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Blackboard Collaborate Review 14 of 24
Blackboard Collaborate: "Stop! COLLABORATE and Listen!"
https://www.trustradius.com/web-conferencingBlackboard CollaborateUnspecified6.989101
Laura Abercrombie profile photo
Updated February 05, 2016

Blackboard Collaborate: "Stop! COLLABORATE and Listen!"

Score 7 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Blackboard Collaborate

Currently at Polk State College, Blackboard Collaborate is used as a synchronous learning environment in online and hybrid courses. Students are able to interact with professors while they (the students and/or the professors) are off campus and at odd hours. Students participate in guided online course orientations, study sessions, and workshops via Blackboard Collaborate.
  • The synchronous environment is great for online and hybrid courses. Students are able to ask questions and receive feedback in real time.
  • The video option is great, especially for 100% online courses. It gives a face to the professors name--humanizes us a little bit for the students.
  • The record option is wonderful for students who cannot be in class, students with special needs, enrichment/supplement, and content reviews.
  • Logging in can be challenging for students who are not exactly computer literate. The program's reliance on an updated Java can be a real source of frustration for students and parents.
  • Accessing sessions once they've been recorded is a bit cumbersome. It is especially difficult for professors who are not as computer literate.
  • Accessing a virtual classroom could be improved. I would like to see a customizable "button" or "widget" option that can be placed on a professor's webpage.
Nearpod does not allow for the same type of synchronous environment that Blackboard collaborate does. Further, Nearpod, as the name suggests is best suited for a face-to-face classroom that is, preferably, one-to-one. While it has some of the same functions as Nearpod, Blackboard collaborate is best suited for remote transmission rather than face-to-face.
As a composition professor, there is less need for me or my colleagues to use it--though I have in the past. I see it especially beneficial for math professors because the whiteboard feature allows symbol notation for math problems, and students can see how the problems are worked out synchronously. I also have used it in the past for literature discussions in a small-group setting after class, as well as for content reviews before exams.

Blackboard Collaborate Feature Ratings

High quality audio
5
High quality video
7
Low bandwidth requirements
6
Desktop sharing
6
Whiteboards
10
Calendar integration
Not Rated
Meeting initiation
2
Integrates with social media
Not Rated
Record meetings / events
5
Live chat
10
Audience polling
10
Participant roles & permissions
10

Evaluating Blackboard Collaborate and Competitors

Products Replaced

Yes - Florida Virtual School replaced their in-house learning management system, educator, with blackboard; however for as long as I worked for the organization, they always used blackboard collaborate .

Key Differentiators

  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
I was not involved in the decision-making for purchasing the product for either organization I work for that has used it.

Evaluation Lessons Learned

I was not involved in the decision-making process of either organization I worked for who use that product

Using Blackboard Collaborate

Usability

8
Blackboard collaborate, is very easy to use, in my opinion. However, I consider myself fairly computer and technologically literate. Some professors, students, and parents I know who try to use the software have a difficult time with it.

Some suggestions for improvement--I think there should be an autostart tutorial for participants (and session leaders, if I'm being honest) with an checkbox option to "never see this again" if you find yourself to be an expert. It should cover the basics such as: the raise hand feature (or the other polling features), the chatbox feature, the whiteboard feature, and the mic/camera. This way, we don't have students freaking out when they enter the session and us having to calm them down every single time. It may make the program a little less "lightweight" which I know is what you're going for--but it makes the workflow more challenging for those of us actually using the software regularly.

Usability Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
Familiar
Not well integrated
Inconsistent
Cumbersome

Easy Tasks

  • Managing participant controls is very easy.
  • Using the whiteboard is a cinch.

Difficult Tasks

  • Logging on (if Java isn't up to date)
  • Accessing recorded sessions.
  • Accessing the meeting link to share with participants.

Mobile Interface Availability and Impressions

Yes - The mobile interface (iPad app) is great for attending a session. All the same functionality is available so you can even attend from the car. However, you cannot lead a session using the app--it doesn't have all the same functionality and has a hard time keeping up. You will get bumped out more than once if you try to lead a session from the app.