The Oregon Tech Online Department offers valuable services to all faculty and staff. The Blackboard course management software is used by online faculty to teach fully online courses and by on-campus faculty to supplement on-campus face-to-face classes. It has also been used to support some administrative groups. The Collaborate web conferencing program is available to some Oregon Tech faculty. Call the Online office at 541.885.1174 if you're interested in using either of these programs.
Blackboard Course Management Software
At Oregon Tech, the term "Online faculty" refers to those faculty members who teach fully-online classes using Blackboard. Online faculty members are required to use the standard Blackboard course template, to comply with Online Course Standards and their classes are reviewed by their peers. New Online faculty members usually participate in weekly hour-long meetings with an Online staff member to learn about the many features of Blackboard which faculty uses to design and teach online classes. Approval for creating online courses comes from the instructor's department.
On-campus faculty members, at all Oregon Tech locations, may choose to use Blackboard to supplement their in-class instruction. These supplemental course shells used by on-campus instructors are referred to as "hybrid shells" and the instructors are commonly called "hybrid instructors." New hybrid instructors attend required one-on-one training to learn the Blackboard basics. They may request more training if they wish to learn more about Blackboard. Workshops are offered as needed. The standards for posting supplemental materials in Blackboard hybrid shells are less stringent than for online course instructors. No departmental approval is needed to request hybrid shells. An email message is sent to all faculty each term requesting which instructors wish to use Blackboard in their on-campus classes.
Collaborate Web Conferencing Service
The Online Department leases the hosted Collaborate web conferencing program that may be used by some Oregon Tech faculty members. Oregon Tech holds an unlimited license for Collaborate, which means you can schedule as many web conference sessions as you need and invite as many people as you need in each session.
The only software requirement for your computer is that Java must be installed. If your computer doesn't have Java installed, it can easily be loaded using the link on the Collaborate support webpage. The only hardware requirement, in addition to a computer with an internet connection, is a headset with both earphones and microphone that connects to your computer. You can buy a headset at a reasonable price from the Oregon Tech bookstore. (The Online department has a few headsets to loan out to faculty along with two microphone/speaker units for classroom use. For those who plan to use Collaborate more than once, we recommend that you buy your own headset from the Oregon Tech bookstore and remind participants that they need headsets, too.)
Collaborate web conferencing allows invited conference attendees to hold audio conversations, share documents or applications, share computer screens, and collaborate. Collaborate is used by Oregon Tech online faculty in their online courses to offer online office hours, present course material to students in real time, allow guest speakers to talk to their classes, and offer tutoring sessions for students who need additional help. Collaboration using Collaborate is limited mainly by your imagination. Collaborate is available for use by Oregon Tech faculty at any campus location.
If you decide that you want to use Collaborate in your class, contact the Online office and a staff member will schedule a Collaborate training session for you. Collaborate user manuals have been developed and are attached to this webpage. The Online staff person will help you learn how to use Collaborate so that you can conduct a web conference by yourself with expertise and confidence.