Tag Archives: blackboard collaborate

Webinaring it

.: Any question??? :.

Webinars are quite popular these days, they allow multiple participants to gather and learn about stuff. They are in many ways a virtual classroom.

Unlike tools such as Moodle which allow for (mostly) asynchronous learning activities, the core of a webinar is that the learning is synchronous; everyone is online at the same time, all doing the same stuff.

It is possible to use other tools such as Google Hangouts or Skype for a small scale experience, but professional webinar tools such as Adobe Connect or Blackboard Collaborate allow many more participants and offer much more functionality, as well as recording facilities.

Webinars allow for:

  • Live Video
  • Recorded Video
  • Video Conferencing
  • Presentations
  • Whiteboards
  • Collaboration
  • Quizzes
  • Polls
  • Breakout Rooms
  • Simulations
  • Learning Objects

These tools allow teachers to design their curriculum to be delivered to a range of remote participants on a device of their choosing, regardless of connection or location. I have seen people use iPads, Android phones, as well as laptops and PCs, to access webinars.

In many ways a webinar should not be seen as a replacement for a classroom session, though it in many ways does replicate such sessions virtually, it should really be seen as a solution to not having a session.
Webinars can be used occasionally, useful for guest speakers or across campuses. They can also be used as a core part of the delivery of a blended delivery programme. From a curriculum design perspective, webinar tools (alongside tools such as Moodle and Google+) allow you to deliver a blended curriculum to learners who may not be able to access a traditional learning environment on a regular basis. For example imagine a course where the learners attend once a month at the campus, but meet weekly in a webinar, and have additional support and materials delivered through the VLE (Moodle), whilst using a closed Google+ community for collaborative activities, sharing, discussion and peer support.

Webinars are a great tool for widening participation, inclusion and increasing accessibility.

I have been delivering webinars for many years, sometime to small groups or individuals, and also to over a hundred delegates at an online conference. I have used a range of different webinar technologies, and understand the advantages and challenges of the different tools, both from the perspective of a presenter (host) and a participant.

100 ways to use a VLE – #85 Interactive Whiteboard

Blackboard

One tool which is often used in the physical learning environment is the interactive whiteboard. One tool which is used probably a lot more in a lot of physical learning environments is the traditional whiteboard. Another tool which is well used in training rooms is flip chart paper, even if a lot of the time it is the paper that is used rather than as a flip chart.

Regardless of your feelings about interactive whiteboard, the concept of a large shared working space that learners can contribute to together for writing and drawing is one that is often used in education. It is also a rather challenging concept to embed into online environments.

The easiest solution is to stop thinking about a digital whiteboard, but think about the activity and the learning outcomes and see if a different tool could meet those particular needs. For example a brainstorming activity on the meanings of different words could be undertaken using the Glossary tool in Moodle. A collaborative exercise could be done in a wiki. Drawing a concept map could be done using mind mapping software.

It’s not to say that it’s impossible to use a whiteboard in an online environment, but you would very likely need to link or embed such a tool into the VLE.

Remote delivery solutions such as Adobe Connect and Blackboard Collaborate have a digital whiteboard built in as one of the features. These online whiteboards can be used by the remote delegates to interact with the each other and the teacher. These sessions can often be recorded and then linked to from the VLE to be played back at a later date.

There are various tablet apps, such as Educreations that can be used as a portable digital whiteboard, the final output is saved to the web and can be linked to or embedded into the VLE.

There are other online tools that can be embedded into the VLE, Padlet (the service formerly known as Wallwisher) is an ideal tool that allow multiple users to post comments to a virtual wall.

The whiteboard is a cornerstone of the traditional classroom, as was the blackboard before that, it is a tool that you don’t often see in VLEs, but that’s not to say it isn’t possible to have an interactive whiteboard, just that sometimes you need to think slightly differently.