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Blackboard Collaborate

Lisa Yamagata-LynchLisa Yamagata-Lynch is one of four faculty members chosen this year by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) as a Spotlight.

OIT chooses different UT faculty members who share their innovative ways of using technology in the classroom. Yamagata-Lynch was selected to discuss her online course IT 532 Online Learning Environments. This course is taught with a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous methods using both Blackboard and Blackboard Collaborate. She utilizes asynchronous activities as a build-up for the synchronous meetings. For instance, an asynchronous assignment of answering discussion questions about required class readings will then form her plan for the synchronous discussion. If any important point are being missed, she can bring that up. After those points are covered, she can then focus on taking the readings a step further and discuss how to utilize different skills.

The synchronous meetings are set up like a live, virtual classroom with video and audio feeds, a class roll, and shared whiteboard space where presentations can be displayed. After a logistical check in and short lecture, Yamagata-Lynch performs break-out activities. Essentially, students break into small groups in a separate space to work on problems or have small discussions before being brought back into the main “classroom.”

She goes on to discuss the importance of group projects and explains ways to overcome challenges specific to an online teaching environment. For these tips, information on where to start as a new instructor, and the entire presentation check out OIT’s Faculty Spotlight page.