Blackboard Theme and Course Appearance Updates

On August 1, ECU will upgrade to the new Blackboard Learn theme (color scheme). With this change, users will see a new color scheme, which is accessible but limits color changes. The new theme presents a sleeker, modern look and promotes consistency and familiarity as students go from course to course. Upgrading to this theme supports ECU’s adoption of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA and improves the functionality of Blackboard when accessed on mobile devices and tablets.

With this upgrade, all current themes will be retired as they no longer adequately meet Accessibility Standards and are not Mobile and Tablet Friendly.

Faculty Features

Along with students, faculty will experience improved functionality when working in courses on mobile devices and tablets. A Course Availability icon will also appear next to the Student Preview icon allowing you to quickly determine if a course is available to students.

Grade Center Fix

Currently, column names are duplicating into each cell of the column. Upgrading to the new theme resolves this issue.

New Blackboard Theme Example

New Blackboard Theme Example

Accessibility Standards

The new Blackboard theme follows principles and accessibility guidelines for structure, color contrast and navigation. These features provide students and faculty, with visual and mobility impairments, a much-improved Blackboard experience.

  • Fully visible keyboard focus has been built into this theme as well as best practices for the definition of buttons and menus used for navigation, which assists users who navigate using a keyboard.
  • ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) landmarks have been added to the course menu and content area to define page structure and assist users with screen readers in navigating page elements.

Mobile & Tablet Friendly (Responsive)

With the new Blackboard theme, when users log in to Blackboard on a mobile device or tablet, elements such as the course menu and control panel change position, so they remain visible. Modules and tool tiles stack so the user still has access to them at their fingertips. These and other responsive design elements improve the user experience for everyone accessing Blackboard on a mobile device or tablet.

Research shows a growing trend in students using mobile devices and tablets to complete some or all course work. According to a study cited in the 2017 New Media Consortium Horizon Report, of 2,600 students surveyed, nearly two-thirds reported using their smartphones to study.

Manage Courses Using the Blackboard Instructor App

While the new blackboard theme is more mobile and tablet friendly, instructors are encouraged to download and use the Blackboard Instructor Mobile App to manage courses.

Blackboard Instructor allows instructors to:

  • Manage courses anytime, anywhere
  • Preview content & assessments
  • Create & reply to discussions
  • Review, create & send out announcements
  • Host & join Blackboard Collaborate sessions

Additional messages will follow to remind you of this upcoming change.