Virtual Classroom

Blackboard Collaborate is Western’s synchronous, virtual classroom tool. The tool can be used to host synchronous class sessions online and can be found on your OWL course site. Students may participate in the session via the chat window, microphone, or using both audio and video.

Hosting a Collaborate session is an effective way to add instructor presence to an online course and a tool to build community amongst students. Collaborate sessions can be recorded and shared with students who are not able to attend the live session.

Hover over the image below to learn about the Collaborate interface.


Why use Collaborate?

The synchronous classroom tool, Collaborate, can be used for the purposes of:

  • Introducing yourself/student introductions
  • Explaining or introducing a course outline, assignment or presentation
  • Clarifying course content or expectations
  • Student presentations
  • Hosting informal “office hours”
  • Invite a guest speaker to address your students

See our Showcase section for more ideas about how Collaborate can be integrated into your course!

What does a successful Collaborate session look like?

The strength of the Collaborate tool is that it allows students and instructors separated by distance to interact and engage with each other in real time. The most successful Collaborate sessions:

  • Allow for student discussion
  • Make use of Collaborate’s interactive features in a thoughtful way
  • Present visual content on the session’s whiteboard
  • Are recorded for the benefit of students who cannot attend

Check out our eLearning Blueprints and Showcase pages for more ideas about using Collaborate!

Moderation Support

Synchronous learning has many “moving parts”. Having Moderator support during a session allows the instructor to focus on content, while a Moderator manages the technical components. If you are interested in hosting a Collaborate session, you can contact an instructional designer to arrange for moderation support.

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