Web Conferencing

Web Conferencing technology allows for students and instructors to meet live, online, from anywhere, using a computer or mobile device with an internet connection.  Web Conferencing facilitates synchronous learning, a learning event in which students and instructor are engaged in at the same time.

Benefits for Learning

Web Conferencing allows learners to connect with each other and their instructor, and is one of many ways to help bridge the distance between instructors and students in an online course.

Best Practices

Web Conferencing works best for activity-based learning in your class. Here are a few tips:

  • Align web conferencing activities with the instructional goals of your course.
  • Avoid simulating face-to-face lectures in a web conferencing setting.
  • Use asynchronous course content for providing the majority of course learning materials.
  • Web Conferencing is also good for office hours or Q&A sessions about course projects.

Learn more about best practices for synchronous and asynchronous content delivery in your course.

Web Conferencing at UMass Boston

There are a number of Web Conferencing tools available for use today. UMass Boston uses and supports Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is integrated with Blackboard, providing easy access to your Collaborate Ultra classroom.  However, there are other web conferencing tools available such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Zoom, which are not provided by the University, but an instructor can use independently at any time.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is Blackboard’s newest web conferencing tool. It includes the latest browser-based conferencing technology that supports video and audio communication and the ability to add files, share applications, and use a virtual whiteboard for added interaction.

The following guides will help faculty and students at UMass Boston get started with Blackboard Collaborate:

Support for Web Conferencing

UMass Boston’s eLearning and Instructional Support team helps instructors get started with Blackboard Collaborate and provides pedagogical consults for using web conferencing for teaching, email us at elearning@umb.edu during regular business hours. For 24/7 support, visit umb.echelp.org. For demos and examples visit Blackboard’s Help site for general tutorials on using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.