Quick Start for Faculty
Distance Learning Helpdesk
Blackboard IM User Guide
Intro: What's Blackboard IM?
It's alot like Skype or Google Talk ...with more options... and some Facebook qualities ;-)
Basically, you login to CourseDen, download/install the application, and set up an account.
After that, Blackboard IM should start up immediately whenever you login to your computer (unless you want to turn off this option).
Under the "Classmates" tab, you can find all of the courses that you are registered in for the given term AND all of your classmates and the instructor will already be linked there as "friends"! No need to hunt down people's usernames, invite contacts, and build your own lists - it's automatic.
If you REALLY like someone and want to keep them around as a Contact long after the class is over, just click on the Smiley beside their name. You can organize your Contacts any way that you wish.
To get instant HELP, try clicking on the School tab. The Computer Science tele-tutoring is there, in addition to the CourseDen/ Wimba Helpdesk. You MIGHT even find your instructor's virtual office.
Blackboard IM is an academic-centered instant messaging platform that includes typical IM functionality such as text, audio, and video chat. Blackboard IM goes beyond these capabilities, however, by adding features like:
- Application sharing - You can show your computer screen to another user, or view another user's screen. You can also choose to allow another user to control your screen. This can be helpful if you are, for example, working on a group project and are trying to help debug code or diagnose a particular problem..
- Knowledge of CourseDen - When you sign up with Blackboard IM, your Blackboard IM ID is automatically linked to your courses listed in CourseDen. This allows Blackboard IM to show you all of your courses and communicate with other students and your professor via Blackboard IM.
- The ability to make audio and video calls, conference with multiple people at once, and share an interactice whiteboard with a fancy built-in gallery.
- Lots of customizations: You can add a photo, a bio, turn desired course access on and off, block people, choose different notifications, and other customizations.
How are we using it?
- Distance Learning Helpdesk
- Virtual office hours for faculty: Blackboard IM allows a professor to set up office hours whereby students can meet online with the professor. If one student wants to meet with their professor and the professor is already helping another student, Blackboard IM allows you to wait outside her/his "virtual office" door until she/he is finished with the other student.
You'll need to check your professors' posted office hours to see if they are using Blackboard IM for virtual office hours this semester.
- A tool for students to communicate and collaborate with each other. You could, for example, have an online group meeting using text and audio chat, and then use appsharing to work on a group project. Once you get a Blackboard IM ID, you and your classmates can start using Blackboard IM immediately - you don't need to request anything special from the department or your professor.
Of course, you need to be sure that you remain within the constraints of your professor's policy on collaboration - using Blackboard IM to cheat online is no different than cheating offline! Always check with your professor to make sure you don't violate any class policies!!
- The Computer Science Department has been using Blackboard IM to provide online tutoring for their courses for about two years. To see more of how they have been using it, please click here.