For those of you who weren’t able to get to New Orleans for the Connections Summit, I wanted to briefly share with you some of what we talked about earlier today in my keynote address, and that’s debunking the myths about online learning.

I’m sure that it’s a conversation that you’ve all had with colleagues who fear that online learning is not sufficiently engaging for students. The fear that online learners will be isolated, miss out on non-verbal communication with their instructors and their fellow students, and not have access to the help they need. That their motivation will be low, which translates into poor outcomes. And then there is the fear that the technology that makes online learning more engaging isn’t quite there yet.

Working backwards, I can assure you that the technology is there.  As you’ll see in Blackboard Collaborate 12, pretty much everything we do is aimed at making the online learning experience as fully engaging as that of the physical classroom, especially when coupled with your institution’s LMS.

And given how wired in today’s students are, we’re getting to the point where it can be argued that bringing real-time collaboration technology into both the physical and virtual classroom mix is becoming the only way to guarantee full engagement.  (I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s seen a couple of kids sitting in the same room texting each other.)

I’m going to make a bold statement here: if you’re using an LMS, you should be using Blackboard Collaborate. Asynchronous courses can be personalized with instructor comments via voice authoring. Students can get the help they need from their classmates and instructors with instant messaging.

Whether a course is delivered asynchronously, live online, or in a physical classroom, project collaboration using web conferencing is an excellent way to engage students and help them build their networks. And for today’s students, who are seldom if ever without their iPhones and iPads, being able to participate in class and meetings with a mobile device is rapidly becoming an expectation.

I’ll end by saying that we’re looking forward to showing off Blackboard Collaborate 12 , and debunking all those myths about online learning.

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