“Sweet looking theme, a vast improvement over the current Bb Learn Theme, the revision in look and feel makes it a lot smoother to use.” — overheard during usability testing
Early reactions to the new system theme in Service Pack 8 have been overwhelmingly positive. Users that have seen it love its clean and modern look. UI changes in the new System Theme, “Blackboard Learn 2012” offer a change in the look and feel, but the functionality of the system remains exactly the same. So, what does that change to the look and feel mean to the people that support teaching and learning on campus?
Instructional Designers sometimes cringe when they see interface changes because it often means changing screenshots used throughout tutorials, tip sheets and other training materials. I lead a team of instructional designers at Blackboard, and like you, we spend a considerable amount of time ensuring that our training materials, help documentation, and video tutorials help people meet their teaching and learning objectives.
Before you dive in, we want you to understand that the new theme is optional. The original 9.1 default theme will still be available and Administrators can make the switch when the time is right. Existing customizations are unaffected. The new theme can be applied on a timeline of your own. Trying out the new theme is low-risk since it has no functional changes.
If your campus is excited about a new modern look for Blackboard Learn, read on to find out what we think the impact will be and our ideas for managing the transition to a new look and feel (hint: we don’t think it is as big an effort as it first appears).