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The new graphical user interface

From: Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors

Video: The new graphical user interface

In these movies, we're going to take a quick look at what's new and what's different in Blackboard 9.1 service packs 8 and 9, or as we in the Blackboard community refer to them SP8 and SP9. These movies are intended for instructors who already know a little bit about Blackboard. If you're completely new to Blackboard, if you've never used it before, my recommendation is for you to watch these movies and then hop on over to the Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors movies at lynda.com to fill in the gaps, but for those of you, who have used Blackboard before, let's take a look at SP8 and SP9.

The new graphical user interface

In these movies, we're going to take a quick look at what's new and what's different in Blackboard 9.1 service packs 8 and 9, or as we in the Blackboard community refer to them SP8 and SP9. These movies are intended for instructors who already know a little bit about Blackboard. If you're completely new to Blackboard, if you've never used it before, my recommendation is for you to watch these movies and then hop on over to the Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors movies at lynda.com to fill in the gaps, but for those of you, who have used Blackboard before, let's take a look at SP8 and SP9.

The first thing you're going to notice that some institutions is that nothing has really changed. You've got the same colors, the same tabs, same modules; there is no apparent difference. However, if your institution has chosen to use Blackboard's new BB Learn 2012 theme, everything is going to look different, but not really. Service Pack 8 and 9's new look and feel looks a little jarring at first, but trust me when I say that this is still the same Blackboard you've used before, just with a softer background and more neutral colors.

In fact, let's take a quick look at what hasn't changed. When you log into Blackboard at the top of each page is still a series of tabs and sub tabs. The tabs are just now a little less obvious and they may actually be in a different location on the screen. The logo in the top left-hand corner still takes you back to the My Institution tab, my places, home, help and Logout they're still there. They're moved farther over to the right, and now only show as icons. You can still get into your courses the same way, you just click on the name of your course.

So what has changed? Well, in my mind, there are three huge cosmetic changes in SP8 and SP9's graphical user interface, and a handful of smaller ones. The first huge change is the most obvious, there is a new color scheme using Web 2.0 Colors, but only if your institution has adopted it. By the way if you have Internet Explorer 7 or 8 you really do need to update your web browser right now. I've got Internet Explorer 9 here. Why do you need updated Internet Explorer version 9 or later? Blackboard's new look and feel uses something called cascading style sheets or CSS, and simply put, CSS just plain works better in IE 9 and later.

Let me get into a course here and I want to show you the second major cosmetic change. Remember those infamous downward facing chevrons that were scattered throughout earlier versions of Blackboard? I've got an old version here and these are the buttons I'm talking about. Let me get back into the new version here. Where did all those downward facing chevrons go? Well, they're still there. They are just hidden. If you hold your mouse over an item or a button the downward facing chevron reappears. This new hide it until you need it design philosophy is embedded throughout the entire new theme of Service Pack 8 and 9.

So action links, drag and drop, minimized downward facing chevron; they're all hidden until you hold your mouse over them and this is a potentially confusing change. Just remember, if your campus is using the new look and feel in Service Pack 8 or 9, you need to hold your mouse over something first before you'll see any tools or options to modify that thing. The third major cosmetic change is potentially frustrating especially for your students. Remember, how you used to be able to hide your course menu by clicking on that greater than or less then sign button? In fact, I'll do it over here in an older version of Blackboard, so I just hid the course menu. There it's back.

Well, in Service Pack 8 and 9 you can still hide your course menu, but the new hide it until you need it design philosophy means that the button doesn't show up until you hold your mouse over it. So I'm going to hold my mouse over, there it goes, and there's no button now saying get it back. I may see a colored bar in the left-hand side of the page, and if I hold my mouse over the button then appears, but it's actually going to be pretty easy for you and your students to accidentally hide your course menu and then not understand what's going on.

In Service Pack 8, if you hide the course menu like I've done here, it stays hidden forever until you manually unhide it and that's not good. Fortunately, Service Pack 9 fixes that. The menu only stays collapsed for the duration of your user session and on a per course basis, so if you close your browser, log back in the menu is going to magically reappear or you can just click on Show Course Menu. The hidden course menu problems that you and your students had in earlier versions of Blackboard can still potentially pop up in Service Pack 8 and Service Pack 9.

Remember that a great way to diagnose hidden course menu problems with your students is to manually create a hyperlink on your course menu to some important resource like lynda.com or your institution's code of ethics. When your students tell you that they cannot access your course or that they can only open new materials, they are never going to say I can't see my course menu, just ask, do you see a link to whatever that resource is? If they don't, you automatically know the problem and how to fix it. Those are the three major cosmetic changes. There's a new look and feel action links, drag and drop, minimized downward facing chevrons; they're all hidden until you mouse over them and Hide Course Menu no longer has a button until you hold your mouse over it.

