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Blackboard Tip: Host “Virtual Office Hours” in Blackboard Courses with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Online instructors face the unique challenge of trying to provide office hours in a digital environment. There are many applications out there that can be used like Skype, Google Hangouts and other messaging/meeting clients. Those tools are good communication vehicles in their own right, but they come with a couple of things you might want to consider: 

  • Your students will need to leave the Blackboard environment
  • They require a separate login (username/password)

bbtip0618aYou may not know that Blackboard already has a tool that you can use for this purpose. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra can be used to conduct your online office hours!  Collaborate Ultra will allow you to have quick meetings with your student via:

  • Chat
  • Audio
  • Video

Using Collaborate Ultra for office hours also allows for easy recording and sharing of a question or problem discussed in the meeting that might benefit the class. For instance, if you were answering a student’s specific question about the use of pivot tables in excel, you could record that interaction and make it available for other students in your class. 

#PROTIP: Placing a link in the Virtual Office section of your online course with instructions on when and how to take part in “Office Hours” is a good practice.


Does this sound like something you’d like to add to your course? Learn how by signing up for our fully online, self-paced Blackboard Collaborate Ultra faculty development How-To Session that takes place in Blackboard!