As a Blackboard marketing professional, I often communicate the virtues of virtual collaboration. What resonates most these days as it relates to virtual collaboration are the cost savings that can be achieved from travel avoidance. You can save a lot of money by shifting learning and working online using real-time communication tools like web conferencing, IM, and Skype. Some of our Blackboard Collaborate
customers have measured it as $2,000 per meeting. The annualized savings is quite impressive.
Based on our customer stories and my own experience as a remote, home-based worker, I am convinced that live online collaboration can result in solid outcomes – more learning, increased productivity, improved focus, and solid relationships with people in your virtual community, whether colleagues, bosses, or like-minded professionals. So why would you work or learn any other way?
Four of our clients recently participated in a panel discussion at EDUCAUSE 2011 in Philadelphia to share top ways they use collaboration technologies to improve learning and increase efficiency on campus. I’m happy to share a recap of that session, Four Reasons to Integrate Collaborative Tools into Your LMS, from one of our panelists, Kara Monroe, Assistant Vice President for the Center for Instructional Technology at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.
Guest post by Kara Monroe, Assistant Vice President for the Center for Instructional Technology, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
One of the things that I love about being a customer of Blackboard Collaborate
is the sense of community within the client base. I love talking with other clients and potential clients about the products and how they can transform teaching, learning, and work at an institution. Therefore, I was so pleased to get the opportunity to speak on a panel with other Blackboard Collaborate clients at EDUCAUSE: Cory Stokes from the University of Utah, Phil O’Hara from Dalhousie University and Mike Scheuermann from Drexel University.
Today’s digital natives – those who have had access to computers, cell phones, email, and other forms of technology since birth – expect their professors to integrate media into the curriculum to augment learning in the classroom.
In fact, students report that campus technology offerings are an important part of their school selection criteria: CDW highlights in its annual 21st Century Campus Report
that 87% of current college students considered their institution’s technology offerings when selecting their college and that 92% of current high school students say that technology is an important consideration in their college selection process. These are amazing statistics and illustrate how important it is for institutions to consider a campus media platform that allows instructors and students to expand their educational experience and incorporate rich media into every part of the learning environment.
If you’re reading this blog post, there’s about 99.99% certainty that you’re also someone who’s using (or about to start using) a learning management system (LMS). With the wide and varied range of tools and capabilities that an LMS can provide, it’s no wonder they they’ve become an instructor’s standard platform for course creation, course management, and course information. Your students are likely using this LMS, as well, logging in to check on schedules, assignments, and grades. Whether the education you’re providing is virtual, traditional, or blended, an LMS is likely its lifeblood.
Guest Post by Brian Nielsen, Northwestern University
It’s really exciting when you see students pitching in together to work on a class project. They’re excited, their conversation is animated, there’s joy in the sharing of the knowledge they are soaking up, and often there’s pride. Class projects don’t always go this way, and, for the instructor, sometimes they’re risky. If motivation wanes, if one or two students in the group don’t pull their own weight, a project can fall flat, leaving the teacher to pick up the pieces with a shrug, or maybe an extra test. But when it works, it’s wonderful.
Here at Northwestern University we’ve seen some of those great projects, and, we think, have had a hand in making them happen through our development of a new Blackboard Building Block that we’ve called Bboogle. We chose Bboogle as a concatenation of “Blackboard” and “Google,” a rather obvious play on the “Bb” Blackboad logo and Google Apps for Education, a service very quickly growing in popularity across the country. We use the pronunciation “ba-boogle” to signal to others the double-B, making sure that people recognize the significance of Blackboard as a partner in bringing this software into being. “Ba-boogle” does sound a bit funny, but the humor is meant to signify something too: the joy of helping foster collaborative learning experiences for our students.