An Introduction to Usability and Your Blackboard Course Site

The “usability” of a website refers to how easy a site is to use for the people visiting it. While Blackboard presents a layout and template that you as the instructor can’t change much, there are many aspects of your course usability that are well within your control. Whether you just use Blackboard to deliver course readings to your students, or are teaching a partially or fully online course, the issue of how easy it is for students to find and access what they need inside¬† your course shell is an extremely important one.

These four videos cover the most important tips and potential pitfalls associated with Blackboard usability. Whether you are new to Blackboard and want to get started off on the right foot, or have been using it for years and have recently found that your course has turned into a bit of a monster, implementing the usability principles and recommendations presented here will ensure that your Blackboard course site is welcoming and useful for your students.

You may also download and use this Course Usability Best Practices checklist.


(Video 1) Usability: Introduction


Note: Accessibility issues are currently covered in the Faculty Knowledge Base in both Blackboard and Panopto topic areas. In addition, the Teaching Center offers a useful accessibility resource page, containing information on the legal ramifications of accessibility, as well as best practices for creating courses–both online and off–that meet key accessibility requirements.


(Video 2) Making Your Content Findable


(Video 3) Maximizing Course Usability


(Video 4) Getting Valuable Information to Your Students