Best practices for using Blackboard Collaborate from an instructor perspective
1. When appropriate, send the conference invitations in a timely fashion in advance of a scheduled meeting. Encourage the attendees to perform a browser check and enter the conference early.
2. Establish expectations and etiquette for your participants, and share them with your audience at the beginning of the conference. For example, do you expect them to interrupt with questions or comments at any time, or do you want them to hold questions until an appointed time?
3. Make a “Welcome” slide for the start of the conference and a “Thank You” slide for the end. Be sure your welcome includes the name and date of the meeting to identify the conference for attendees. The thank you slide can contain contact information so participants know how to get more information or contact you. This will help signal beginning and end of presentation.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice. Practice uploading your slides and check that all your slides look acceptable and correct! Try out tools and features, and practice your presentation. It will help you to be more confident with the application, so you can concentrate on your content during your conference.
Best Practices for Blackboard Collaborate Participants (including Moderators)
1. Carefully read and follow the directions for logging in to the conference tools.
2. Complete a system and browser compatibility check at least 24-48 hours before your conference. This will give you time to make any necessary changes (with the help of your IT department, if necessary).
3. Launch your browser and connect to the web portion of the conference early (10 minutes prior to the start of conference -- for slower connections, allow for more time in advance of the conference). Connect to the audio portion following successful web connection. Note: If also using a teleconference for audio, be sure to make note of the phone number and passcode.
4. If using VoIP for audio, use a USB headset microphone or similar. It provides better sound quality, helps block out background noises, and allows for hands-free listening.
5. If using teleconference for audio, always have your phone muted when you are not speaking to control background noise in the conference. If you do not have a mute feature, be as quiet as possible. Every noise you make, including paper shuffling, pencil tapping, typing, coughing, and chatting with others, will be heard by everyone else in the conference.
6. Participate from a quiet room. Post a note on your door to let people know that you should not be disturbed, or notify staff or family and discourage them from interrupting you.
7. Ensure that you will have a strong and stable Internet connection when joining a web conference. Particularly when presenting, any dropped connections from the web conferencing system can be very disruptive to a meeting.
8. It may be useful to lower your monitor’s screen resolution to 1024 x 768 pixels, if possible. Do this before entering the meeting room. This will make navigating the conference center windows much easier.
9. Close all other applications on your computer that are not necessary for your presentation. This will help the software operate more efficiently, and will help to conserve your individual network bandwidth.
10. Follow the expectations and etiquette established by your conference presenter. For example, your presenter may ask you to interrupt with questions or comments on audio at any time, or you may be asked to hold questions until an appointed time. Identify yourself by name and location when asking a question or making a comment.
11. Enjoy your conference!