used the whiteboard to identify emerging threads from the feed. This way you avoid the experience of a meaningless doss attack!
5. Kick-start Reflective Blogging. The idea here is to create and develop a critical discourse within the group. As participants become familiar with evaluating, reviewing, reflecting, and revising their own thoughts, they begin the process of critical reflection. Encourage a discussion on other contributions and reply back to the comments made by others on their blogs.
6. Screenshot Blog Points. Ask everyone to post and share with the group, a screenshot of one point from their blogs. This is a good way to stimulate further reflection.
7. Save Everything – especially all chat box messages and links. I screen shoot comments on the whiteboard or cut and paste from the chat box to create as a transcript that can be then posted on the forum asynchronously. It’s a great resource to draw on to inspire blogs and develop research questions. It’s also a good exercise for yourself to go back on transcripts to develop threads out for future sessions.
8. Post Participant Quotes on a future slides. Use a quote from a participant’s forum or blog to deepen critical thinking. This helps to encapsulate group perspectives on the particular topic.
9. Invite Participants to Present a portion of the next Blackboard session on their findings, emerging research or blog thoughts.
10. Blog-it! If participants give vague, oblique or challenging responses that time doesn’t allow you answer, ask them to follow the point up as a blog. This can be so rewarding.