Slightly open laptop showing a coloured glow on the keyboard.

The Blackboard European Teaching and Learning Conference was online this year. 871 people attended from 276 educational institutions in 32 countries. Being online allowed attendees from further afield to attend such as the US, Singapore, and Lebanon. The conference ran across 3 weeks with 3 hours of events about every other day.

A partially opened laptop in a dark room, showing bright screen colours.
Image by Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay

Presenters had to record a full version of their presentation as a video, and then to present a ten-minute preview or “trailer” during the online session.

Bluffer’s Guide to Blackboard Theme Accessibility

Matthew Deeprose gave two presentations as part of the Blackboard European Teaching and Learning Conference. On Global Accessibility Awareness Day on 21 May he presented The Bluffer’s Guide to Blackboard Theme Accessibility. This presentation put the recent web accessibility regulations in a global context, explaining the interplay between the UK/EU law, the European Standards, and the W3C web accessibility guidelines. This was followed by a deep dive into lessons learned from customising the Blackboard responsive theme while aligning it with our institutional brand and still complying with accessibility regulations. The presentation was a follow up to the presentation he gave with Sam Cole and Ester Muñoz from elearning media at last year’s Blackboard conference.

Better Blackboard Help: Where your users need it, when they want it

On May 28 Matthew delivered another presentation “Better Blackboard Help: Where your users need it, when they want it”. This covered the method developed to provide inline contextual help for users within the Blackboard interface that provided assistance and directed them to relevant pages on our website. “elearn” is well known in the Blackboard community, with 1399 academic institutions accessing it worldwide, including 368 in the UK. The implementation of this “Better Blackboard Help” resulted in an almost 2000% increase in engagement with resources on by users in the first six weeks of semester 1 2019, and has proven very useful for assisting the move to online delivery in the past months.

Matthew’s presentations were very well received, and several Universities have already reached out to share that they plan to replicate the techniques shown in the presentations in their own Blackboard environments.

Blackboard European Teaching and Learning Conference

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