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 Panopto, faculty can capture and narrate anything they see on their computers, and then publish an online screencast movie tutorial or mini-lecture for students to watch and replay on their own time. Panopto is a sophisticated platform that provides multiple recording and editing options for the video and audio output, embed quizzes, live webcasting for interactive, synchronous presentations, cloud-based video storage integrated directly into Blackboard, and perhaps best of all, accounts are automatically provisioned and any user interested in trying the tool can do so without having to submit a ticket through RT.