Blackboard Collaborate Releases New Virtual Classroom Features



The next step in personalizing the virtual classroom.

The classroom shouldn’t be limited to four walls or 49 video feeds. To meet learners and instructors where they are, the virtual classroom should be endlessly adaptable. When learning circumstances or lesson plans change, the virtual classroom should change with them. Today, Blackboard is announcing a new feature set for Blackboard Collaborate that gives educators and learners the power to personalize their virtual classroom.

The enhancements include an expanded number of video feeds with controls that allow users to size their learning environment to meet personal need. The evolution of features continues to position Blackboard Collaborate as a leading online virtual classroom built for education.

Introducing Gallery View for instructors.

Gallery View empowers instructors with a virtual classroom that adapts to meet the moment. The new features allow moderator/instructor accounts to set up the virtual classroom in a way that’s conducive to their unique lessons and learners. Available today, instructors can view as many as 25 video feeds on one screen and flip quickly to see additional feeds.

If the lesson calls for a presentation, the instructor can seamlessly flip between the content and the Gallery View of students to check comprehension. In development now, the next Collaborate update will enable a side-by-side content with videos view to enable instructors to gather critical non-verbal feedback and make on-the-fly instructional adjustments.

Gallery View was designed with the learning experience at the center. That classroom-focused approach circumvents the drawbacks created when video meeting tools are pressed into classroom duty. Consistent ratio and size of videos and alphabetized ordering of learners by role reduces cognitive load and fatigue on instructors, so they can quickly find a student and spend more time teaching.

The feature set empowers instructors to create a comfortable learning environment for students. The ability to limit Gallery View to just the instructor instance allows educators to structure their virtual class like a more traditional classroom, with the instructor at the front observing students, while limiting distractions and the potential for negative emotional consequences generated when learners feel like they are constantly facing and being observed by the whole class.

What does Gallery View mean for learners?

Alongside the features delivered for instructors, features for learners are coming soon. Gallery View delivers a virtual classroom that fits students’ personal needs, even as those needs change.

Learners will also be able to select the number of video feeds that appear in their virtual classroom to meet their personal level of focus. Feeling overloaded or distracted? Adapt the classroom to show only the instructor. Ready to jump into the discussion? Up the number of video feeds and join other learners. Each student can select a view that fits their learning requirements in the moment.

Advancing learning by making the virtual classroom work for instructors and learners.

A virtual classroom that is endlessly adaptable is the next step in our work to make the learning experience dynamic and personalized. Blackboard Collaborate continues to set the standard as a leading virtual classroom tool built for education. Blackboard Collaborate’s digital whiteboard and features like polling, breakout rooms, emotive feedback, chat mentions, and hand-raising deepen the connection between learners and educators.

Richer Learning Management System integration.

Intuitive Learning Management System (LMS) integration, with features like automatic attendance tracking in Blackboard Learn LMS, frees up educators to spend more time teaching and less time managing software. Smarter recording management and upcoming features like automatic captioning of recordings, empowers instructors to make today’s lesson just as accessible tomorrow.

Leading security and privacy features deliver peace of mind.

Two decades of experience delivering online learning have shaped Blackboard Collaborate’s leading security features. Participant permissions settings, secure authentication, unique session links and access restrictions ensure only learners assigned to the virtual classroom can enter.

We know that our clients’ data is entrusted to us and we take our privacy obligations very seriously. Blackboard Collaborate is designed to meet the requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), state student privacy laws and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The Gallery View feature set is being deployed to moderator/instructor accounts globally today. Future enhancements, including side-by-side content and video and Gallery View for learners, will be deployed in 2021. Follow Blackboard on Twitter for the latest Blackboard Collaborate news. 


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