• Option 1: Live Classes via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

    Teaching Remotely using Blackboard

    This option works especially well for small discussion-based classes, though it’s also effective for large lectures, especially if you have a moderator.

    The Tech Side

    Already a Blackboard User? Using Blackboard with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

    Pedagogical Recommendations

    • Use the chat and raise hand features
      • Moderate discussion, i.e., “call on” a student with a comment to speak, to help them break into the conversation. o You might use the chat to troubleshoot technical problems. For example, if a student is having trouble connecting via audio or video, the chat might be a space for you as the instructor or for fellow students to work together to problem- solve. This may, again, be an opportunity to assign a student to a special role, especially if you have students eager to help on the technical aspect of things.
    • Rethink your classroom activities
      • Have students write and comment together on a shared Google Doc.
      • Try using the Collaborate Ultra polling feature or Google Forms to collect student responses, and then share results with both in-person and online students.
    • Consider making PowerPoint slides or discussion questions available in advance in Blackboard or by email. If sharing slides in advance to Blackboard, share as PDFs, as students will be able to access the material on their phones. You can also share your files right in Collaborate Ultra.

    Troubleshooting Tips

    • Allow students to enter the Collaborate Ultra session 15 minutes early. This will give everyone time to test their microphone and/or video camera and be ready for the start of the session.
    • Turn on your microphone.
    • If your Internet connection is slow or lagging, consider temporarily turning off your video stream and only maintaining the audio stream. Sometimes, running the web camera on your computer will use up the Internet’s bandwidth in a way that might make communication challenging. Turning off the video should improve communication quality and consistency.
    • If you have earbuds or a headphone set, wear them! Wearing earbuds or headphones will reduce the amount of noise that your computer will pick up during your quality, which will make it easier for your students to hear you. Similarly, you may want to advise your students to wear earbuds or headphones during the call.
    • Advise students to mute their microphones if they are not speaking and unmute the microphones when they wish to speak. Students may be joining from different locations, many of which may create background noise that could be distracting. Encourage students to mute themselves if they’re not speaking to minimize unnecessary or distracting background noise. Using the “raise hand” feature or simply seeing the microphone unmuted will give the group a visual cue for when a student wishes to speak.
    • Check the “chat” space for student questions and contributions. Some students may not have working microphones and, therefore, may be unable to contribute via voice. The chat room is a good place for students to contribute, ask questions, and be involved.

    Accessibility Suggestions

    • Automatic live captioning is not available (you can add captions if you save Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session as a YouTube video. You may wish to use Google Slides and enable the live captioning feature within Google Slides. If you share your screen using Google Slides, your voice will be captured and live captions will appear. For students who are blind or have low visibility, narrate the material that you’re displaying visually on the screen. Just as you might read materials aloud in class, read screen material that you share on-screen just in case students are not able to see essential text.

    Alternatives to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra are Zoom and Skype.

    Next: Option 2: Pre-recorded Lectures