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Create District-Wide Designs for Schools

Districts have several options when designing their district website and the websites for the schools within the district. Districts can easily create district-wide default designs, providing a consistent look and feel throughout the district, and these designs can be quickly modified to apply each school’s own colors and logos. The district design can be “locked down” by removing schools’ permission to edit their designs, or left open to allow schools to modify them. District-wide default designs can contain a district controlled area, such as a district message box, where only the district can change its content on all school pages at once. The district can make their own district homepage that shares the same look and feel as the schools, or it can make a distinct district homepage and create a different default design for the schools.

How to Create a District All Pages Design

To create consistency throughout your district, you can create an All Pages design which will be used by all the schools in your district. As a result, districts can set properties such as font styles and sizes, colors, menus, and headers across all schools in a single design.

  1. From the Tools menu on your district homepage, select Manage Design.
  2. Click the Default Designs tab.
  3. Click the New button to create a new design.
  4. Type the name for the design in the Name for new design box.

    Blackboard recommends calling the design, All Pages.

    Leave the Base on template box blank. (If the design will be based on an existing template already in your district, see Deploy District Templates to Create School Designs topic for information.)

  5. Click OK.

    You will see a dialog prompting where you want the design to be used.

  6. For the All Pages design for a district, make sure to check all the page types listed in the Other Pages area. If your district homepage will also use these styles, check the homepage from the Current Page area. Click OK. The new All Pages design will be listed in the Default Designs tab.

    If you do not want your sub-pages at the district looking the same as the sub-pages at your schools, do NOT check the district page. You can modify the design and make a separate All Pages design for district pages only by checking the Only apply to pages within the district itself option. To learn more, see How to Create a Separate Design for the District Website.

  7. From the Manage Design page, select the All Pages design you created, and click Edit.

    You will see a dialog prompting you to select the type of page you want to view as a test for your All Pages design.

  8. Select a page to view as a test — Blackboard recommends selecting a group page. Click Go to open Site Designer.
  9. Edit the design in Site Designer.

    See Set Properties, and set the properties you want available on all school pages in your district.

    Placeholders for footers and headers are commonly used on all pages and set in the top and bottom section of the All Pages design. Blackboard recommends setting placeholder pictures, district headers, and district-related information (such as a district address in the footer) that can be set live immediately, even before each school fills in their own menu links, footer information, and replace the header. To learn more, see Set Design Properties.

  10. After you set the design properties, set the All Pages design as Live.

    Before marking a design as live, view each type of page on your website using the design. From the Manage Design page, select your All Pages design, select Include during Edit/Preview, and click Apply Checks Above. Click the Edit button. You can then select a different page type to view each time (class, group, folder, and document). That way you can be sure each page reflects the overall intended properties.

How to Create Global Homepage Designs for School

Districts can create global default homepages to cascade styles to all school homepages in the district. The global homepage design can be a starter design for schools to change, or it could be a finished design where schools will only be allowed to change the colors or logos, personalizing their websites while maintaining district consistency. Create the global homepage design after creating the district All Pages design. In the homepage design you set only the properties you want to be displayed on the homepage, such as a special layout, or a slide show presentation.

  1. From the Tools menu on your district homepage, select Manage Design.
  2. In the Default Designs tab, select Include during Edit/Preview for the district All Pages design.

    This option will allow you to create your global homepage in context of all the shared settings configured in the All Pages design, which will flow into your design. Click Apply Checks Above to include the All Pages designs to your global homepage.

  3. Click the New button to create a new design.
  4. Type the name for the design in the Name box.

    Name the design in such a way that it describes what the design is for such as Design for School Homepages.

  5. Click OK.

    You will see a dialog prompting where you want the design to be used.

  6. Select Schools from the Other Pages to create the design for the school homepages in your district. Click OK.
  7. From the Manage Design page, select the homepage design you created, and click Edit to open Site Designer. You will see a dialog prompting you to select the type of page you want to view as a test for your design. Select a school that does not have their own previously created design for a better environment to create the homepage.

    If your schools already have designs and you want to set a new district default for them, you will need to set your district All Pages design live in order to let the district design temporarily replace the old school design. To complete this step, after setting the district All Pages live, open a school’s homepage and access the Manage Design option through the Tools menu. Click New from the Current Page tab. Click Set as Active Design to make it active at the school. Then, you can select that school to use as the test page as you build your global homepage design.

  8. Edit the design in Site Designer.

    The design will reflect the settings in the All Pages design. You can then select a different layout, add special boxes or slide shows for the homepages, remove any boxes, and add any special styles that you want only for the homepages. Blackboard recommend using placeholder pictures and district-related information that can be set live immediately, even before each schools fill in the placeholders with their own information. To learn more, see Set Design Properties.

  9. After you set the design properties, set the design as Live.

When you finish the default design for school homepages, it must be lower in the list than the All Pages design on the Manage Design page for the district default designs. To learn more, see Set the List Order of Default Designs. The All Pages design must also be set to Live or the homepages will be missing the shared features set in that design, such as the colors.

How to Create a Separate Design for the District Website

Districts can create designs to be used only on the district website, if the district wants a different look from the school websites. For a different district website, the district creates its own All Pages design and its own homepage design.

  • To create a district-only All Pages design, follow the steps described in How to Create a District-Wide All Pages Design topic, with the following exceptions:
    • When you see a dialog prompting where you want the design to be used, select Only apply to pages within the district itself.
    • Then select all the available page choices in the dialog (Schools and Classes will not be available).
  • To create a district homepage that is not the same as the homepages of the schools, open the Manage Design page from the district homepage and go to the Current Page tab. Follow the instructions in the How to Create a Homepage Design.