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Using Blackboard Collaborate in Face-to-Face Classes

I know what you’re thinking — you teach face-to-face courses and maybe use Blackboard to supplement what you’re doing in class, so how could you have a use for Collaborate, right?

In case you aren’t familiar with Blackboard Collaborate, this Skype-style tool allows you to video chat in real time and share documents or your screen with others.

Even though this tool sounds like it’s best used in online-only courses, here are a few ideas you can try to enhance your face-to-face course. 

Offer Study Guide Sessions

Are your students asking for guidance to help them study for an upcoming exam? But maybe doing so would eat into your class time and you need to go over some more important concepts that you want them to learn.

Why not try offering a study guide session via Collaborate? The study session could be optional, but it would still give students an opportunity to ask you questions and interact with you, as opposed to just getting a handout with a few items listed. Plus, you could record the session, so if some students are working, in class, or otherwise committed during that time, they can go back and watch the recording.

Host Guest Speakers

Do you have a friend or colleague across the country who could provide a really great guest lecture for your students? Invite them to speak through Collaborate.

The tool allows you to send a url to guests, so you could email it ahead of time. With a little classroom prep, you could project the session on the wall, set up a microphone or two and arrange the web cam so your guest speaker can see your class.

Hold Office Hours

Feeling experimental? Try offering virtual office hours via Collaborate once a week and see if that has any effect on how students contact you.

Or, if you’re not feeling quite as experimental, you could just hold virtual office hours if you are going to be out of town for a conference or special circumstance.

Substitute a Webinar Assignment for a Class Presentation

No matter what industry you’re in, webinars are a popular way to present and share information. Often, webinars involve multiple presenters, so you may consider assigning a group webinar in place of a group presentation.

The assignment could increase your students’ competence with live-streaming technologies, and it might be interesting to see how the medium changes the group dynamic and creates different challenges.

Wrapping it Up

You may have your own creative uses for Blackboard Collaborate. Please let me know how you’re using the tool, and we’d be happy to feature your use case on the blog!

Jayna Phinney
Jayna Phinney

Jayna Phinney is the Instructional Technology Specialist for the ASU College of Science and Engineering. Contact her at or 325-486-6264.



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