USING CONNECTIVE TECHNOLOGIES TO ENHANCE ONLINE TEACHING AT COLLEGE DEGREES. A TRIAL INVOLVING BLACKBOARD COLLABORATE ©

Introduction:
Teaching has drifted lately to an online form due to the circumstances created by COVID-19. Health measures recently implemented recommend students not to attend class physically, so there is an obvious requirement to develop new strategies to keep their training and education. These strategies involve, for instance, the possibility to develop a “virtual classroom” environment, and Blackboard Collaborate © is a fitting example of this. Blackboard Collaborate is, as defined by the developers, “a simple and reliable virtual classroom solution to power your online teaching and web conferencing needs”.

Objective:
The aim of this study was virtually deliver the remaining content in several theoretical classes of the degree in Physical Therapy at Universitat de Valencia using Blackboard Collaborate, and assess student’s satisfaction and possible problems that could occur.

Materials and method:
Virtual classes were given for several subjects in the second year of the degree of Physical Therapy in Valencia using Blackboard Collaborate, all of them once the alert status was established.

Professor’s created a videoconference resource through the University’s virtual environment “Aula Virtual”, were students had to log in using their personal user and password. Classes were created 15 minutes prior to the regular schedule they were supposed to take place before COVID-19, and students logged in and were asked to turn off their microphones in order to avoid unnecessary noise.

During the hour the class was supposed to be given, professors used both video and shared-screen function to instruct students. An online chat was enabled for students to ask any questions or make any suggestions, and professors had the chance to create immediate questionnaires for students to fill out using one of the many tools the app provided.

Results:
Any observations, problems or inquiries were given during the virtual classes, and the theoretical program was fulfilled correctly. Students were asked, through a questionnaire, for both their personal satisfaction with this new adaptation and if they believed this new method could affect their studying. No students complained and there was an overall satisfaction with this new virtual classroom proposal.