Engaging students through collaborative learning tools

Looking for ideas on how to engage new students this academic session? Struggling to get students to work effectively on projects outside the classroom, especially those who may be more introverted in groups?

Perhaps one of a range of available collaborative learning tools (CLTs) could be the answer? CLTs lend themselves equally well to courses delivered online, or face to face.

photo of suzanne ehrlichDr Suzanne Ehrlich of the University of Cincinnati has experience of using a range of tools to great effect in her online courses for sign language interpreters.

In a guest webinar for BRITE, Dr Ehrlich discussed what online collaboration actually means – and the challenges involved. She also provided demonstrations of some of her favourite CLTs (VoiceThread, Glogster, Google Community and Dipity) and talked about how to integrate these tools to coursework to promote critical thinking and co-creation of knowledge.

A recording of ‘Engaging students through collaborative learning tools’ is free to view any time in our webinar archive, or skip to the slides here, which contain lots of links to useful resources.

BRITE webinars and articles: guide for guest contributors

At BRITE we are passionate about sharing innovative ideas and experiences which relate to inclusive practice in education. We welcome contributions from practitioners who would like to engage with our community of professionals. We offer two ways to do this:

  • deliver a guest presentation in our popular free webinar series, and/or
  • write an article on a relevant topic for The BRITE Blog


Reach a wider audience. BRITE webinars and blog articles are publicised online and in the BRITE eNews which currently has over 600 subscribers. This number includes college staff development officers; teaching, lecturing and support staff in colleges and universities; and a range of professionals in the public and voluntary sector.

Experiment with web-based presentations – with full support from experienced facilitators. We take care of all the technical aspects of webinars, from uploading your slides and video clips, to managing incoming questions from attendees. If you’d rather not deliver a live webinar, we can record you in advance. We’ll facilitate the webinar remotely, or you can visit our office if you’d prefer.

Access a recording of your online presentation anytime, anywhere. All BRITE webinars are added to a public archive, to which you can direct anyone interested in your work. Many people choose to view previously recorded webinars ‘on demand’ at a time that suits them.

Next steps

Webinars are usually 30 minutes long. Access our webinar archive to get a feel for the medium and the kind of topics covered.

Blog articles should be around 500 words and be accompanied by at least one photograph or image (jpg please). Word documents or html are preferred.

Send us a brief outline of your subject, so that we can ensure it fits with our webinar programme and/or blog content. Then we’ll work with you to identify a date for broadcast or publication.

We’ll meet you online in advance to give you an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the webinar environment (the industry-leading eLearning platform, Adobe Connect) and to get some top tips from one of our experienced facilitators.

Please submit initial enquiries to the Resources and Communications Co-ordinator at kmote@brite.ac.uk.

We’re currently planning the webinar programme for 2014, so if you are interested in guesting, please contact us as soon as possible. Blog articles may be submitted anytime throughout the year.

Emerging from merger: how to build on success

Do you work in one of the many institutions going through, or about to go through, a merger with neighbouring colleges?

Whether you’re faced with a full merger, forming a federation, partnership, or a closer working relationship, check out the recording of our recent webinar which looks at how to emerge from the process not only unscathed, but improved.

During the 1 hour session BRITE’s Director, Alison Cox, presents a positive, solution-focused approach to what can sometimes feel like a daunting prospect.

If you’d like to know more about how BRITE can help you directly to successfully “emerge from merger” – for instance, by providing our popular 2 day, in-house staff development sessions – please contact us.

Get live, expert, assistive technology news and advice without leaving your desk!

Want to update your assistive technology knowledge and speak to experienced trainers, but finding that getting time away from work is an issue?

Catch up with the latest assistive technology news and pose questions to the BRITE team at our monthly online drop-in sessions.

These informal sessions take place at lunchtime on the last Friday of the month during term time.

Everyone with an interest is welcome, from beginners to more experienced practitioners. Attendance is free and, as it is online, numbers are unlimited.

For a flavour of what to expect, check out this recording of a previous AT drop-in which looked at phone accessibility, mobile Braille solutions, and news from the world’s largest assistive technology event, CSUN. Other sessions have covered topics as diverse as JAWS screenreading software and tips for getting the most from iPads in an educational setting.

Join us at the next session on Friday 27th April by visiting http://brite.adobeconnect.com/at_webinar from 12.15 on the day. During this month’s webinar, we will be discussing:

  • Digital recording
  • Methods of recording
  • Considerations
  • Tips and tricks
  • Latest assistive technology news

Please ensure that you have an internet connection, headset, and a recent version of Flash installed.

This webpage will enable you to check that your computer is ready to access the learning environment.

Drop-in sessions are facilitated by Adobe Connect Pro, the same high-quality platform that we use to deliver the virtual versions of our accredited courses on facilitating inclusive learning strategies, needs assessment practice, and skills for educational support workers. Find out more about our courses on our website.