Exploring Blackboard Collaborate – Pilot Project

In December 2012 the University of Toronto acquired Blackboard Collaborate software as a webinar and webconferencing tool.  In May of this year we convened an informal library working group to look at Blackboard Collaborate (BbC) as a potential tool for information literacy. We have held two meetings to date and though we’re still in the early stages, we wanted to share what we’re up to!

Goals of the BbC pilot project
Our primary goal for the project is to explore BbC as a tool for information literacy delivery. Is this an effective tool for delivering IL? Is it easy for us to use? How much time does it take to learn and set up? How does it compare to in-person sessions? What do students think?

The test sessions
Based on our goals for the pilot, we aim to develop and deliver a 30-minute test session using BbC. It will most likely be a short orientation session, something like a “Top 10 things you need to know…”, aimed at first year students in the first couple weeks of the fall semester. We’ve just started working on the course design, including what content to cover, what interactive BbC components to use, how to assess student learning, how to analyze and evaluate the tool, etc.

At this point, we’re hoping to roll out several offerings of the session in BbC and in-person for the sake of comparison. Given our target audience and the goals of the pilot we will be doing a relatively limited test of BbC’s functions and potential applications. However, we hope it will be enough to get the ball rolling!

As a group we will evaluate the test sessions, document lessons learned, and make recommendations to the Faculty Liaison and Information Literacy Coordinator regarding next steps. We will consider the feasibility of using Bb Collaborate for IL, best practices, considerations for staff training, etc.

Our next meeting is on July 19th. We’ll keep you posted!

If you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions please get in touch with Jenaya Webb or Monique Flaccavento.

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