Blackboard Collaborate creates virtual classroom.
November 17, 2015

Blackboard Collaborate creates virtual classroom.

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate is used to deliver real-time, synchronous, educational content to our users. Specifically, online classes use Blackboard Collaborate to deliver online lectures and presentations using the audio and video components within Blackboard Collaborate as well as the fully interactive whiteboard. Instructors load presentation materials and slides on the interactive whiteboard while student participants follow everything that occurs on the screen. Many classes also use Blackboard Collaborate for group study sessions -- often times without instructor participation. Students are able to share desktop applications, use the interactive whiteboard, and communicate with each other through the built in text chat tools as well as through the audio and video modules.
  • The interactive whiteboard allows instructors to load PowerPoint or other presentations into the display which can then be highlighted, marked on, typed on, or used for real-time presentations with students.
  • Blackboard Collaborate features a robust desktop sharing component that allows instructors to share their entire desktop, portions of their desktop, or just specific applications with participants. They can also pass control over those applications to session participants. This is very useful for demonstrating software programs that session participants may not have on their own computers.
  • The user feedback buttons in Blackboard Collaborate allow session participants to express a variety of emotions during online sessions through buttons that represent a smiling face, thumbs down, and a confused face. In a face-to-face classroom, instructors who notice a confused face on some of their students know to stop and re-explain a concept. These digital faces provide the same interaction in the virtual classroom.
  • Currently, the audio and video features are enabled separately from each other. You could end up in a situation where 6 people in a 12-person classroom have their cameras enabled and 6 different people have their microphones enabled. It would be ideal if one "Talk" button turned on that person's audio and video simultaneously.
  • The number of active participants able to turn on their microphone or camera is still limited compared to other products on the market. Competing products allow dozens of participants to enable their audio and video during the entire session without having to switch back and forth as Blackboard Collaborate requires with larger sessions.
  • Blackboard Collaborate still relies on Java to function. As such, it has to bundle a Java launcher application in order to open sessions. Similar products can function using HTML5 entirely within modern browsers.
  • Desktop sharing is not visible on mobile apps although the chat, whiteboard, and audio is fully functional.
  • Because faculty can schedule sessions on-the-fly without IT involvement, they are able to accomplish goals that they plan for weeks in advance as well as impromptu goals that come up at a moments notice.
  • Integration with the campus Learning Management Systems provides quick and easy scheduling of sessions that can be joined easily by students in those courses.
  • Scheduling of meetings can also be done through the web interface directly which enables administrative departments not associated with courses in the learning management system to also schedule meetings not affiliated with courses.
  • On-campus users can schedule meetings without outside participants by sending an open "guest link" URL that allows users to participate despite not having an account within the system iteself.
While other products can handle more active participants in a meeting at one time, Blackboard Collaborate has a much simpler and easy-to-use interface that makes it an ideal product for one to many presentations. It integrates fully with multiple learning management systems to allow simply scheduling as well as has a separate front-end to allow for use outside of the LMS.
Blackboard Collaborate is particularly well suited for one (or a few) speakers presenting information for a large number of more passive participants who may only interrupt for a few questions at a time. This makes it particularly well suited for a traditional education environment. It does not do well for meetings or group discussions where there may be more than 6 people who would like to be seen and heard during the session without having to constantly turn on and off their audio and video.

Blackboard Collaborate Feature Ratings