ON DEMAND: Teaching Large Synchronous Online Classes with Blackboard Collaborate (15 mins)
This proposal is for a teaching demonstration of Blackboard Collaborate features for a large (45+) partially or fully synchronous online class. The focus here will be on large undergraduate classes. For a large class (45+ students), Blackboard Collaborate provides a different experience than for a small class. For instance, it is not necessary for students to use their webcams and microphones to participate in discussion since this becomes unmanageable; similarly, the “raise hand” feature is less useful in large classes. Rather, the group chat feature allows real-time interaction to questions from the instructor. The demonstration will include how to set up recurring web conferences, record the sessions, take attendance, use the group chat feature for class discussion, share screen, and use the whiteboard for an almost seamless transition from a classroom to synchronous online environment. My classes are asynchronous/synchronous hybrids, so they also include prerecorded lectures with rolling interactive transcripts and weekly quizzes that students complete before the synchronous session begins. In addition, Blackboard Collaborate contains features that are absent in a traditional classroom session, such as instant polling, breakout rooms, and moderated chats between students, which can actually increase engagement over a classroom setting. The demonstration will include samples of online "workshops" that I have created to generate group discussion in the online classes. I will also show clips from the recordings of my previous online classes to show the level of student interaction in the discussions on the group chat.