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Blackboard Collaborate - the Swiss army knife of online technology

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Denis Mc Grath

on 30 March 2016

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Transcript of Blackboard Collaborate - the Swiss army knife of online technology

Case 1: MSc Advanced Occupational Therapy
EBLIP6 http://www.eblip6.salford.ac.uk/
2007. Small course.
Less than 10 participants .
At risk of closure by University
Adopted new forms of elearning engagement &
2008 became wholly online programme.
started to use Elluminate, precursor to Collaborate as the core technology on programme. Numbers swelled
Synchronous Technology made it possible....

initially recruits for the MSc programme
came from around the UK, but further afield than the North West of England.
Two Salford based programme leaders, (Angela Hook, Sarah Bodell ) & a Learning Technologist, (me), could now reach the world, live and uninterrupted......
....but then we started getting recruits
popping up in other places
.....on the other side of the world from us.
Pretty soon we had our first
Internationally renown guest
speakers getting remotely beamed into the programme..
The wholly online programme was redeveloped to embed socially constructed learning & TEL (Elluminate was core) at the very heart of the programme.
Resource light, Problem Based Learning triggers, Negotiated Assessment, Peer Assessment - all core pedagogical attributes of programme.
Social spaces for students via FB & Second Life (Virtual Accessibility house),
Embedded use of Twitter, separate social "drop in " & dedicated "tutorial" Rooms with regular 121 time with lecturers on Elluminate.
ALL class recordings and podcasting of all sessions made available online afterward.
Numbers started to pick
up quite substantially, mostly international students, in the English speaking world, and mostly by word of mouth through professional organisations / agencies
This type of exposure increased
the reputation of the programme
for innovation & creativity in the OT
Worldwide community
Subsequently in 2008 The MSc in Advanced Occupational Therapy programme was nominated for a Times Higher Education award for Innovation,

In 2013 - the programme is still going strong.

It has had 3 "virtual" graduation ceremonies in second life.

It has become economically viable, and is generating significant international student cash flow through larger "footfall"

It is proof that in the age of MOOCs small bespoke programmes can be viable and can excel.

In 2012 the team won the Vice Chancellors Distinguished Award for educational innovation

This programme has developed spin off
opportunities too.

Case 2: HUROPEL Human Rights: Older People and End of Life Care.
European (EU) Research Group
2010. Research Group of 12 Academics across EU.
UK, Germany, Slovakia,
Finland, France, Netherlands.
Frequent pan European visits, time consuming, expensive, difficult to arrange.
Movement to Elluminate / Collaborate cut down on costs and made organisation of data meetings and dissemintaion of data much more easy

Coordinated from Salford
... With HUROPEL Culminating
in a conference in Salford
in 2011
I administered a number of sessions from a remote farmhouse in Keld N. Yorkshire using a 1mb conneciton
The group initially travelled
to each others countries for
regular meetings
The adoption of Elluminate / Collaborate
meant that not only could they could save
But that they could meet more
frequently and with less organisation..
But when they did meet physically. They could enjoy the social occasion, more because they had already spent lots of time online presenting, disseminating, discussing and analysing data...
Collaborate allowed them the opportunity to video conference, share presentations, share documents, notes, and save all the recordings for them to view and listen to again.

Over the course of 1 year - the group saved an estimated £15,000 in travel and resource costs
Case 3: (EBLIP6) The sixth Evidence Based Library & Information Practice Conference (Salford - June 2011) http://www.eblip6.salford.ac.uk/programme.php?days=remote
Full conference with,
Live keynote speakers presentations beamed live via Collaborate
Live Q&A via Elluminate to keynote speakers
Collaborate web discussion Augmented with Twitter Hashtag and beamed live to physical audience.
Conference programme delivered via Collaborate, and all Collaborate recordings distributed to all attendees after event via secure website.

Angela @AngelaDH

Sarah @OTSalfordUni
Then something remarkable happened.

Through Sarah and Angela's contacts
We got involved with the World Federation
occupational therapists WFOT

Soon after the team got recognition for the programme, we got involved in World Occupational therapy day.
After an assessment of the technology. We decided we would like to get involved in organising a 24 hour marathon with WFOT (World Federation of Occupational Therapy) as part of World Occupation Therapy day 2011
The 24 hour "Virtual Exchange" marathon was to involve 24, one hour long presentations by speakers across the world.

Salford was to be the main coordination hub of the operation.
To maintain a 24 hour coordination- The United States was to be the second coordination hub

New Zealand Otago Polytechnic was to be the third
Months of coordination took place to ensure the guest speakers were in place.
Schedules were set up, technology was tested, Key notes were recruited.

The big day arrived. Hashtag #OT24VX

We started at 6pm GMT

Professor Martin Hall - Vice Chancellor of the University of Salford opened proceedings with a Keynote address

24 hours

24 speakers

over 1000 individual attendances.


(Affordances of Collaborate - Flexible attendance, instantaneous communication - social interaction, replay and re-purposing of content for distribution)
(Affordances of Collaborate - Money Saving, Flexible attendance, instantaneous communication - complex interactions between participants)
(Affordances of Collaborate - Flexible attendance, instantaneous communication - complete interaction, replay and re-purposing of content for distribution, mass attendance)
Case 4: MOSHE - Tanzania
Remote Nurse Education

Nurses beamed from all around the UK into Moshe - remote town in the foothills of Kilimanjaro.

Project coordinated in conjunction with NGO partners in UK.
Project lasted for 1 year.

(Affordances of Collaborate - Low bandwidth capability, flexibility - Low cost)

Case 7: MSc In Biomechanics: Software training.


(Affordances of Collaborate -
Flexible attendance, instantaneous communication - complete interaction, off site access to complex expensive software and hands on experience of use, via desktop share.)

Case 6: Step up to Social Work programme


Professional development programme for Student practitioners.
6 Institutions across the UK. Live. Over 150 participants: Flipped classroom. Breakout rooms. Live collaboration and interaction in breakout rooms to create presentations in 1 hour window.

Traveling audience - then went room to room - to view live presentations by students.

(Affordances of Collaborate - Flexible attendance, instantaneous communication - complete interaction, flipped classroom ability - low cost).

......and the list goes on.....
For us - Collaborate became a tool that we could use
for just about any situation,
with the right support of course....


Denis Mc Grath Twitter@technogogical
Case 9: Bad weather solution. Dec 2011

University closed for 3 days because of snow and temperatures of -20c. All classes canceled.. Not for users of Collaborate.. They switched to online classrooms - and continued their classes - coordinating them from their homes...

(Affordances of Collaborate - Flexible attendance, instantaneous communication - complete interaction, replay and repurposing of content for distribution - coordination and management from home via a domestic broadband connection)

Students needed access to specialist and expensive bio-mechanical analysis software. They participated online with a live hands on software training session from the comfort of their own homes. With live subects to work with on campus
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