In April’s TEL Me More session Dennis Parkes from Computer Science talked to us about how he was using Blackboard’s Group Spaces to set up areas for his students to work collaboratively and share documents with each other.
Groups Spaces have the potential to be really powerful in Blackboard, and offer a wide range of tools and opportunities for students to work together, store documents, and all in a safe protected environment. Dennis’ students had originally been using Facebook for this type of collaborative working, but following his intervention, the students found they preferred using Blackboard and had requested other tutors to set up similar spaces.
The Blackboard Groups can be set up either as a single one off-group, or you can create multiple groups using the Group Set option. Under these two types you then have the option to manually enrol the students (e.g. if you know who you want in each group), students can self-sign up to a group depending on a topic/interest/friends, or for group sets you can set Blackboard to randomly assign the groups for you.
Within the groups there are a number of different tools depending on the type of activity you’d like your students to engage in e.g. shared file space, blogs, wikis, discussion forums and the ability to send emails to other group members.
Once your groups have been created and students assigned, you can use another Blackboard tool called “Adaptive Release” to make different content available to various groups. This could be useful when creating group assignments, where each group is working on a different assignment, or perhaps you’re setting up some classroom debates and want to provide the different groups with various sides of the argument for them to prepare and tackle.
For support on using the Groups Spaces, see Blackboard’s help guides on Users and Groups. If you would like to investigate using groups in your own Blackboard modules and have more questions, then you can contact the Learning Technologists on email@example.com or call us on x1865
We look forward to hearing from more of you at the next TEL Me More session on Wednesday 27th May 11-12.