UNI eLearning Suite

What’s with the new look in Blackboard Learn courses?

With the December 21, 2017 Blackboard Learn upgrade comes several new features and enhancements. Perhaps most noticeable is a new look and feel using responsive design for greater accessibility and a more modern user interface (theme) using color, fonts, and spacing for greater consistency between Blackboard Learn (computer version) and the Blackboard mobile app. While colors in your course will look different, functions and placement of features will remain unchanged. You and your students will be able to access your course materials using a similar interface whether you're at a desk or on the go.

Most importantly, this new theme follows standard principles and accessibility guidelines for structure, color contrast, and navigation (WCAG 2.0). The new interface offers greater accessibility to a diverse range of users, including those who use assistive technologies such as screen readers or magnifiers, making navigation more friendly. This means a better learning experience for ALL users!

If you have used Blackboard Learn’s Course Theme feature in the past, these are no longer available. Changing the course theme changed the background in your course display and set corresponding colors for the menu, buttons, controls, and so on. While you can no longer set a different course theme for each course, you can customize each with a different banner image if you wish. The banner appears at the top of the course's entry point page. We would be glad to help you add a banner to your spring courses if desired. Should you have any questions or wish to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact our instructional design team.

If you would like to try to add a banner on your own, please note Blackboard’s recommended image size is approximately 480 by 80 pixels. This allows for appropriate display of the banner when users resize browser windows and use monitors of varying sizes and resolutions on various devices. If your banner exceeds the width of the page, it may at times be cropped. After you upload a banner, you should view it under various conditions to be sure that it appears as intended and properly adjusts size in  each situation.

To upload a banner:

  1. Go to the course’s Control Panel.
  2. Choose Customization.
  3. Select Teaching Style.
  4. Scroll to Select Banner.
  5. Click the Browse My Computer button.
  6. Locate your image file (.png, .jpg, or .gif) and click Open.
  7. Type a brief description of the image in the Banner Alt Text box. This is very important for accessibility for those who use screen readers.
  8. Click Submit.
  9. View your banner under various conditions to insure it displays properly. For example, expand and collapse the course menu, change the size of your browser window, view on several monitors with different screen resolutions, and view on smaller mobile devices.

If you would like to learn how to create a banner using PowerPoint, please follow the link for instructions.

For additional information on other improvements to Blackboard at UNI coming with the December 21 upgrade, please visit our UNI eLearning Suite - New Features and Enhancements page.