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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.

Messages Tool

Students use the Messages tool to send private messages to a recipient's messages inbox in Blackboard. You can opt into recieving email notifications when you recieve messages, but you must log into Blackboard to read messages.

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.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for Online Meetings

Collaborate Ultra is a tool that some instructors use to conduct live online meetings with chat, video streaming, and screen-sharing tools. To access a Collaborate Ultra session that your instructor provides, you will need speakers and a webcam so that meeting participants can see and hear you.

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.

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