u!magine

Blackboard Improve

Description

The Learning Management System has become so central to the delivery of learning at teaching that improving the user experience of the system can have a huge impact on the quality and opportunity students have to study.

Aims

This project focused on improving the visual and aesthetic components of the LMS to provide a more modern and cohesive experience while also improving access and accessibility to the system. This will be achieved through a mix of visual design changes and implementation of best practices in modern web design. As a by-product of this work will be the development of a comprehensive style guide for learning materials at CSU that can be repurposed and reused across multiple platforms and systems.

Approach

The project started off with an initial investigation and implementation of templates to assist the design and aesthetics of subject landing pages in the LMS. These ‘hacks’ were fine for the short term but were not a sustainable long term solution. The uImagine team engaged with Blackboard staff to develop a project to improve the User Interface of Blackboard. Together a number of design workshops were held and a plan was developed. Key areas that came out of the workshops around readability and navigation of content were set as focus points, as was updating the system to make sure it matched the current web system at CSU. There was also considerable effort placed on the content within the system itself and a comprehensive list of features and styles were developed to reflect common pedagogical practices. The majority of the design work was completed within the core reference group that represented technical, learning design and teaching staff.

Outcomes

The new theme rolled out at the start of 2018 for all staff and students. One of the key resources to come out of this is the development of the Learning Materials Guide that provides a comprehensive examples and technical information about the new theme components and design philosophy.