Work collaboratively online


Web meeting/conferencing systems like Blackboard Collaborate Ultra provide many options for enhancing teaching with synchronous communication on the Internet. In addition the live web meeting/conference experience can optionally be recorded for replay after the event allowing access for those who could not attend and also reuse of a one-off event in subsequent teaching activities.  The same tools can be used to save travel time and hold online meetings across the world

Example applications:

  • Holding a tutorial with a group of students who are off-campus
  • Running a webinar with a topic expert at a distance
  • Progress meetings for supporting students on remote placements (Taylor 2012)
  • Students can set up web meetings to work together on group assignments
  • Student interviews and pre-enrolment support
  • Online research meetings
  • Remote participation in meetings for colleagues who would otherwise not be able to be present


  • Travel time and expenses avoided
  • Media such as presentation slides and videos are easily shared with the participants
  • Events can be recorded for revision and future reuse
  • Interactivity can be added using the tools incorporated into the web meeting interface (e.g. screen-sharing, polls, chat etc)
  • Control of the interface can be passed between participants
  • Live web meeting/conference experience can optionally be recorded for replay after the event

Designing for Participant Engagement with Blackboard Collaborate is a useful technical and pedagogical guide originally written for Elluminate (now Collaborate).

Online training and support on Collaborate Ultra is available through OD&PL and the Learning Technologies Team.


Running an online tutorial for remote students

Running an online tutorial for remote students

How – use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to run an online tutorial and record the session so that those unable to attend can view the session in Minerva. Use tools such as the text chat facility to allow the students to pose questions during the tutorial which you respond to during or at the end of the tutorial.

Why – online delivery opens access to students off-campus and also can create a record of the session for non-attendees. Online communication tools such as text chat encourage communication that students may be less comfortable with in a face-to-face setting.

Case study – Emily Wheeler describes how Skills@Library deliver regular online sessions using Collaborate to support student study skills. Case Study – Skills@Library

Facilitating a student group project with remote participation

Facilitating a student group project with remote participation

How – schedule a series of web meetings using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Facilitate the students so they collaboratively manage the meetings themselves. Lecturers can give students “moderator” access within break out rooms allowing for self-organised learning and peer learning.

Why – connecting and working with students from other institutions and other countries exposes the learners to a broader range of experiences, skills and opinions. Working effectively as a team using web based tools is an increasingly important skill in the modern workplace.

Case study – Alina Secara describes an assignment which involved students in the UK and Japan collaborating on a translation project using Adobe Connect. Read more about the collaborative translation project.


  • scheduling the web meeting to take into account the different time zones involved
  • providing some training in the use of the system in advance of the meetings
  • allow time for the participants to familiarise themselves with using the  interface and also to get to know the remote participants

Record and share an interview with a remote expert

Record and share an interview with a remote expert

How – set up an online meeting for you and your interviewee. Record the  meeting and then upload the video to Mediasite to share this interview with your students

Why – to create a reusable resource that captures opinions and insights from a leading expert in a subject that is not local to the university


  • establishing in advance the overall aims, the type of questions and duration of the interview with the interviewee so they can prepare and the interview is more likely to be of value to your teaching
  • Making the recording available externally
Comments are closed.