Using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for Group Assignments

GVSU Nursing faculty Nancy Schoofs and Sue Harrington wanted to try something new in their Professional Nursing course. Instead of dividing their students into groups and having them submit a review of the course readings, they decided to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and have the students record themselves engaged in a group discussion about the text. The results exceeded all of their expectations.

To carry out the discussions, students were divided into small groups and provided access to the Collaborate Ultra course group tool where they could share content and use the whiteboard, as well as create recordings.Blackboard Collaborate Ultra AllowHalf of the students read one course text and the other half read a second. They were then required to discuss a set of questions about each reading during a series of Collaborate Ultra sessions that were recorded throughout the semester. A rubric was used to evaluate their discussions based on the content they covered, their organization, teamwork, delivery and effectiveness.

According to Professor Schoofs and Harrington, their students really embraced the opportunity to discuss, rather then write about, the readings. Most of the students joined the sessions using their own computers and devices, but some chose to meet face-to-face and simply used Collaborate to record their discussion. Both methods worked exceptionally well and the results were both engaging and insightful. Given the opportunity, both Professor Schoofs and Harrington agreed that they would use the Collaborate Ultra course group tool for similar assignments in their future courses.

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