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Online Teaching Technologies

When you teach an online or blended course, you will come to rely upon multiple technologies. Blackboard will be the primary classroom management tool, but you will also want to consider other technologies based on the types of learning activities you will use to promote interaction and community. 

Blackboard is the learning management system used for online and hybrid courses. You will want to familiarize yourself with the tools within Blackboard that will enhance your online classroom. Some valuable tools include: 
●    Blackboard Collaborate
●    Blackboard Discussions, Wikis, and Journals
●    Blackboard Groups
●    Blackboard Quizzes, Tests and the Gradebook
Screencasting - A screencast is a digital video recording that captures actions taking place on a computer display and can contain voice-over narration. Screencasting is very useful to demonstrate how a software works or demonstrate how to use it. It is also helpful to explain how to navigate your online course and complete tasks online. Many online courses include a course overview video which is a screencast. 

File sharing applications such as Microsoft 365 and Dropbox can help facilitate team projects and collaboration online. 

Multimedia tools such as Blackboard videos Kanopy (Video Catalog) and Illumira (a Video Repository) may be useful when sharing videos online. 

Refer to CSI Faculty Technology Training for more details on training offered

Enhancing Blackboard for Heavier Use  

Faculty Quick-Start Guide

Using Blackboard and Blackboard Collaborate on Chromebooks

As you know, several Blackboard Administrators and faculty have expressed concerns that Blackboard Collaborate would not work on the Chromebooks that CUNY has attained for designated students, staff and faculty.  CUNY CIS received today official assurances from Blackboard, Inc. that Blackboard Collaborate is indeed compatible with Chromebooks.  CIS staff have also tested Collaborate on the Chromebook from both the instructor and student perspective and found that it works smoothly.  We also validated operations such as using the whiteboard, polling, uploading PowerPoint and breakout rooms.  Additionally, Blackboard Learn student and instructor Chromebook browser tests indicate overall compatibility with the exception that the pop-up blocker should be disabled. 

These instructions will also be posted on the Blackboard support page  and on a support site for those receiving Chromebooks and iPads

  • Blackboard Collaborate mobile app web conferencing allows users of Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing to connect to their sessions on the Apple iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone devices.
  • Blackboard student app, can be used to access classes, and for students that prefer to use the browser, they should install Google Chrome to properly access Blackboard on the iPads (the built-in Safari browser will not work correctly with Blackboard)

After Hour Support for Faculty, Staff, and Students

Blackboard users can call an after-hours support number for assistance available weeknights (between 8:00pm and 8:00am the next morning) and weekends (from Friday night at 8:00pm until Monday morning at 8:00am). See After Hours Blackboard Support for details.

Contingency plan to temporarily disable specific Blackboard Collaborate features to sustain unprecedented global adoption

We have been carefully monitoring Collaborate as more schools and organizations increase their use, and we have already taken specific measures to optimize its reliability.  In the coming weeks, we are projecting an unprecedented increase in the use of Collaborate in different regions around the world. Out of an abundance of caution, and in order to maintain the highest continuity of service possible, we have made the decision to disable specific features that can impact overall system stability. These features are:

  • Timer (a countdown timer that helps with classroom time management)
  • Chat typing indicator (a visual indicator that someone is typing but have not yet completed their thought. The chat feature itself will still be available.)
  • Netstats indicator (a visual indicator of connection quality next to each user)
  • Reducing the number of video thumbnails from 4 to 2 (this is the maximum number of thumbnails visible in the grid view) 

We believe that the removal of these features will not significantly impact the overall Collaborate user experience, which will still include video, screen sharing, chat, a virtual whiteboard, and other favorite features. We believe that disabling them is in the best interest of our global client community. Consistent, reliable service is our top priority. We expect to reinstate these features once we have more information about how the system is performing and we continue to make improvements.