Collaborative working in Blackboard

Digital technologies offer opportunities for students and teachers to collaborate and interact, and to develop skills in evaluation, reflection, and critical thinking.
From: JISC, Effective Practice in a Digital Age

Campus-based teaching methods include a number of opportunities for collaboration between students, and between students and staff. Some of those collaborations might usefully be carried on between face-to-face sessions, aided by online tools; and for distance learning, those online tools become the main platform for delivering almost all of the collaborative elements within a programme.

Blackboard includes a number of features which allow students to use content collaboratively, primarily blogs, journals, wikis and discussion boards.

Examples

Discussion Boards

You can use a discussion board to carry on a conversation about a lecture or seminar topic. You can frame your questions using Bloom's taxonomy:

  • Evaluation: Ask students to make judgments about an issue.
  • Synthesis: Get your students to integrate pieces of knowledge.
  • Analysis: Guide your students in discovering and connecting relationships of concepts and ideas.
  • Application: Ask your students to show how they could use the acquired information.
  • Comprehension: Create questions that ask your students to demonstrate their understanding of the material.
  • Knowledge: Ask your students questions to see what they remember.

Tips for using discussion boards effectively.

Blogs

Students can use a blog to write about a topic for a seminar, and invite other students to comment. This means that in the seminar they come prepared, and able to get to a deeper level of discussion more quickly. It enables less confident students to practice their arguments, and can lead to peer-to-peer learning with stronger students helping weaker ones.

Wikis

Wikis can be used for groups of students to prepare presentations, or collaborate on other aspects of their work. For example PGCE students designing a course of study, or students developing a glossary of technical terms.

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