Toni Czekanski from the Center for Reading Recovery had a student who was due to have a baby and would not be able to attend residency in Cambridge. Students in residency spent time in small groups of three or four people analyzing and discussing videos of each other’s teaching before separating to work on individual tasks. Toni wanted to find a way for the student to participate in the group work that went beyond listening in on a conference call all day. She decided to give Blackboard IM (BB IM) a try.
Toni placed the student in a group that was already using online tools like YouTube or Vimeo to share their videos and asked each of them to install BB IM. The students viewed each others’ videos using the Web Tour feature and then held a discussion about their observations using the Skype-like audio and video group call functionality. They could also add quick comments or questions for the person speaking via the text-based chat without having to interrupt them or forget their comment. The Screen Sharing feature allowed them to share other documents on their computers.
During residency instructors could use BB IM to follow up with the distant student. After residency, they could also meet with all of their students online and the students could continue to work together in their groups.