What else has changed? Really, cosmetically Service Pack 8 and 9 are just less cluttered. The Tools module has common system tools, it always has, although the icons are now gone and there's a little more space in between each tool. In other words, this is just Blackboard with a different look and feel, a little bit cleaner, a little more professional or at least little more like iGoogle, but it's different and it may take a while for you to get used to that. In the following movies in this chapter, we're going to take a quick look at some of the new tools, features, and fixes you can find in Service Pack 8 and 9.

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This video is part of

Image for Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors
Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors

84 video lessons · 12175 viewers

Patrick Crispen
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 7m 51s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the exercise files
      35s
    3. What is an LMS?
      4m 15s
    4. Understanding Blackboard 9.X versions and campus customizations
      1m 52s
  2. 28m 38s
    1. The new graphical user interface
      5m 53s
    2. Exploring course-to-course navigation
      2m 20s
    3. Using course themes
      2m 15s
    4. Looking at course structures and the Quick Setup Guide
      6m 56s
    5. Using new and improved assessments
      7m 24s
    6. Looking at temporary obstacles and workarounds
      2m 36s
    7. Finding more Blackboard information
      1m 14s
  3. 26m 27s
    1. Logging in to Blackboard
      2m 9s
    2. Accessing your course and uploading files
      5m 40s
    3. Creating announcements
      4m 15s
    4. Sending emails
      4m 57s
    5. Viewing your roster
      3m 50s
    6. Downloading the Grade Center
      3m 17s
    7. Setting course availability
      2m 19s
  4. 14m 9s
    1. Understanding the tabs and sub-tabs
      5m 51s
    2. Working with modules
      3m 25s
    3. Personalizing the My Institution page
      1m 40s
    4. Editing the My Courses module
      3m 13s
  5. 12m 38s
    1. Understanding the course layout and breadcrumbs
      5m 13s
    2. Toggling the Edit Mode
      1m 26s
    3. Hiding and unhiding the Course Menu
      1m 9s
    4. Touring the Control Panel
      4m 50s
  6. 23m 53s
    1. Renaming, reorganizing, and deleting
      4m 58s
    2. Adding new menu items
      6m 4s
    3. Managing tools
      3m 40s
    4. Customizing a course
      9m 11s
  7. 16m 17s
    1. Viewing the course roster
      4m 55s
    2. Enrolling students and others
      7m 31s
    3. Why not to unenroll
      3m 51s
  8. 53m 34s
    1. Organizing content into folders
      5m 24s
    2. Uploading files
      11m 49s
    3. Using the Text Editor
      6m 19s
    4. Inserting a multimedia file
      9m 56s
    5. Linking to an external web resource
      4m 25s
    6. Linking to an internal course file
      6m 3s
    7. Making content available to students
      2m 2s
    8. Using the Content Collection
      3m 35s
    9. Copying and moving content
      4m 1s
  9. 24m 24s
    1. Exploring how students view course grades
      4m 1s
    2. Optimizing the Grade Center
      1m 36s
    3. Changing the default letter grading schema
      4m 24s
    4. Creating score columns
      6m 37s
    5. Entering grades
      5m 19s
    6. Viewing grade histories
      2m 27s
  10. 56m 19s
    1. Creating text columns
      3m 1s
    2. Managing columns
      4m 52s
    3. Creating grading periods
      5m 34s
    4. Creating categories
      5m 42s
    5. Dropping scores in the Grade Center
      9m 3s
    6. Weighting grades in the Grade Center
      6m 4s
    7. Downloading grades and editing in Excel
      7m 51s
    8. Uploading student grades
      4m 29s
    9. Changing grades
      3m 37s
    10. Changing a final grade
      6m 6s
  11. 16m 26s
    1. Creating assignments
      6m 22s
    2. Downloading assignments
      5m 16s
    3. Grading assignments
      4m 48s
  12. 37m 51s
    1. Best practices for using online assessments
      4m 21s
    2. Creating an empty test and choosing the Question Settings
      5m 29s
    3. Creating multiple choice questions
      7m 57s
    4. Creating true/false questions
      2m 48s
    5. Creating essay or short answer questions
      4m 5s
    6. Creating fill-in-the-blanks questions
      3m 39s
    7. Creating opinion scale/Likert questions
      5m 51s
    8. Reusing questions
      3m 41s
  13. 30m 28s
    1. Setting test availability and deploying the test
      13m 13s
    2. Assisting students with common testing obstacles
      8m 16s
    3. Viewing the student results
      6m 40s
    4. Reviewing the differences between surveys and tests
      2m 19s
  14. 16m 43s
    1. Sending emails
      6m 20s
    2. Creating announcements
      7m 14s
    3. Using the Course Calendar
      3m 9s
  15. 33m 15s
    1. Creating discussion forums and threads
      13m 1s
    2. Facilitating discussions
      9m 32s
    3. Moderating forums
      3m 36s
    4. Rating posts
      2m 47s
    5. Grading discussions
      4m 19s
  16. 9m 2s
    1. Creating groups
      7m 57s
    2. Adding members to groups
      1m 5s
  17. 4m 32s
    1. Next steps
      4m 32s

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