The use of Blackboard Collaborate’s web conferencing opens many opportunities for learners to come together online to expand their knowledge and expertise. Unfortunately, mischief can happen in the virtual classroom just as in the physical classroom. Advantage Collaborate! Collaborate makes it easier and quicker to put a stop to unwanted, inappropriate behavior. You can send a disciplinary warning via private chat or private announcement to the bully. If that does not stop the disruptions then the moderator can easily remove that bully and lock him/her out of the room.
Private chat is a direct channel to the instructor that is ALWAYS there for students. Even when the chat permission is off, participants can still use chat but only moderators will see the message. This will keep bullies from sending hurtful messages to other students in Collaborate web conferencing. Additionally, teachers can rest assured that students in need will always be able to inform them immediately via chat if bullying is taking place.
Virtual Time Out can be easily made by creating a breakout room and loading it with sensitivity training materials. It’s easy to preload a variety of engaging content in your Virtual Time Out breakout room. For instance, you could load this PPT I found on the North Carolina Juvenile Justice website
Remove Participant is a quick and easy way to force a participant to exit the session. It is terribly unfortunate when a student’s behavior has disrupted learning and sometimes that student must be removed from the room so that learning can continue. Simply open the menu next to the bully’s name in the Participants window. At the bottom of that menu Remove Participant is an option for Moderators. Be sure to lock the room after so that the bully can not re-enter.
Lock the room after a bully has been removed from the session by deselecting the default “Allow New Participants to Enter Session.” This way you virtually lock the room and if any participant exits, whether voluntarily or forced by moderator, they will not be let back in. The room is virtually locked just like a classroom door is locked, but better. That bully might come knocking to be let back in, but in Collaborate web conferencing you won’t hear incessant knocking at the virtual door. You can go on, uninterrupted with your class getting everyone educated!
Bonus! Collaborate is smart enough to know when a participant has purposefully exited versus being dropped by an unstable internet connection. If the exit was due to technical issues and not an intentional exit then Collaborate will automatically launch that participant back in. Smart.
I hope this enlightened you on how easy it is to control your web conferencing environment so that disruptive learners can be dealt with quickly. This helps us to help you get…Everyone Educated! Look for the final installment of Prevent Bullying Using Collaborate coming soon. In the next post we will look closely at Blackboard Collaborate’s Enterprise Instant Messaging and Voice Authoring features that help instructors identify, manage and prevent cyber-bullying.