November 12, 2014
by Rachael Inake
In a Teaching Excellence Program (TEP) session on September 10, 2014, Blanca Polo, Associate Professor of Computer Science, shared with us how she uses Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing tool in her face-to-face and online classes to engage students. Blackboard Collaborate is a live, online, web-conferencing platform that allows you to facilitate real-time interactive instruction and meetings to support a 21st-century teaching and learning environment. Features include: two-way audio, multi-point video, interactive whiteboard, application and desktop sharing, breakout rooms, session recording and more.
Blackboard Collaborate interface
Blanca Polo was one of Leeward CC’s first Blackboard Collaborate users in 2010. Since then, she has expanded her skills with Blackboard Collaborate and uses it innovatively in her face-to-face and online classes for interactive activities with her students.
One activity Blanca shared was using Blackboard Collaborate for an ice breaker activity. Usually students are shy and apprehensive during the first few classes. Using Blackboard Collaborate at the beginning of the semester lightens the mood and allows her and her students to get to know each other. As an ice breaker activity, Blanca uploads a PowerPoint presentation with funny questions on Blackboard Collaborate’s whiteboard to share with the students who are logged in. Blackboard Collaborate allows students to voice out their opinions via chat or write on the online whiteboard to get to know each other in the activity. Blanca facilitates the activity and shares her story so students get to know her as well.
Another activity Blanca shared was using Blackboard Collaborate for a test review using a Jeopardy game. This activity has proven very useful to engage students in both her face-to-face and online classes. She uploads a PowerPoint presentation with Jeopardy-like questions to Blackboard Collaborate’s whiteboard and has a student keep score. Teams of students take turns to answer questions while she plays the minute-long Jeopardy jingle for fun. If a team gives the wrong answer, the next team has the chance at the same question. Students really get into the game!
Blanca says, “Jeopardy over Blackboard Collaborate helped me unify students in a class that I was teaching where half of the students were online attending from UH Manoa and the rest were sitting in the same classroom I was at Leeward.”
TEP participants enjoyed Blanca’s session and got to participate in Blackboard Collaborate with Blanca too. Since there was interest in Blackboard Collaborate, a Blackboard Collaborate Moderator Training (four-part) workshop series will be held on the following dates from 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm and is open to the campus:
- Friday, November 21
- Monday, November 24
- Friday, December 5
- Monday, December 8
Once trained, instructors may have their very own Blackboard Collaborate virtual room for a semester (and is renewable, if interested). To sign up for the free Blackboard Collaborate Moderator Training four-part workshop series, register below or click here to register.