Blackboard Inc., launched March 12 the Blackboard Collaborate Self-Service Portal, which allows higher education institutions, school districts, and organizations to implement the virtual classroom solution—specifically designed for educators and students—within hours. Blackboard significantly reduced the time from purchase to deployment in direct response to the need for institutions and districts across the globe to quickly transition to digital teaching and learning modalities as part of COVID-19 contingency planning. The web-based self-service portal is designed to help institutions begin instruction within a virtual classroom within hours.
“We’re committed to supporting the education community as they transition rapidly to fully digital teaching and learning modalities,” said Lee Blakemore, Chief Client Officer & President, Global Markets at Blackboard. “Over the past several weeks we’ve been working with thousands of clients across the globe to help solve their most pressing challenges—from quickly deploying virtual classrooms and training faculty and academic staff to effectively leverage teaching and learning technologies, to ensuring that all digital course content is engaging, accessible and inclusive for all students.”
Blackboard Collaborate is specifically designed for educators and learners and can ease the transition to a fully digital education environment by offering both synchronous and asynchronous course capabilities. The virtual classroom solution connects students and instructors via both desktop and mobile devices. Designed to simulate a physical classroom, the tool includes features that connect students and promote collaboration, engagement, and accessible learning through features such as hand raising, whiteboard, chat, breakout groups, and polls. The solution integrates seamlessly with all leading learning management systems (LMS).
“We recognize the importance of making this transition to a fully digital learning environment as streamlined and efficient as possible for the entire academic community—especially for instructors and students who may be accustomed to in-class or hybrid teaching and learning environments,” said Kathy Vieira, Chief Strategy, Portfolio & Marketing Officer at Blackboard.
Preparing the Academic Community for a Fully Digital Learning Environment
In an effort to prepare administrators and instructors for the transition to a fully digital teaching and learning environment, Blackboard is helping to drive technical fluency through Blackboard Digital Teaching and Learning Series (DTLS), a global, solution-agnostic professional development offering. Blackboard DTLS offers educators online courses on the digital technologies that on-campus and distance-learning students use daily, as well as strategies for integrating digital technologies into every aspect of the education experience. By addressing pedagogical and instructional design best practices for digital course development, the professional development series ensures instructors can continue to drive student success and maintain the same high-quality instruction as in-class courses.
Visit Blackboard’s Solutions and Resources for Scaling Online Learning page and the Ally accessibility checklist for additional free information on transitioning to a fully digital academic environment and ensuring the development of high quality, engaging, and inclusive digital course content.