Collaborate is our core audio and video conferencing solution, intended for remote learners to be more effective in their studies. We’ve recently redesigned the entire product, creating an extraordinarily simple way to interact with instructors and peers from a distance. The product focuses on quick startup, seamless sharing, and easy chat between participants. The tool leverages webRTC technology, meaning there’s nothing to install and no plugins to download – it just works. Scott Tsuchiyama, lead designer on the product, described that the redesign was driven by a single core principle: getting the tool out of the way. As he explains, “We spent a lot of time listening to people who teach and learn in a virtual environment, and heard over-and-over the frustrations that disrupt virtual collaboration: simple things like setting up a microphone and camera, sharing presentation files, and just staying connected while using anything from a high-speed campus connection to wi-fi in a coffee shop. We designed Collaborate to help people deal with those issues so they can focus on what really matters: the people they’re meeting with and content that they’re discussing.”
The Collaborate redesign is another exciting, large-scale change in our product portfolio, following our recent launch of Bb Student, the new mobile product we’ve created for students. And while the main Collaborate product is a stand-alone web tool, the most important part of this innovation is how we’re working to drive it into both our mobile and web learning solutions. Video collaboration doesn’t happen in isolation – it happens in the context of a classroom, a piece of content, or an assignment. You’ll see Collaborate integrated into BbStudent and in our redesign of Learn that we’ll be unveiling soon. Students and instructors will be able to launch a casual one-to-one video conference on the fly, schedule and attend office hours, or hold discussions around a particular piece of content. This integrated interaction is intended to better support teaching and learning, making technology invisible so that the focus can be on the learning experience.