Collaborate is an online, browser-based collaborative space that enables participants to interact using chat, video, audio, document sharing, desktop screen sharing and polling.
How can I use it?
Collaborate can be used for one-to-one discussions or consultation with a student, student or staff-led group presentations to an entire class, or for student-to-student interactions. Sessions can be scheduled with a start and end time, or used on an ad hoc basis. Students can also initiate their own peer sessions.
What are its features?
Collaborate is accessible and intuitive.
- Collaborate provides participants with a simple and intuitive interface, with no software or plugins required to participate.
- If students do not have the correct equipment, or are struggling to get their audio to work correctly, Collaborate allows participants to dial into a session using a local number and session PIN. For students in remote locations or with bandwidth limitations, Collaborate has inbuilt and automated tools to optimise the session content to their available connection. Students can also access a Collaborate session using the Blackboard Student app (available on Android and iOS).
- Collaborate was built with accessibility in mind; the tool is accessible to screen readers, allows for live captioning, and can be navigated using keyboard shortcuts.
What about FLO Live?
In 2016, CILT conducted a Virtual Synchronous Classroom review that looked at how FLO Live was being used, the challenges of using the tool, and investigations into the support structures for staff and students. The findings from this review found the features of FLO Live were generally meeting teaching and learning needs, although several issues were identified. The report highlighted licensing restraints of FLO Live as an issue for adoption, significant time being taken up by staff to support students in using the technology, and insufficient support structures in place. A site license for Collaborate was then procured by the University, allowing for an unlimited number of sessions with up to 250 participants in each session.
FLO Live will be decommissioned in November 2017. We will contact existing FLO Live users to advise of the necessary steps to transition from FLO Live to Collaborate.
Contributed by Greg Faller
Online Learning Environment Manager – CILT