There are a lot of ways that Blackboard Collaborate Ultra can be a useful tool for learning (and one that’s often underutilized given the positive research on its use) but it can be especially helpful for those teaching foreign language classes, online or off. Here, we’ll discuss some of the ways that Collaborate Ultra can work for you and make it easier to teach, test, and work with students at all levels of language mastery.

Use Collaborate Ultra for off-campus oral exams. If you’re teaching an online course or need to meet with students on-the-fly for oral exams (for your convenience or theirs), Collaborate Ultra is one of your best options. It’s easy to set up sessions to meet with students (you can simply email them a link) and then chat back and forth. You can also share presentations and handouts, should those need to be part of the exam.

Host student study groups. The best way to learn a language is through real-world practice. This can be hard to achieve if you’re teaching a course online or if you have students who can make it to after-class meetups on campus. Collaborate Ultra is a way to offer students the chance to sharpen their language skills by practicing or studying together in a group session. You can invite the whole class or have groups of students assigned to different time blocks.

Invite speakers into your class. One of the ways that you can get students engaged in language learning is to have guests in your course. These guests can answer student questions, share their experiences, knowledge of culture–whatever would be relevant to your course. Even better, through Collaborate, they can visit your class without having to physically travel there. This is one way that Collaborate can be a useful tool regardless of whether or not your course is on campus or online.

Record sessions for later. Sometimes you just have a really great session with students. With Collaborate, you can record these sessions and use them to improve future courses and/or share them with students as study materials or for those who couldn’t attend. As we mentioned above, if you have a guest speaker this can be a great way to preserve that interaction.

Pre-load activities into breakout rooms. Did you know that you can set up breakout rooms for your courses ahead of time, including uploading and preparing any documents students might need to complete an activity? These breakout rooms can be a great way to get students working together on a language-based project in smaller groups. When they’re done, they can move back into the main room and present their project to the larger class. Learn how to set them up.

Have you used Collaborate in other ways in your language course? Share your ideas with us!