Depending on how you are planning to use Online Rooms in your online or blended course, we have several online tutorials to help you set up Online Rooms to meet your pedagogical objective!
Getting Started with Online Rooms for Group Projects: http://uwmltc.org/?p=3038
Getting Started with Online Rooms for Virtual Office Hours: http://uwmltc.org/?p=3036
Getting Started with Online Rooms to Conduct Exam Reviews: http://uwmltc.org/?p=3033
Getting started with Online Rooms for Interactive Presentations: http://uwmltc.org/?p=1016
These documents will describe:
1) how to add Online Rooms to your Navigation bar
2) how to create an Online Room in your D2L course site
3) and how to use a variety of BlackBoard Collaborate tools based on your pedagogical need
This document will also share tips and strategies your students can use to avoid technical issues during a synchronous meeting. Finally, it will show you how to practice using the tools in a “mock” presentation. Practicing is always a good idea when using this technology. The tutorials above will help you experience Online Rooms as both an instructor and as a student in order to become comfortable with the technology and anticipate questions or concerns from students entering BlackBoard Collaborate for the first time.
Before considering the use of Online Rooms, consider that students at UWM are very accustomed to asynchronous learning in online courses. Students report that they take online course because they provide flexibility. Instructors report experiencing student “push-back” when they require students to attend (even virtually) organized meetings on a specific date and time. That said, there are some advantages to synchronous communication and it can be used very effectively in the scenarios above.
In general, asynchronous communication, like online discussions, are best used when students need time to reflect, time to process information, or gather additional resources. Synchronous communication, like Online Rooms, is best used when immediate feedback is necessary to motivate and engage. It is also useful in order to build commitment to an online learning community, like a small group.