Blackboard's Collaboration Tools by xiaoshuogu

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									Blackboard’s Collaboration Tools
Blackboard’s Collaboration Tools ..................................................................................................... 1 Overview .................................................................................................................................................... 1 Important Notes .....................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Chat ............................................................................................................................................................ 2 Who Gets to Chat? .................................................................................................................................. 3 Instructor Chat Tools .............................................................................................................................. 3 Archiving/Recording Chat Conversations .............................................................................................. 3 Accessing Archived Chat Sessions ......................................................................................................... 4 Managing Archives ................................................................................................................................. 4 Removing Archives ................................................................................................................................ 4 The Virtual Classroom ............................................................................................................................. 4 Virtual Classroom Map ........................................................................................................................... 5 Virtual Classroom Whiteboard ............................................................................................................... 5 Whiteboard Drawing Tools..................................................................................................... 6 Whiteboard “Slideshows” ....................................................................................................... 6 Virtual Classroom Group Browser ......................................................................................................... 7 Virtual Classroom Chat........................................................................................................................... 7 Ask Question (Student View) ................................................................................................. 7 Ask Question (Instructor View) .............................................................................................. 8 Troubleshooting the Virtual Classroom Chat ......................................................................................... 8

Overview
Blackboard‟s collaboration tools allow you to communicate “live” with your class (think “live” TV). In other words, you and your students must schedule a time to be simultaneously logged in to use these tools. This is referred to as synchronous, live communication. There are two “live” collaboration tools you can choose from: Chat or Virtual Classroom. The chat is a simple text-based tool, similar to AOL‟s Instant Messaging. The Virtual Classroom has a text chat, but also includes a virtual white board, which can be used to display course materials such as slide presentations, equations, and websites. Instructors enter chat tools from the Control Panel, while students access them through the Communication button (if the course has one) or Communication link in the main course menu. NOTE: Java Plug-In is required for the Chat/Virtual Classroom to run. If the Java Plug-in is not installed or if you have trouble running the collaboration tools, use the link provided by Blackboard: “download the Java Plug-In”.

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Both chat tools use a pop-up window, so participants should disable pop-up blockers prior to chatting. It is probably a good idea to have students test out the chat fifteen minutes earlier than the scheduled discussion time so there‟s time to turn off their pop-up blockers and/or download the Java tool.

Chat
Chat is a good starting place for instructors new to synchronous communication. Participants conduct an online discussion by typing short, text-based messages. The instructor sets up a new session by clicking + Collaboration Session (see right), then filling in the session name and information, and selecting the chat tool from the dropdown menu.

Joining a Chat Session

Instructors notify students as to when the chat will be. At the scheduled time, the instructor and students join the chat session by selecting the Join button. To chat, participants type a message in the Compose text box and then hit Send or Enter. To send or respond to a private message, participants click on a student name, and then click Private Message.

The left part of the screen displays a list of participants within the chat.

The right part of the screen displays the chat text.

Chat with Text Box (Instructor View)

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Who Gets to Chat?
By default, students are active participants and can chat as freely as the instructor but this can sometimes become unwieldy. If instructors want the floor to themselves, they may double-click on the face icons next to the students‟ name. This changes the students to a passive role and prevents them from chatting again until the instructor double-clicks again, changing their roles back to active ones.

Passive students are „ghosted.‟ If a student is in passive role, but wishes to ask a question, he can „raise his hand‟ by clicking on the hand icon at the bottom of his or her screen (not visible to instructors). The number indicates the order of student questions.
Active and Passive Students (Instructor View)

Instructor Chat Tools
There are also a few simple menus the instructor can use to manage discussions.
Blackboard Chat Controls

 



View – Set Private Messaging Options (display in a separate window or within main discussion) Controls – Set access rights for participants (active or passive). Be careful, using this menu to give rights to passive users overrides the instructor‟s ability to stop a participant from chatting. There is also an option in this menu for ending the session for all participants. o Clear – Clears the chat display. o Clear Local – clear only your chat screen. o Clear All Users – clear the chat screen for all users. End – Click “Ok” to end the session for all users.

Archiving/Recording Chat Conversations
Many times, not all students are able to join in a chat session at the scheduled time. Blackboard allows instructors to record and save an archive of chat sessions so that it can be made accessible to students after the chat session has ended. Instructors must manually begin the recording process to activate archiving of conversations. NOTE: in previous versions of Blackboard, this archiving process was automatic. The recording controls are in the upper right hand corner of the screen.     Start - Start Recording Pause - Pause recording Stop – Stop recording Insert Bookmark – Mark a place within the conversation

Recording Controls

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Accessing Archived Chat Sessions
To access an archived chat session, do the following: 1. Go to the Control Panel. 2. Select Collaboration. 3. Within the list of collaboration sessions, locate the session with the archive you want to view (only sessions with archives will show the Recordings button).

4. Click the Recordings button to display the list of archives available for that particular collaboration session. A list of all available archives will appear (see below).

5. Click the name of the archive. The entire conversation will appear, but it will be read-only.

Managing Archives
Remember to access your archives via the Control Panel, Collaboration Tool: 1. Click the Manage button located to the right of the archived session. 2. You have the following options: a. Change the name of the archive. b. Make archive available or unavailable to students. c. Select Submit to save changes.

Removing Archives
1. Select the Remove button located next to the name of the archive. 2. You will be told that this action is final and cannot be undone. 3. Select Cancel or Delete.

The Virtual Classroom

Joining a Virtual Classroom Session

You and your students join the Virtual Classroom by selecting the Join button. The Virtual Classroom has a text box for chatting, but also includes a Virtual Whiteboard which can be used for displaying class materials (e.g., PowerPoint presentations), websites, and for drawing diagrams. There are four Virtual Classroom options: Map, Whiteboard, Group Browser, and Ask Questions.

