Comparison of Synchronous and Asynchronous Technologies: BlackBoard and Elluniate Live

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As online learning and training continues to grow, there are many companies that have developed products to support asynchronous and synchronous learning within the online world. This paper is a comparison of two of these products: BlackBoard, an asynchronous technology, and Elluminate Live, a synchronous technology. In the scope of this analysis, the general aspects, the technological and pedagogical views, and the strengths and weaknesses of these two products will be examined.

General Aspects of the Systems

BlackBoard, an asynchronous technology, is considered to be a Learning Management System (LMS). A web-based LMS, like BlackBoard, is a collection of tools within one application that allows the instructor to select what tools to use to enhance the online learning environment. Examples of some of these tools include mail, discussion board, announcements, etc. The idea behind asynchronous technologies is that it allows users to interact with one another at different times. For example, users can log into the technology and utilize the discussion board to interact. Users would continue to log in throughout the assigned period (as outlined by the instructor) and post and respond to other users. The key is that no set meeting time is required while collaboration can exist between the students and instructor.

Elluminate Live, is an example of a synchronous technology. Synchronous technologies require that users are logged in at the same time to the application. The instructor then utilizes a set of tools in real time with the participants. Typical synchronous tools include web white-boarding that uses audio and/or video conferencing, chat, and file sharing.

Asynchronous Technological View

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Works Cited

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Fahy, J. P. (2004). Media characteristics and online learning technology. In T. Anderson. & F. Elloumi (Eds.), Theory and practice of online learning (pp. 137-171). Retrieved February 6, 2011 from

McGreal R. & Elliott, M. (2004). Technologies of online learning (e-Learning). In T. Anderson. & F. Elloumi (Eds.), Theory and practice of online learning (pp. 115-135). Retrieved February 6, 2011 from

Moore, M., & Kearsley, G. (2005). Distance Education. Belmont: Wadsworth Pub. Co.
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