Mississippi State University is offering an ex citing new tool that will enhance professors and other employees' abilities to teach online, enhance hybrid courses, conduct online meetings, offer virtual office hours and so much more.
Described as an "online collaborative platform," Blackboard Collaborate – which provides functions similar to other online collaborative tools, such as WebEx and Adobe Connect – allows users to connect and communicate with students, alumni, potential employees and colleagues no matter where they are located. It also offers a variety of ways to enhance the overall educational experience of our students.
Blackboard Collaborate will be used via myCourses, and professors and lecturers using myCourses for instruction will automatically have access to Blackboard Collaborate. Others wanting to use the tool for meetings, interviews or web conferences will need to request an external myCourses course through the ITS Help Desk.
Having access to and knowledge of Blackboard Collaborate are two totally different things, however, and that is where the MSU Libraries' Instructional Media Center (IMC) can help. Instructional Technology Specialists Stephanie Agnew and Thomas La Foe will offer six workshops this summer on the new teaching and meeting tool.
Stephen Cunetto, Administrator of Systems for the MSU Libraries, said the upcoming Blackboard Collaborate workshops will be held on June 5 and 26, July 9 and 25 and August 7 and 15. Times and registration information can be found on the Libraries website: http://events.library.msstate.edu/evanced/lib/eventcalendar.asp.
Cunetto added, "We are pleased to be working with ITS, which is supporting the program, and the Center for Teaching and Learning, which, of course, supports myCourses, on rolling out this program. We realize that instruction is an important component in our ability to utilize Blackboard Collaborate fully, and this is where the IMC comes in. For more than a dozen years the IMC has been offering quality instruction on such software programs such as the Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, emerging technologies and more. We are happy to add Blackboard Collaborate to this list of offerings."
La Foe said the workshops, which will run for 90 minutes, will focus on not only how to add a Blackboard Collaborate session to your myCourses page but also what tools are available.
"Participants will learn how to use the Whiteboard to share PowerPoint files and images, the Web Tour to guide students through helpful websites and Application Sharing to demonstrate the skills students need to know," La Foe said. "Collaborate also has built-in audio and visual capabilities that allow for multiple simultaneous speakers and webcams."
In addition to the scheduled workshops, La Foe and Agnew are available to meet with departments or groups of individuals for training sessions, including one-on-ones. Additional workshops will be offered during the Fall semester.
To learn more about Blackboard Collaborate or to schedule an instruction session, please contact Stephanie Agnew or Thomas La Foe at 325-8867.
About MSU Libraries:
Mississippi State University Libraries is a premier research library providing its communities of users an ongoing, creative, technologically advanced library program that provides new and emerging technologies; enhances and inspires teaching, research, and service of the highest caliber in an environment of free and open inquiry and with a commitment to excellence. For more information about MSU Libraries, please visit http://library.msstate.edu/ .
MSU, Mississippi's flagship research university, is online at www.msstate.edu.