Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2.1.1 Delivery Methods and the Synchronous Vendor Market

Synchronous learning is an important piece of the online learning environment. It enables invaluable, simultaneous instructor-learner interaction. From my virtual teaching experience, Blackboard Collaborate, although it is not free, is one of the best resources in the market for synchronous learning. Blackboard Collaborate offers a wide variety of tools such as a whiteboard to present and share data, desktop sharing, video sharing, VoIP audio, a chat tool for instant messaging, polling, and break-out rooms to group participants. It can also record sessions for later playback.

Open source software packages present a free option for synchronous learning. However, there seem to be IT costs involved in the usage of open source tools. BigBlueButton is an open source web conferencing system that offers basically the same features as Blackboard Collaborate. It also has the additional advantage of being available in Schoology. This is what the BigBlueButton interface looks like:

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