Blackboard: Wimba

What is Wimba?

Wimba is software that works with blackboard to allow you and your students to communicate by voice in several ways. Wimba provides a suite of tools of communication tools from threaded discussions to real time chats that utilize voice recordings as opposed to text-based communication. In order to use Wimba, students will need to have a computer equipped with a microphone. Most current laptop computers have a built-in microphone, and add-on microphones for desktop computers are inexpensive.

Wimba is a suite containing following applications:

  • Voice Email enables the student to send a voice email to any student enrolled in the same course.
  • Voice Boards allows students to post voice messages to a message board that other students can listen and reply to.Student can also send a text message to accompany the voice recording.
  • Voice Authoring allows the instructor to add a voice recording to any content area of the blackboard site.
  • Voice Direct functions like a text chat room allowing real time chatting between class members. However, it allows only one class member to speak while the rest of the class listens.
  • Podcaster allows you to create a podcast, or internet radio show, that is automatically downloaded to users iPods

System requirements

A computer with sound card, speakers and a microphone. A variety of microphones should work. Best results will be achieved using a headset, though even built in microphones on laptops should work fine.

Windows users:

  • Windows 98 or later
  • Netscape 6.1 or later
  • Internet Explorer 5.0 (with Java VM 5.0) or later
  • Mozilla Firefox 1.0 or later (not officially supported but works)
  • Sun's Java VM plugin 1.3.1 or later. Download it here
  • See our Video Tutorial (File Currently Not Available) on how to install the Java Virtual Machine

Apple Users

  • Mac OS X.1 or later (no OS 9 support for now)
  • Netscape 4.01 or later
  • Internet Explorer 4.5 or later
  • Safari (not officially supported, but works)
  • Mozilla Firefox 1.0 or later (not officially supported, but works)
  • 300MHz G3 processor or better

How can I remove Wimba from my site?

By default, Wimba is available to any Blackboard course site. Instructors can easily remove any or all Wimba components from the site through the Control Panel.
Within the control panel click the link for MANAGE TOOLS within the COURSE OPTIONS section. Then click ENABLE EXTENSION TOOLS. Check or uncheck the appropriate boxes to enable/disable different tools, or make them available to guests. Disabled tools may be re-enabled at a later time.

Will Wimba messages be archived along with rest of the course materials?

No. Although Wimba functionality is accessed through Blackboard, it is technically a completely separate program, run from a different server. Wimba files created through Blackboard are NOT stored on Blackboard, and will not be archived with other course materials. Wimba files will remain only for as long as the Blackboard site is on-line. Current policies have Blackboard sites remaining active for 14 months from the start of the relevant academic term.

Where can I get further support?

Support is available twenty-four hours a day at the official Wimba Support Center. Training and documentation are also available at Wimba's Voice Tools Client Resources.