Integrating the Class Collaborate Experience With Moodle™

The inclusion of synchronous learning opportunities in the virtual classroom can offer many benefits to students and teachers, including:

  • Encouraging more contact between faculty with students who live off campus, are working at a distance, or otherwise have limited access. It may also provide comfortable and productive access for students who might be reluctant to approach a facilitator in person.
  • Allowing students to work together, increasing their engagement in the course by building relationships that boost cooperation. When students are engaged they’re more likely to succeed in the course.
  • Finding efficiencies in your schedule by opening up new ways to host office hours and group sessions. Let’s face it—technology is infused into nearly every aspect of life, and by teaching effective use of these tools we can help our students academically and beyond.

In today’s post we’ll explore the integration of Class Collaborate’s [formerly Blackboard Collaborate] learning experience into Moodle™, providing a seamless learning environment for students.

Class Collaborate is a real-time video conferencing tool that lets you share video files, applications, and use a virtual whiteboard to interact. With the New Learning Experience (NLE), Class Collaborate offers a fully redesigned, high-quality browser-based web conferencing solution that makes distance teaching and learning simple, crystal clear, and worry-free. The Ultra Experience is available as an Activity module, allowing organizations using Moodle™ and Collaborate to deploy the Collaborate experience from within their course.

Enabling the Ultra Experience

Before you can configure the Collaborate Activity module, you must have Collaborate with the Ultra Experience enabled for your Moodle™ instance. Self-hosted Moodle™ users or those using another Moodle™ hosting provider can download the plugin from the Collaborate Moodle™ plugins page. If you are an Open LMS customer, your system administrator will need to enable the plugin for your site(s).

  1. Log in to Behind the Blackboard.
  2. Click Create a case.
  3. From the Environment drop-down list select your web conferencing environment.
  4. From the Issue Topic drop-down list select Ultra Experience.
  5. From the Functional Area drop-down list select Request Collaborate with the Ultra experience.
  6. Click Create New Case.
  7. You should receive an email once your site has been configured.

A new Activity module named Collaborate will be listed at Administration > Plugins > Activity Modules > Manage Activities.

RELATED READING | ‘Enhance Your LMS With Easy & Engaging Course Authoring

Adding a New Collaborate Session to Your Course

To add a session to a course, select Collaborate from either the Activity Chooser or the Add an Activity drop-down menu.

Configuring a New Collaborate Session

  1. Enter a Session name. This text displays on the front page of the Moodle™ course providing access to the session.
  2. Use the Description text area to share important information about the session that students should know before attending. This information may or may not be displayed on the front page of the course using the checkbox below the text area. As a best practice avoid marking the “Display description on course page” checkbox if the description is long to prevent unnecessary scrolling on the front page of the course.
  3. Use the Start date and time drop-down menus to set the appropriate start time for the session. Note the time zone listed and be sure to adjust the start time to account for any time differences.
  4. Use the Duration drop-down menu to set the length of the session.
  5. Finish configuring the Moodle™ activity by setting the desired settings for Grade Outcomes, Common Module Settings, Restrict Access, and Activity completion options. Then select “Save and return to course.”

The New Collaborate session appears in line with other course resources and activities and displays the date and time of the session.

Collaborate activities also auto-populate the calendar as course events. Users can hover over a date to expand the day’s events and click on an activity to view the details.

MORE ON COLLABORATIVE LEARNING | ‘5 Ways to Create a More Engaging Online Classroom

Tara Thompson is a former Open LMS learning designer.

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Tara Thompson

Tara Thompson is a former learning designer for Open LMS.

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