I always had a soft spot for Elluminate, having attended some engaging and memorable webinars with it over the years. The interface icons had a goofy clip art look about them but it was a very usable educational tool supported by excellent technical support. So I was disappointed when the behemoth Blackboard bought the company and rebranded the software “Blackboard Collaborate”. Now surely it was going to get exciting sounding but not very functional features, bewildering layers of settings and all the other things we know and love from Bb Learn.
So what does this have to do with Blackboard connect?
Well, I wanted to have a look at Collaborate and apparently getting a room to play in is not all that easy (Elluminate gave everyone a free “v-room” for the asking by comparison), so when the invitation came round to attend a webinar on Blackboard’s SMS tool set (not altogether irrelevant to my work) I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.
Here’s what I learned:
- The interface is tidier
- It still runs off a java applet
- VOIP works fine, at least where you have beefy bandwidth
- Communicating with students is a really good thing, helping student “resilience” and connections by fortifying them. Who knew?