Participating in online teaching at UWE (Part 1)

How to connect to online teaching sessions and meetings.

This guide is primarily for Standardised Patients and Public Patient Involvement Partners within the Faculty of HAS. It can be used by anyone asked to participate in our teaching activities at the University that don’t have UWE credentials.

Authored by: Ghizzi Dunlop

How to use this page 

The situation with the COVID pandemic, means it is unlikely that you will be able to visit campus in person. The university has a responsibility to protect you, your families, students and staff. Your involvement is highly valued and essential for student development, experience and learning. We will offer guidance for alternative ways of working. This is a complicated task as not everyone is a staff member, and we need to consider the variety of IT you use.

Links or hyperlinks are in Bold, underlined and red, click on them to activate. They will always open in a new browser tab or window depending on how you have set your browser preferences. The link should tell you what it is and where it will go e.g. a video guide opens in YouTube.

This page has been formatted to maximise efficiency for keyboard navigators. If you have issues accessing it, please feedback to your academic contact, so we can rectify and ensure you get the support you need.

How it will work this year (2020/21)

 The situation with the COVID pandemic, means it is unlikely that you will be able to visit campus in person this year. The university has a responsibility to protect you, your families, students and staff. The service you provide is highly valued and essential for student development, experience and learning. We will offer guidance for alternative ways of sharing your stories and experience. This will be challenging with such a diverse range of people, so please bear with us.  

You will be asked to join sessions remotely. You will need either a computer with internet connection (with audio in and out) or a mobile phone. The academic member of staff you are working with should help you to test this before any booked session. 

There are two web conferencing tools you may be asked to use for this, Blackboard Collaborate and Microsoft Teams. For both tools, you will be invited to the session via a link. If you do not have access to email, we will try another way of connecting you (text message link). 

Blackboard Collaborate 

Blackboard Collaborate works best with the Google Chrome browser, you can download and install this free. Chrome is available on Windows, Mac OS, Android (Google Play Store) and iOS (App Store) devices. 

Join a Collaborate Session  

You will be invited to the session via a link. Blackboard Collaborate guest link looks like this,  

This link is a test session in my Test course. You can join this at a time to suit you and explore Collaborate as a participant.  

When you click on the link it will open the session in your Browser. Add your name, then click the ‘Join Session’ button. 

Sign in to Collaborate session page, type in your name and press Join Session button

Once you enter the Collaborate roomthere are some functions to be aware of 

Collaborate Panel  

Click the purple tab, bottom right, to open it

The Purple Tab bottom right of the window opens the Collaborate Session Panel

Click the Settings cog wheel icon bottom right of the expanded panel, this is where you check your audio and video.  

Scroll down to set session notifications settings

Open Session panel with Settings cog icon bottom right highlighted

Click the Speech bubble icon bottom left. In here you can type your comments or conversation whilst the audio-visual presentation is going on.

Open Session panel with the Chat icon bottom left highlighted.

Session Controls

There’s a row of four buttons bottom centre. The Session Controls menu bottom centre of screen

  1. My Status and Settings – click to check your status and give emoji feedback.
  2. Mute or unmute your microphone.
  3. Switch on or off your webcam video.
  4. Raise your hand to let the lecturer know you wish to speak.

You should get a practice or test session with academic staff before the actual teaching session. This will help you understand the parts of the tool you need to interact with. This should be minimal, the academic will manage the session itself. 

Mobile device access to Collaborate 

Blackboard Collaborate allows you to connect to sessions with an Apple iPad, or iPhone, Android or Windows devices via a browser. A video guide to Collaborate on mobile devices opens in YouTube (18.06 mins) [Transcript]. 

You can do these things with Blackboard Collaborate on a mobile browser 

  • View the Whiteboard. 
  • View an Application on another user’s desktop. 
  • Join breakout rooms. 
  • Send and receive chat messages with the entire room. 
  • Listen to other speakers and speak to the room. 
  • Respond to polls. 

Collaborate Accessibility 

For the best Collaborate experience with your screen reader use Chrome and JAWS on a Windows system. On a Mac use Safari and VoiceOver.

  • Windows 10 – Chrome with JAWS: Provisional
  • Windows 7 – Chrome with JAWS: Compatible
  • MacOS – Safari with VoiceOver: Certified
  • MacOS – Chrome with VoiceOver: Provisional

There are some useful keyboard shortcuts in Blackboard Collaborate, including:

  • To turn the microphone on and off, press Alt + M in Windows. On a Mac, press Option + M.
  • To turn the camera on and off, press Alt + C in Windows. On a Mac, press Option + C.
  • To raise and lower your hand, press Alt + H in Windows. On a Mac, press Option + H.

For detailed support for accessibility with Collaborate visit Blackboard Help

Chrome Live Captions 

A new feature in Chrome provides automated captions for video and audio on web pages. This works well with Collaborate and in fact any video or audio content you find using the Chrome browser.

This is how you set it up; 

  • Type chrome://flags in Chrome’s address bar. 
  • In the Search box type in captions.  
  • Against the Live Captions options box select Enabled and choose Re-launch Chrome.  
  • When Chrome restarts, select the three dots in a column top right of the browser and choose Settings 
  • Type caption into the Settings search box and slide the toggle button to turn on Live caption. 
  • Set you preferences for how Captions will look by clicking on Caption Preferences above Live Captions Option or by clicking the square with a diagonal arrow icon to the right of the Captions heading. This will depend on which version of Chrome you are using.

    Captions preferences icon in Chrome on Windows computer

A quick video guide to installing Chrome Automated Caption Tool YouTube video (5.58 mins) [Transcript].

These are machine generated Automatic Speech Recognition captions, average accuracy between 60-90% with punctuation often missing. You can drag the captions box around the screen, similar to live subtitles on TV news. To increase or reduce captions box size click the downward chevron.

Continue on to Part 2 where we look at how you might be asked to access MS Teams.

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