I’m testing a new Building Block for Blackboard, Wimba Pronto Basic, on our test system. It’s an instant messaging tool that has an audio component, something I’m asked about with increasing frequency lately.
So far it looks interesting. You can open a group chat by selecting users and inviting them to a group text chat. Once in the chat you can opt to use voice over IP (VoIP) to open an audio conference call with your class. On initial look, this building block seems to fill a void currently lacking in the collaboration tools built-in to Blackboard.
More testing before our “go live” date for upgrade to Blackboard 9, and some pilot testing during the summer will tell us whether this is the answer to some of our synchronous online course communication needs.