Web Conferencing technology allows for students and instructors to meet live, online, from anywhere, using a computer or mobile device with an internet connection. Web Conferencing facilitates synchronous learning, a learning event in which students and instructor are engaged in at the same time.
Benefits for Learning
Web Conferencing allows learners to connect with each other and their instructor, and is one of many ways to help bridge the distance between instructors and students in an online course.
Web Conferencing works best for activity-based learning in your class. Here are a few tips:
- Align web conferencing activities with the instructional goals of your course.
- Avoid simulating face-to-face lectures in a web conferencing setting.
- Use asynchronous course content for providing the majority of course learning materials.
- Web Conferencing is also good for office hours or Q&A sessions about course projects.
Learn more about best practices for synchronous and asynchronous content delivery in your course.
Web Conferencing at UMass Boston
There are a number of Web Conferencing tools available for use today. UMass Boston uses and supports Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Zoom. There are other web conferencing tools available such as Skype, Google Hangouts, which are not provided by the University, but an instructor can use independently at any time.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is Blackboard’s newest web conferencing tool. It includes the latest browser-based conferencing technology that supports video and audio communication and the ability to add files, share applications, and use a virtual whiteboard for added interaction. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is integrated with Blackboard, providing easy access to your Collaborate Ultra classroom directly within your Blackboard classroom.
The following guides will help faculty and students at UMass Boston get started with Blackboard Collaborate:
Support for Collaborate Ultra
UMass Boston’s Learning Design Services helps instructors get started with Blackboard Collaborate and provides pedagogical consults for using web conferencing for teaching. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org during regular business hours. For 24/7 support, visit umb.echelp.org. For demos and examples visit Blackboard’s Help site for general tutorials on using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
Zoom is a videoconferencing collaboration tool that can be utilized for administrative or faculty meetings, remote presentations, faculty/student meetings, guest lecturer presentations, webinar hosting and other meetings, with or without accessing Blackboard.
UMass Boston Zoom Meeting licenses are distributed to faculty and staff by the AV Services and Classroom Technology group. A Zoom license is only required to host a meeting. Anyone can join a meeting without needing a license. Please contact IT-Classtech@umb.edu if you are interested in obtaining a license for hosting meetings.
Zoom Guides and Support
Once you obtain an account, visit the Zoom Support Page to get started.
Policies on Meeting and Lecture Recording
As you plan your meetings, please review these important policies:
- All Collaborate recordings are deleted after 1 year. Faculty who wish to save or keep any recordings older than 1 year, should download the recordings and store them outside of Blackboard.
- Zoom recordings are also deleted periodically. Please visit the Zoom Support Page for details.
- Policies on recording meetings and lectures.