Used by more than 1,400 courses and 300 organizations every semester, the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) can be used to simply reduce administrivia by posting announcements, syllabi or other documents. Or it can be used for self-paced, interactive learning through online discussions, assignments or quizzes. At the end of every semester, DoIT publishes UMBC’s “Most Active Blackboard Courses” reports so faculty can seek each other out about what works (or doesn’t) and why.
All UMBC Blackboard courses and communities also have access to Collaborate, a web-based conferencing and collaboration tool. Key features include real-time chat and video conferencing, application and screen sharing, file upload, presentation and white board space and session recording. In addition to holding class meetings online, some faculty use Collaborate for office hours, inviting guest speakers (no need for a UMBC login) or creating student group study and collaboration “rooms” tied to a course.
Sometimes it’s just easier to show than tell. Using TechSmith Relay, faculty can capture and narrate anything they see on their computers, and then publish an online “screen cast” movie tutorial or mini-lecture for students to watch and replay on their own time. TechSmith Relay is the enterprise (site license) version of Camtasia used by Khan Academy. Techsmith.com makes both products as well as the free, easy-to-use Jing screen casting tool limited to five minutes or less.