Users of Blackboard Collaborate
OK, of course it has been exciting to announce the contest winners, but hard to tell so many of you that you didn't win. So, if you are not one of the contest winners, I do have some ways that I hope will help you to still do all or most of what you want to do!
First is my host-your-own-Webinar program. The URL shortcut to that program is at http://www.publicwebinars.com. Look at the announcement tab for instructions. Basically, as long as your event is open to the public, educational, free to attend, and non-commercial, you can sign up on the calendar to use an unlimited Collaborate room. Many of the proposals seemed like this would be a great solution for you!
Second, Blackboard's CourseSites program (http://www.coursesites.com) is a free program to use Blackboard's learning management system for up to five courses. Well, included in that program is a 50-seat Collaborate room that can be used for private meetings, and is unlimited in time (not restricted to one year). The only thing you can't do in that version of Collaborate is to record, but for those of you who were looking as part of your proposals to hold organizational or private meetings, I'm hoping this will do the trick!
Third, which you likely know, but which is worth mentioning again, is the vRoom program. By joining LearnCentral.org, you gain access to a free, three-person Collaborate room for quick and easy small meetings (also without the record function).
You can certainly combine the first and the second solutions to give you both public and private access to Collaborate for larger meetings. AND if that doesn't meet all your needs, I'd like you to reach out to me and let's get creative. :) The one thing I unfortunately can't do is to help you to learn to use Collaborate or CourseSites, but if you're willing to be proactive and a self-starter, I can try to get you the resources you need. I'm also opening up the forum capability on the site so you can help each other as you move forward.
I can't decide if I'm the wrong guy to run a contest like this, or if I'm maybe the best one--I wanted everyone to win! There were absolutely so many great proposals. Here's to each of you and making a difference in the world!
Social Learning Consultant