Blackboard Collaborate- a big step up from Skype
April 23, 2018

Blackboard Collaborate- a big step up from Skype

Becca Guler | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Blackboard Collaborate

This program is used in academic support services for online tutoring and academic coaching, which are increasingly needed as more and more degree programs are offering online-only options and the number of students outside a commuting radius increases.
While Skype and Google Hangouts are useful for video chat, they aren't designed for academic purposes and lack many of the tools available in Bb Collaborate.
  • The Whiteboard feature is perfect for tutoring. We use it to write out formulas, draw diagrams, etc while in video chat to enhance explanations.
  • The file attachment feature is also very handy. This means we don't have to do a follow-up with a student using their email to send files of handouts, etc.
  • It's great that we only have to share a classroom access link for a student to enter a session. With other products, they had to set up a username and log-in with an account. Link access means 1 less hassle.
  • We are currently beginning to use the "record session" feature video sessions to use as training for new employees.
  • I recently tried to use the Share Screen feature, which would be extremely valuable for online tutoring, but despite installing the additional Blackboard Screensharing app, it won't work. I have not yet contacted support to get help with it, but it seems this should work when one follows the instructions.
  • It's not incredibly intuitive in its setup. For example, to get the "share video" icon to appear (the only way you can activate the camera to start video feed), you have to do a sound and video test first.
  • Our implementation has been gradual over the last 2 semesters. Students who have used it to access live academic support despite being unable to drive in for face to face sessions have been extremely happy. It is gradually boosting student morale for offsite students, who have long felt they were unable to access services that were paid through fees with their tuition.
  • Multiple support services who have wanted to provide online support but were unsure how they could are more empowered to do so now. The current mood is "what else can we offer online through this, workshops, advising, live broadcast of student org meetings"?
Bb Collaborate has educational tools unavailable in Skype or Google Hangouts and is available without the student needing to have an account or log-in information.
The upswing is incredible, with highly interactive video tutoring capabilities. It is also integrated with a tutor and other staff profiles, appointment scheduling and session notes capabilities that are shared across departments, but it was cost-prohibitive for us.
It's useful for a classroom video session with a professor, as multiple students can access it at once (it will stream better if only the instructor uses video and others just use chat) and both lecture or answer questions, employing the Whiteboard feature as necessary. There is a hand raising option students can use to signal that they have a question, or they can just put a question in on the chat section.
It is not as interactive as some video tutoring platforms I have seen, but it is something that our support services at school have access to with a site license, so it's ideal for us.

Blackboard Collaborate Feature Ratings