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Blackboard Help

Design Your Course

Outstanding online courses begin with outstanding content presented in a way that minimizes barriers to understanding.

Effective content design can create a more compelling and engaging showcase for your course material. More importantly, well-designed content can help achieve the following:

  • Ease of learning: How quickly can a new student navigate through your course while learning the material?
  • Efficiency of use: After a student is familiar with your course setup, how quickly can they accomplish tasks?
  • Subjective satisfaction: How much do students enjoy working through your course material?
  • Usability: Can users with different levels of ability, experience, knowledge, language skills, hardware, or concentration level use your course easily?
  • Accessibility: Products and services that are accessible provide the means for people with disabilities to receive the same level of information, services, and use that people without disabilities receive. Is your course a level playing field?

Strive for clean and simple.

  • Keep pages clean and uncluttered. Use plenty of white space to separate paragraphs, images, and other page elements to avoid overwhelming readers.
  • Align text and headings on the left. Online readers' eyes usually scan down the left side of the page. Centering headings will make your readers work harder to stay focused on the material.
  • Use block-style paragraphs. Leave a space between each paragraph and do not indent the first line.
  • Be consistent. Create predictability by using layouts that repeat design elements from page to page. Use the same fonts, colors, icons, and heading styles on each page to help students feel comfortable and find information faster.
  • Use headings. Chunk information and make your page easier to scan. Choose your color scheme carefully and use colors that maximize readability. When in doubt, use black on white.
    Check out more about colors in web design!
  • Use simple typography. Use no more than three font faces in your entire course. Be consistent with how you use them. For example, use Verdana for body copy text, and use Times New Roman for subheadings. Use fonts that are standard for everyone’s computers and easy to read, such as Arial, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, Georgia, and Verdana.

    To learn more, visit 10 Typography Mistakes for examples of good and bad usage. The website is an excellent example of all the principles listed for good page design.

Make it easy for yourself - use Snap!

The Snap theme takes the work out of having good design.

  • It delivers online learning that's more like the websites people use everyday.
  • It is designed for a better learning experience.
  • It creates a clear structure for learning.
  • It removes clutter.
  • It brings learning content to life.
  • It's designed for a better reading experience.
  • It's interactive icons provide an engaging experience.