The Digital Learning team worked on a major project last year with our Faculty of Humanities to implement new Blackboard course templates. This introduced new course menus, course menu colour schemes, and course redesign.
Every Blackboard module has a course menu. This is one of the first aspects of a course the members will see and interact with. It forms the foundation of the structure and pathways to navigate course materials.
Consistent feedback from the Blackboard and VLE Awards shows that students value organised and structured Blackboard courses, making an effective course menu a cornerstone in achieving this outcome.
The result of intensive collaboration, the new course menu takes student feedback from the Blackboard and VLE awards and best practice in learning design resulting in a clearer, more organised menu with further links to library and support resources. This ensures a consistent experience for all Humanities Blackboard courses. Instructors may still add further customisations to suit their needs.
Within the Faculty of Humanities are two schools and eight departments. An innovative request from the faculty for the templates was for each school and department to have its own colour scheme used for the menu. This colour scheme should both use the University brand and follow best practice accessibility guidelines to ensure sufficient contrast between the text and background colours.
To aid the rollover process and ensure that existing courses align to the new templates, James Allen and Dimitra Makrozonari worked on redesigning many courses to work well with this new structure. This made certain that the benefits of the new templates would be realised as quickly as possible.
Matthew Deeprose developed the technical design implementation of the project and at the inaugural Blackboard European User-group meeting gave a presentation about it to more than 200 peers. Why not watch the recording of the presentation to find out more?