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Virtual Classroom Map
The map is used to display Blackboard course materials to students, for example to display a PowerPoint presentation (materials must already be uploaded to your Blackboard course). Course contents are displayed in a tree structure. 1. Locate the folder or area that contains the content you want to display. 2. Highlight the file. 3. From the pull down menu located under the course map, select one of the following: a. Display to Class – displays item b. Preview in New Window – previews item c. Refresh Tree – resets course map 4. Click Go.

Virtual Classroom Whiteboard
The Whiteboard is comprised of “pages” or slides and used to display drawings, diagrams, and math equations to students. To use Whiteboard, select Whiteboard and either the Controls or the Tools tab. Controls - Create new slides or pages by clicking on the plus sign. Tools – Use the equation or drawing tools to create dynamic displays in the pages.

Controls Menu Option

Drawing Tools Menu

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Whiteboard Drawing Tools
Specific tools allow the instructor to use the whiteboard dynamically. Selecting the:  arrow activates the tools displayed on the top of the main window (whiteboard display area).  diagonal line enables you to draw a straight line.  pen enables free draw.  “∑” opens an equation editor. Select “∑”, click on the whiteboard display to activate editor, create your equation, then select Insert Equation to display it on the whiteboard.  square enables you to create a square or rectangle.  circle enables you to create a circle or oval.  “T” opens a text box. Select “T”, click on the whiteboard display area to activate the editor, type your text, and then select Insert to display it on the whiteboard.

Whiteboard “Slideshows”
Sometimes, instructors may wish to create a pre-made whiteboard slideshow: Here‟s how: Using Pages to Display Content to Students 1. Click onto the Control tab. 2. By default you are given one page called “Page 1”. 3. Click Display (located below the tabs) to show the contents of Page 1 within the whiteboard display area. 4. Click onto the Tools tab. 5. Use the drawing tools to add items to this page. Note: Anything you add is automatically saved. Adding Additional Pages 1. Select the Control tab (you should see your Page 1 listed already). 2. Select the “+” sign to add an additional page. Click Display. 3. Select the Tools tab to use the drawing tools to add text, graphics or equations. 4. Return to the Control Tab to keep adding pages. Deleting Pages 1. From the Control Tab, click once onto the name of the page you want to delete. 2. Click onto the “X” to delete it. Saving Whiteboard Pages for the Archive If you are archiving the course, the Whiteboard pages do not save automatically. However, you can take a “snapshot” of the completed board to save it to the archive. To do this, click on the small camera icon on the right side of the Whiteboard toolbar.

Snapshot icon on Whiteboard toolbar

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Virtual Classroom Group Browser
Use this feature to display websites to your students while inside the virtual classroom.  Click onto Group Browser.  Type the address of the website you wish to display.  Click Go. The site will appear on the right side of your screen, above the chat window.  You must type full web addresses in order for your students to see new pages (even if you can see them). Although you can „browse‟ to new pages, your students can‟t see them unless you type the URL in the Address box and click on the Go button.

The Group Browser Option with the Virtual Classroom

Virtual Classroom Chat
Ask Question (Student View)
   Students use the Ask Question to type questions to instructors. The instructor uses the Question Inbox to respond. Students type their question within the box (see right). Students click Send to send the message to their instructor.

Sending a Question to Instructor

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Ask Question (Instructor View)
   Instructors go to their Question Inbox to read and answer questions. To read a question, click on the name of the message sender. To respond, select the left arrow button just above the word “From.” A new window opens with a Response text box. Type a response, then click Send.

Responding to Questions Opening a Response Text Box

Troubleshooting the Virtual Classroom Chat
    Have students try out the chat prior to the start time of the actual chat so they can be sure their computer is set up with the necessary Java technology. Post an announcement on Blackboard to remind students where to access the Virtual Classroom. Prepare a list of “ground rules” and display them at the beginning of class to keep everyone on topic and paying attention. Have a backup plan in case there are glitches, and let the students know this plan in advance. A good alternative is to post questions on the Discussion Board.

If students are having trouble:  Check to make sure students have downloaded the latest Java version.  Make sure students are not using a pop-up blocker. This will prevent the chat tools from launching. Most popup blockers can be turned off temporarily.  Students may get „kicked off‟ the chat connection. If so, have them log back on.

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Getting Help with Technology at the University of Hartford
Faculty Center for Learning Development (FCLD) FCLD provides consulting and instructional support to faculty and staff who are using technology in teaching and learning. The FCLD Faculty Lab in Mortensen 203a is available for faculty support and use and is equipped with instructional technology- related equipment including: PCs, Macs, scanners, and projectors as well as support staff. Faculty wishing to use the lab may contact FCLD. Phone: 768-4661 Email: fcld@hartford.edu Website: http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/fcld/ Information Technology Services (ITS) ITS Help Desk – Computing Center For general computer and Internet/network support questions (not directly related to the classroom but rather passwords, Internet/email problems, printer not working, banner, facebook, and grades). Phone: 768-5999 Email: its@hartford.edu Website: http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/its/ Media Technology Services (MTS) – Harry Jack Gray Center 111A Faculty should contact MTS for assistance scheduling or implementing classroom technology (2-way video classrooms, Smart Podiums, COWS, laptops, etc.) or for scheduling and instruction for a wide variety of media equipment and resources like LCD data projectors, CD/cassette players, TVs and VCRs, digital video, and more. Phone: 768-4643 (Main) or 768-4662 (Tech Line) Website: www.hartford.edu/mts

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