Enhancing Learning Engagement with Blackboard's Class Conversations Feature

Lamar University is committed to providing the best educational opportunities for its students, whether they're in an online, hybrid, or face-to-face classroom. One powerful tool that can help faculty achieve this goal is Blackboard's Class Conversations feature. This feature, often underutilized, has the potential to significantly enhance interaction and pedagogical best practices in courses, fostering a more engaging and collaborative learning environment.

The Power of Class Conversations

Blackboard's Class Conversations feature is a dynamic communication tool that enables students to discuss course content, ask questions, share resources, and collaborate with both their peers and instructors. Unlike traditional discussion boards, Class Conversations are contextually tied to specific content items within the course, making them highly relevant and conducive to meaningful dialogue. Here's why Lamar University faculty should consider harnessing the potential of this feature:

  1. Encouraging Active Engagement: Class Conversations encourage active participation by providing students with a platform to engage with the course material. It promotes a sense of ownership over their learning and empowers them to seek clarification, share insights, and explore the subject matter more deeply.
  2. Fostering Collaborative Learning: Collaboration is a key component of effective education. With Class Conversations, students can collaborate on assignments, projects, and assignments, facilitating peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing. This enhances critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  3. Immediate Clarification: Students often have questions or need clarification while studying course content. Class Conversations provide a direct channel to instructors, allowing them to seek assistance promptly. This reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and frustration.
  4. Personalized Support: Instructors can use Class Conversations to provide personalized support, guidance, and additional resources to individual students or groups. It helps create a more supportive and learner-centered environment.
  5. Enhanced Content Relevance: Conversations are tied to specific content items, ensuring that discussions are contextually relevant. This keeps the conversation focused and allows students to connect their questions and insights directly to the materials they are studying.
  6. Streamlined Communication: While discussions are an integral part of the learning process, they don't clutter the discussions page, keeping the platform organized and easy to navigate for both students and instructors.

Getting Started with Class Conversations

You can enable conversations on documents, assignments, tests, offline submissions, and links to teaching tools.

Enable Conversations

Open the item that you would like to add conversations to. Then click the settings icon, and select Allow class conversations.

A screenshot of the blackboard interface displaying a content item. The icon for changing the settings is highlighted in the top right corner of the page. A check box for class conversations is also prominently featured at the bottom right.

Access Conversations

When someone contributes to a conversation, an icon appears next to the item's title on the Course Content page. Open the item's menu and select Conversation to open the conversation in a new layer.

A screenshot of the blackboard content area. A content item is displayed with the title highlighted. The screenshot demonstrates the contextual menu being clicked to reveal the option for viewing conversations.

Or, select the Open class conversation icon in the upper-right corner of the item's page. A purple dot will appear when there is new activity within a conversation.

A screenshot of an open content item in a blackboard course. The option to open and close class conversations is highlighted at the top right of the image.

For more detailed instructions on applying conversations to your course content, please visit the conversations documentation for instructors. If you would like to share instructions with your students on how they can participate in any conversations you have enabled, feel free to share the student instructions with them directly.