Communication Tools

Communication is an essential component to being successful in online courses. Instructors might use the following Blackboard communication tools to keep you informed or for you to use when working in courses. When using communication tools in your courses, be sure to follow the 7 essential rules of netiquette.


Each course has an Announcements page, where your instructor might post weekly announcements or class related news. Your instructor may choose to send these announcements to your MATC Gmail account. Check your Gmail's Spam folder if you do not see them in your inbox.

Example Announcement

Course Email Tool

Some instructors make an E-mail Tool available in their courses for students to send e-mail messages to instructor, teaching assistant, or classmate MATC Gmail inboxes. Check your Gmail's Spam folder if you do not see course e-mails in your inbox.

Course Messages Tool

Some instructors make a Course Messages Tool available in their courses as an alternative to e-mail. Students use this tool to send messages to a recipient's private Blackboard messages inbox within the course. Messages sent with this tool can only be viewed within the Blackboard course.

Discussion Board Tool

A discussion board is a communication tool that allows students and the instructor to discuss and exchange ideas. Your instructor may require you to contribute to discussion board forums by writing original messages and replying to classmates. See our Guide to Participating in a Discussion Board to learn more about this tool.

Discussion Board Example

Discussion Board Example

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for Online Meetings

Some instructors may provide you with a link to join an online meeting that uses a combination of chat, video-calling, and screen-sharing communication tools. To access a Collaborate Ultra session through a provided link, you will need speakers and a webcam so that meeting participants can see and hear you. Please review the video and the following resources to learn more about this tool.

Other Tools Outside Blackboard

Instructors might require students to use other real-time communication tools for online meetings, such as chatrooms, video-calls, and web conferencing software. Your instructor will tell you if these free tools will be used to support collaborative learning activities or to provide online office hours.

Google Apps for Education

Skype Calls