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BLACKBOARD-USERGROUP  May 2012

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Subject:

Re: Good Examples of Blackboard Course Areas

From:

Tyrone Knight <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Blackboard/Courseinfo userslist <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 15 May 2012 14:48:52 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (1 lines)

Cheers Jim

Liking these ideas, these are similar and personalised like some of the better course areas that we have here.

How do you audit something like this if each area is different? Which is another related issue of mine, as I often get asked to check that certain documentation is present in each area etc.

Many thanks for sharing

Ty

-----Original Message-----
From: Blackboard/Courseinfo userslist [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Turner, James
Sent: 15 May 2012 14:39
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Good Examples of Blackboard Course Areas

We are running a project around this at the moment Have a look at the docs attached here http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/Academic_Enhancement/123182.htm
Jim


-----Original Message-----
From: Blackboard/Courseinfo userslist [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tyrone Knight
Sent: 14 May 2012 16:12
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Good Examples of Blackboard Course Areas

Hi Chris

Thanks for this and really liking the ideas,

I am thinking of using Dreamweaver to enhance the look and am hoping that it works well with Blackboard.

We are using Adaptive release in a similar way in one of our courses, but I could also play with some more too

Many thanks

Ty

-----Original Message-----
From: Blackboard/Courseinfo userslist [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Chris Simpson
Sent: 14 May 2012 15:23
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Good Examples of Blackboard Course Areas

Jacqui - I really like your standard set of icons. We have used icons within our content for standard sections, but it's a good idea for the course area.

Tyrone/All - Nice idea. We have used a few techniques to achieve this at York. Don't know if they class as good examples, but the hopefully may be of interest to some. We have developed this for our Employability Tutorial, but are using in other modules. We have developed our layout and navigation based on a lot of student feedback, and are continuing to work on this.

Summaries (most primitive first):


1. HTML image map to create a clickable course diagram.

SmartArt in the latest version of Word is great for quickly creating diagrams like this. Something like Dreamweaver or Photoshop should help you to create an imagemap out of it.

Important consideration: you should specify all alt-text etc. and test the page with images disabled and/or a screenreader. Ideally, you should provide a full text-only way to navigate (we do this by creating our content in a folder structure within the course area - get this working first - and having the diagram at the top level. This provides an optional way to navigate for certain users, but does not exclude anyone).

Technical point: When Bb courses are duplicated/rolled over/restructured, internal links may change. Therefore you have two options for 'future proofing' a page like this: remember to update image maps if they ever change, or use something like javaScript to dynamically add the links from the user's browser/a database where possible (as above, this can only work as an enhancement)


2. Adaptive release course links with images and text. The user fills in a very short 'test' which assesses their current situation, and suggests which areas of the course will be most relevant. Main disadvantage is that the 'test', really a diagnostic questionnaire, feels like a test, and can be a bit confusing/off-putting for the user. Another is that adaptive release rules are difficult to copy between courses. Advantage is that it builds a tailored course map for the user.

We used question scores with powers of two, and some adaptive release logic to pick out a number of scenarios based on responses.


3. 'Poster' pages containing Bb course links to each section, with a banner image for each (alt-text as in #1) - to make it look a bit nicer. This can then be enhanced with javaScript (we use jQuery), to grab the link from above each banner, and use it to make the image clickable, where possible.


4. Emulation of example #1, doing away with a flat image, and building it in CSS and HTML.

By replacing an imagemap with an HTML structure, you can make something which will appear how you want when viewed text-only, and with all of the semantics to make it properly parsed by navigation tools such as screenreaders or text-based browsers.

Adding CSS, this can be styled to be more graphical where possible, to work better on smaller screens/mobile devices, and with a practical printable style.

Similarly to the points in the above, this can be enhanced with some (e.g. jQuery) code to make it more 'snazzy' as and when appropriate.


The first three are illustrated in this document (please ask if you'd like to share this further or discuss): https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B35h_aLLUHNwLTg0STdjR3otRXc

#4 is not yet live, so I haven't put it in the document.


Interested to hear more from other users - either technology, design or both.

Chris

--
Chris Simpson
Online Training Manager
Careers Service, University of York, YO10 5DD
Tel: +44 (0)1904 322497
@asameshimae
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