Everywhere you look – in after school specials, public service announcements, magazine covers, radio, and television – awareness to prevent bullying can be found. We can help teachers reduce this sad and growing trend in the virtual classroom.
I have to admit, when I was in school, I experienced both sides of bullying. Some classmates targeted me for riding the bus to school. Then, at times, I regrettably found myself poking fun at less fortunate others. Using Blackboard Collaborate features and functions we have empowered instructors to monitor the learning environments in many ways that can guard against bullying. In fact, there are more ways than I can fit into just one blog entry. Therefore, I would like to share with you Part 1 of a series of blog entries on the topic. We will start with Blackboard Collaborate’s web conferencing and in future posts, I will share information about instant messaging and voice authoring features that help manage and prevent bullying. Let’s get started with web conferencing. Here are a few bright ideas of my own:
Permission management means having and keeping control of your virtual classroom. It is key to preventing cyber bullying. “Granular Permission Granting” is what the techies call it, but to me it’s all about having control. Control…AHHH! A great concept. What a rare thing to actually have. This is one of many reasons I really enjoy moderating in Bb Collaborate web conferencing. CONTROL! When you first create your room, you can set the permissions to be OFF so that all participants enter with NO PERMISSIONS. As the moderator you decide who gets to do what and when. Assigning and revoking permissions at any time for any participant with great ease and…CONTROL! By default participants enter with whiteboard, chat, and audio permissions. Application sharing and web tour permissions can also be assigned in the live session.
Those who are new to Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing should spend time getting comfortable with assigning and revoking permissions on the fly to both individual participants and all participants simultaneously as a way to help reduce bullying in your virtual classroom.
Page Explorer empowers teachers to easily monitor whiteboard activities in all rooms. When students are without teacher supervision it becomes harder for those bullies to resist the urge to lash out. Teachers can safely send student to break out rooms to work together in smaller groups while still keeping an eye on the situation in all break out rooms at once. Page Explorer shows a thumbnail live view of all whiteboard pages in one place. Teacher can be in the main room or break out room helping some students who may be stuck while keeping the other eye (or teacher’s assistant’s eyes) on the rest of the whiteboard activity across the web conferencing session. So a teacher could see when content is being added to the whiteboard, look at the activity indicators to know instantly who is adding that content. To get an even closer look at the whiteboard objects and their creators check out Objects Explorer.
Object Explorer empowers teachers to see who did what on the whiteboard. Go to any page in any room to open that pages Object Explorer. The Object Explorer allows you to easily take an inventory of objects and its creator. If a bully has left something inappropriate on the whiteboard I suggest immediately removing their whiteboard permission then select and delete the inappropriate object. If you need to, take a snapshot of the Object Explorer for a later discussion with the bully or his/her parents.
In the next blog entry I will explore more web conferencing features that help educators spend less time on bullies and more time getting everyone educated. Look for private chat, removing bullies from the session and how to lock them out of the web conferencing in the next installment of this series. Until then, be nice!
How have you utilized Collaborate features to prevent and manage bullying?