Umm Al-Qura University

Umm Al-Qura University

Technical Policies on Using Virtual Classrooms (Blackboard Collaborate)

- 2022/04/19

Technical and cognitive requirements:

Before opening virtual classroom lectures, ensure the availability of the following tools and programs to avoid any technical problems:

  1. Use a desktop computer or laptop.
  2. Use the latest updated Google Chrome browser. To download Google Chrome browser, click here.
  3. Provide a device with an installed or separate camera.
  4. Its recommended that you have a stable and strong fiber-optic or DSL Internet connection. You can also use 4G-5G wireless internet, after checking the strength of the network in your area. You can check internet speed through this service.
  5. To download and install PDF file readers, such as Adobe Acrobat, click here.
  6. To download and install office package (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) and free office 365, click here.
  7. If you want to open lectures on mobile phones or tablets, download the Blackboard Learn mobile app. For Android devices: click here. For Apple devices, click here.
  8. Update the latest versions of the operating systems for the computer and mobile phone devices.
  9. We recommend all participants who are going to speak during the lecture to use a headset with a microphone, to avoid voice interference.

Tips on the best practices for using virtual classrooms with Blackboard Collaborate.

Tips before the lecture:

  1. Inform the student about the next lecture early enough before its scheduled time.
  2. If the virtual classroom is a new experience for your students, start with a rehearsal lecture to make your students enjoy the convenience of online lectures.
  3. Rehearse with a colleague, a member of the learning team, or a family member before the lecture to ensure you are comfortable with the lecture. Learn how to navigate and use available tools inside the virtual classroom before starting the lecture with your students.
  4. If you send an invitation or next lecture reminders through an email, make sure the students have received this email, as spam filters may prevent users from receiving these emails or notifications.
  5. If you have a large number of students in the lecture, create groups to limit the number of questions and reduce time spent troubleshooting and correcting mistakes during each lecture.
  6. Set a time frame for your lecture. One hour (or less) is generally enough for a classroom discussion or a presentation. If you have technical problems, you may want to allow extra time.
  7. Provide opportunities for the participants to interact and cooperate with each other during the lecture.
  8. Make the necessary training and learn about the content of the lecture before starting the lecture with the students.
  9. Open the necessary web pages and applications to share the app and screenshots before starting the lecture.
  10. Find a comfortable place far from any noise to deliver your lecture.

Tips during the lecture:

  1. Welcome the participants when they join the lecture.
  2. Remind the participants to use the audio setup wizard to test their microphone and speakers, if they have not done this already.
  3. Speak clearly and do not rush.
  4. Stop regularly during the presentation to allow and encourage questions.
  5. Ask questions and give the opportunity for the students to interact. Try to view students’ notes at regular intervals.
  6. Remember to delete responses after each survey.
  7. Pay attention to the entire screen (voting area, chatting area, etc.), and not just the board area.
  8. Encourage the participants to answer and raise their hands when they have questions or comments.
  9. Remind students to turn off the microphone when they end their questions or comments.
  10. Use blackboard tools to help you deliver your information. For example, use the selection tool to draw attention to specific areas on the screen.
  11. Remind students that, as a supervisor, you can view all messages sent, including privates messages, if you enable this option.
  12. Select the 'away' option (under the session menu) to indicate that your are temporarily leaving the session, if you want to take a break for any reason.
  13. Be aware that participants may come and leave throughout the lecture, so do not be alarmed.
  14. If the internet is weak during the lecture, turn off the video and allow only audio and screen sharing.

Tips for students on the best practices for Blackboard Collaborate

  1. Provide and carry out all technical requirements which were previously mentioned.
  2. To open the e-learning blackboard portal and enter the course, click here.
  3. To open and interact during the virtual classroom lecture, click here.
  4. Dear student, to access the recordings of the virtual lectures, click here.