Does our redesign have any bearing on Blackboard?

Discussion of plan and activities involved in creating new look and feel for UNL website. Archived Jan. 17, 2007.

Does our redesign have any bearing on Blackboard?

Postby mapliopl » Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:53 pm

I am wondering about our intranet system, like Blackboard...

Would our design and redevelopment revisions have any sort of influence over what will happen to Blackboard?

I know our instructional designers here at EE&O develop content in this system a lot and pretty much every student and faculty gets to use Blackboard...

I was wondering if when we revamp our whole UNL website if it's possible to create or modify a CSS template for updating some areas of Blackboard...

Which areas are those that we are able to modify? I'm not sure, all I know is there are CSS styles for some areas of blackboard (which may be provided and not customizable), but there are some icons and menu systems that can be customized by the University...

Currently, there is a header graphic over every page inside Blackboard, as well as some icons that have been created (maybe preset) by IS, would these be customizable that could match our new UNL templates?

If any of you have some expertise on this and can answer some of my questions, that'd be great....
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WAM as well

Postby nhummel » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:58 am

The same thing could be said for wam.
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Postby saltybeagle » Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:00 am

Thankfully WAM is under construction currently.

That's a big fish that needs to be caught.
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That's come up before ...

Postby rcrisler1 » Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:08 am

Ideally, it should. But in the past, Blackboard people have told us that the only thing they can do with design is to change the color of the tabs. They did end up using some of our font styles, but my understanding is that it's pretty limited.

The Blackboard stylesheets are here:

Interestingly, IS has an employee now, Grace Wang, who is working with open source course management systems Sakai and Moodle to see what they have to offer. Grace will be presenting at the 2006 NU Information Technology Day at the Kauffman Center on Wednesday.

Both Sakai and Moodle are completely based in CSS. The Blackboard source that's currently in production is composed of framesets and tables. Not to be overly picky, but the HTML is invalid, and it doesn't pass Section 508 (had to copy and paste source to verify that): ... du/bbtest/

I don't know if any of that is controllable by people at UNL, or if it is generated by BlackBoard (and thus untouchable). If the latter is true, it's a pretty serious deficiency in our course management system of choice.
Last edited by rcrisler1 on Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby mapliopl » Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:31 am


I know it's secondary to what we are discussing, but if you think about it... students and faculty ALL pretty much go to these places everyday (blackboard and WAM).

Our department develops whole degrees using blackboard and etc... it could be something we point out to whoever is responsible for Blackboard (whether to the company itself or within UNL) that creating CSS-based pages, open source code, validated pages and accessibility compliance are crucial even for an internal site...

I think if it's not going to open a whole can of worms that somehow we dive into finding some answers for that...
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Postby mapliopl » Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:32 am

I think that if we can have a system that would allow us to apply our CSS templates to it, and be able to update it every time we update the overall web would be terrific...
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Goodbye, skittles!

Postby Erin Paseka » Fri Mar 17, 2006 12:56 pm

Just FYI, WAM's look and feel will get a much-needed overhaul this year. I'm in the group working on it, and I've lobbied for WAM to get on board with the all-UNL templates. I think we're going in that direction. There's been talk of developing a "secure site" template for things like WAM, so it's obviously a real UNL page but obviously not just a regular page.
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