Your instructor may ask you to host TA office hours during the term. These might be in-person, but you also might wish to use a virtual space to conduct TA office hours. In Blackboard, you can use either Zoom or Collaborate, which is Blackboard's built-in conferencing tool. Both Zoom and Collaborate allow for real-time interaction with 1 or more people using audio, video, screen sharing, chat, and other options.
Please note: If you host office hours virtually and want to record these sessions, please follow these guidlines:
- Notify participants that the room is being recorded. Zoom may do this automatically, forcing users to agree, but set this expectation before the office hours, and make sure this is okay with everyone. Massachusetts has wiretapping laws that you should understand before you record other people.
- Do not post recordings outside of the Blackboard course site. Office hour recordings should not be publicly viewable links to Zoom recordings. Collaborate and Zoom recordings done using the Zoom integration below will ensure that recorded sessions are not publicly available.
Using Zoom for TA Office Hours
Zoom integrates with Blackboard nicely, so you can schedule meetings right from Blackboard without having to copy and paste links in emails to your students. Meeting recordings will also be available right from the Zoom link in Blackboard. If you or your instructor add Zoom as a tool to the Course Menu, then you can both schedule meetings and your students can join them from Blackboard. The video below is the best way to get oriented to using Zoom in Blackboard. It will highlight the features, and go through the options for scheduling meetings.
Using Blackboard Collaborate for TA Office Hours
Collaborate is very similar to Zoom, but in some ways easier because it is native to Blackboard and you don't have to schedule sessions. Once Collaborate is added to the Course Menu, you will see a Course Room that can be used for all live sessions or office hours. Recordings will be available from the Collaborate tool, and students in the course will be able to join the course Room and/or scheduled meetings. If you decide to use, or want to play around with Collaborate, you can add it to your Course Menu by following these steps:
- Make sure Editor Mode is turned ON
- Hover over the plus sign (+) in the upper corner of the Course Menu and click Tool Link
- Choose Blackboard collaborate Ultra from the options, name it something that works for you, and make it Available to Users.