Webinars: New opportunity at UofT for reaching students online

The University of Toronto currently is conducting a demonstration pilot of the Blackboard Collaborate webinar tool. Once activated for the instructor, the webinar interface can be accessed from a course’s website on the Portal. If you are interested in using this technology, your will need to submit a request in advance by contacting portal.help@utoronto.ca. Local divisional instructional technology support staff may also be able to assist with this process.

What is this tool? A Webinar tool connects a large number of students with their instructor in real time. In some cases students may watch and/or listen to the presentation and ask questions via live chat. The Blackboard Collaborate system allows for sharing the presenter role functions with the students, including two-way audio and video communication. In addition to audio and video channels, the webinar software can provide shared access to desktop (on which instructors can show course materials, web sites slides, etc.). This type of presentation can be very effective for large classes, but requires advanced planning and knowledge of the system especially when using it to teach groups of 20 or more.

The demonstration pilot of the Blackboard Collaborate tool is currently under way. At the same time some divisions also maintain licences for other webinar tools that they host locally. Contact CTSI or your local instructional technology support contact for more information.

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