There are a few significant changes coming in the next updated version, which (for those version watchers out there) will be Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 8. For details on all those changes you may want to refer to a previous blog post from back in February. However, there are a few less technical and more visual changes coming that merit special attention. This time around let’s look at the highly visible Course Themes.
The controls for the Course Themes may be found on the Quick Setup Guide I previously wrote about, should you know what you want the course to look like before you have populated it with content.
That’s all well and good, but personally I am not that organized. I can never decide on what I want to use as a look until well after I’ve started populating my course site with content. Fortunately it is also simple to switch between course themes at any time. In the upper right corner of any course you are an instructor of, right next to the switch that toggles Edit Mode on and off, there is now a “paint swatch” icon, which will open up a menu listing all the possibilities of Course Themes. Simply click on one of the theme names from that menu and your course will immediately switch to a glorious new appearance.
Okay, so some of the course themes look like they were designed by the same paint-by-number kit used when Microsoft produced their PowerPoint themes. However, it is at least now simple to pick differing appearances for your courses, which should aid in forgetting which course site you are looking at when working along in Blackboard.
For an example of how Course Themes work in reality, take a look at this brief screen recording, demonstrating how easy it is to bounce between the various course themes available within the new Blackboard. Feel free to hop onto the BbSandbox environment now and try it out, or just wait until we upgrade to the newest version of Blackboard on our production environment starting June 4th, 2012.