Are you missing face-to-face communication?
During my time as a virtual mentor, not being able to communicate face to face has been one of the key concerns that I have heard students express with online learning. Though we can’t recreate actual face to face communication, we can come pretty close to it if we try. There are a number of ways instructors have tried to tackle this: some will hold office hours via Zoom, others share video lectures.
While those options are course specific, there is also something we can all do to add a face to face aspect to our discussions in Blackboard: adding an avatar or personal portrait to My Edu Profile. Apart from making our discussion board more interesting by adding little splashes of color, having a face to put to a name can help us relate better to each other as individuals. Once you add a picture to your My Edu profile you will be able to see the pictures your classmates have chosen to share.
You can add a picture to your profile by going to the Quick Links Menu (upper right) and selecting View Profile (the icon with a grey silhouette).
Select Settings & Privacy to select a privacy setting you are comfortable with (My Institution, for instance, will allow anyone within WSU to see your profile). Choose Change Picture to select your picture and Save.
You might need to prep your photo by cropping it to about 250 by 295 pixels, but there are no specific guidelines for the format. Just make sure it is something you wish to share and that can help us bridge the visual gap!
For more information, check out this video from Blackboard.
If you want to go beyond just sharing your photo, you can also personalize your profile by adding a selection of tiles to your cover page for things like your graduation year, your hobbies, interests, your home town, and places you would like to visit. You can also change how your name is displayed and add information about your major or occupation. Once you have your profile completed, there is also the option to follow your classmates to create a learning network. As you can see below, my profile only has a photo and my major as I just wanted to add color to the discussion board. I just wanted to let you know that there are more options available.
Looking forward to seeing your faces in Blackboard,
One of your Virtual Mentors,