Blackboard Collaborate

The Pink Elephant

by Sue Grider, CFC LMS Manager

A number of years ago when I was getting my undergraduate degree in Business Administration, we read a book “Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies” by Charles Perrow. Our class summarized that as long as the human factor is involved with technology, at some point it will fail especially the more complicated technology becomes. The book was first published in 1984 shortly after many Amtrak accidents and the Chernobyl accident. After the investigation of each accident, it was found that there was always a human element in the cause of the accident.

Our experiences with Blackboard Collaborate during the month of January have resembled one of the many Amtrak accidents and after an internal investigation by Blackboard, it was found that human error certainly played a part in the issues that Blackboard and subsequently all United States Collaborate users experienced. The good news is that Blackboard is not sitting back and saying “oh well, what a shame,” but is actively working to improve their testing processes, their communication processes, and their response procedures. When we spoke with the Blackboard Collaborate management, they were open and honest about their failures this month and they were up front about their inability to provide Blackboard Collaborate users with a stable and reliable system during the month of January.

Going forward, Blackboard is committed to improving their service with regard to Collaborate. We will continue to work with Blackboard to help them make this product the best it can be. We have communicated to management that we would like for them to aim for a 99.9% up-time that we experience with our Blackboard Learn environment. We will be assisting the Collaborate team with their communication to the users so that we will remain aware of any issues that might arise in a timely and meaningful way.

Phone Numbers

There has been some confusion regarding the call-in numbers for Blackboard Collaborate. There is one phone number and 25 PINs that can be used across WCU at any given time. Also, just because a participant has called in they still need to log into the session provided within their course at the same time. If you happen to have a class with a large number of students who need to call in because of their proximity, we would recommend that you use Skype for Business in lieu of Blackboard Collaborate. For information about how to set  up meetings, please visit the WCU Collaborate website.

If you have any questions or need some assistance with Blackboard Collaborate, please do not hesitate to contact the LMS Team in the Coulter Faculty Commons for assistance, 227-293