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Is there a place for Blackboard Collaborate in blended learning design?


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Durham Blackboard Users Conference 2016. Does Blackboard Collaborate and similar synchronous collaborative technology has a justifiable place contributing to blended learning and teaching or will forever remain in the distance learning
domain? Please feel free to share your suggestions to the padlet at - abstract available at

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Is there a place for Blackboard Collaborate in blended learning design?

  1. 1. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: Is there a place for Blackboard Collaborate in blended learning design? Matt Cornock University of York Durham Blackboard Users Conference 2016
  2. 2. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: Blackboard Collaborate Blackboard Collaborate provides synchronous online learning with voice/video chat, text chat, remote presentations, breakout rooms, polling, application sharing and shared whiteboard space. The mobile app is particularly good, with an intuitive interface that works well. The desktop ‘classic’ version works on both PC and Mac but requires a launcher programme that can sometimes be difficult to install. The new ‘ultra’ version runs in-browser but doesn’t have the same functionality, yet.
  3. 3. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: learning from failure? Why hasn’t Blackboard Collaborate and other synchronous online platforms permeated campus-based courses with blended learning design. Our experience, and indeed that of the delegates at #durbbu, was that Collaborate is primarily used in distance learning courses. How might this software, and the learning experiences it offers, support learning objectives on face-to-face programmes?
  4. 4. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: Issues Sound quality Connection reliability Launcher installation Whiteboard quirks Photo:
  5. 5. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: “the usual spontaneity of a face-to-face workshop was lost” Case Study: Iain Barr, Centre for Lifelong Learning Seminar on campus Distance students Teaching seminar Photo: “remote students had largely formed their own small learning community”
  6. 6. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: Support and scalability Photo: The complexity of the software, and more significantly the complexity of learning designs, often requires support from learning technologists or technicians. Support is often to boost confidence in the use of the technology, waving the magic wand (or sonic screwdriver) where appropriate. This form of technology hasn’t got the ubiquitous use that drives independent use yet.
  7. 7. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: Case Study: John Blase, Health Sciences Expert tutor Distance students Distance learning Photo: Ease of contact, scheduled time Increased engagement and enjoyment Tutor and technical facilitator Structured, regular pattern in sessions
  8. 8. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: Use cases at York Research seminar Individual tuition Teleconferencing Teaching seminar Tutorials from experts Careers workshops Distance learning Learning technology webinars Photo:
  9. 9. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: Collaborate versus… Whilst Skype is used regularly professionally and socially, it does require an account, has limits to participants and doesn’t offer the structured learning activities that can be designed in with Collaborate. Google Hangouts is useful for Google Apps institutions, but getting a Hangout set up requires knowledge of Google interfaces and terminology, not always intuitive.
  10. 10. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: what about blended learning? Michael (2012, p.161) asserted ‘many academic staff continue to prefer traditional teaching methods and, more importantly, are quite sceptical about the potential for student learning in online environments’. This may be an overstatement of the apprehension of new technologies, though the ‘pilot’ effect can put off staff. Or, is reticence because Collaborate doesn’t fit into a blend but is the domain of distance learning?
  11. 11. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: blended design online in class A strong relationship is needed between both learning spaces for: learning objectives, content, activities.
  12. 12. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: collaboration in isolation online online onlinein class Risks of use of Collaborate where it has not been embedded and links between online and in class activities creates disjointed learning experience.
  13. 13. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: learning design: additional point of contact De Freitas and Neumann (2009) in class teaching collaborate webinar The use of Collaborate is loosely connected to the scheduled teaching programme (supervision, reading groups). De Freitas and Neumann (2009) discuss ‘Synchronous audiographic conferencing’ multimodal models of cognition, meaning and interaction - the way webinars support communities of inquiry, a pedagogical approach that values social interactions, in particular the construction of understanding by a group of learners through shared expertise and experience.
  14. 14. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: learning design: delivery of content Wang and Hsu (2008) collaborate webinar independent study Collaborate webinars are used to deliver the core content of a module, required or in preparation for students’ independent study. Doesn’t work for all types of content delivery (e.g. technical training). Wang and Hsu (2008) suggest a number of approaches to facilitation of remote lectures with particular emphasis on developing conceptual knowledge through interactions. They also caution against requiring students to do too many disparate activities, or practical tasks remotely, due to the challenge of keeping participants on track with the session.
  15. 15. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: learning design: double-flip pre-session lecture or reading activity in class teaching collaborate webinar A flipped-classroom model requires students to undertake preliminary tasks, usually in the form of watching an online lecture or reading, to develop a theory base for discussion or practical activities. The insertion of a collaborate webinar between these two stages provides opportunities for expert viewpoints that may not be able to be brought into the face-to-face session, but none-the-less require some form of theoretical grounding first. Each phase addresses a different level of learning towards of higher order objectives.
  16. 16. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: appropriateness of Collaborate - is Collaborate an appropriate tool for blended learning? - what learning designs could take advantage of Collaborate? Starting points… problem-based learning, conveying information, experiential learning, tutor-mediated discussion, reflective learning, research-driven learning, competency based learning, self-directed learning, peer-teaching DISCUSSION
  17. 17. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: how do we get people to use it?
  18. 18. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: promoting Collaborate  Newsletter  Roadshows
  19. 19. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: promoting Collaborate  Newsletter  Roadshows  SlideShare overview
  20. 20. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: promoting Collaborate  Newsletter  Roadshows  SlideShare overview  Online demonstrations  Using it for staff development
  21. 21. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: how to develop staff buy in? - what approaches have you taken? - what works and what doesn’t? DISCUSSION
  22. 22. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: does Collaborate have a place in blended learning design? - failure points - strengths for distance learning - possible design models - methods of promotion
  23. 23. @mattcornock #durbbu Padlet: References Examples and discussion of learning design at de Freitas, S. and Neumann, T. (2009) Pedagogic strategies supporting the use of Synchronous Audiographic Conferencing: A review of the literature, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol.40, no.6, pp.980-998. Faulds, D. (2015) Overcoming Geographical Obstacles: The use of Skype in a graduate-level social media and marketing course, American Journal of Business Education, vol.8, no.2, pp.79-94. Michael, K. (2012) Virtual classroom: reflections of online learning, Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol.29, no.3, pp.156-165. Wang, S. and Hsu, H. (2008). Use of the Webinar Tool (Elluminate) to Support Training: The Effects of Webinar-Learning Implementation from Student-Trainers’ Perspective. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 7(3), 175-194.