Vote to Improve Blackboard’s Default Options!

One of my favorite debates is the definition of a hole. What is a hole made of? Is it the absence of matter? (This NPR piece does a good job of explaining the debate.)

Our Blackboard course shells provide a hole for you to fill with course information. They provide a template for the empty class you create when you select ‘Create Course’ from the Blackboard Course Generator. Simple enough, but what does empty look like? That question is just as hard as defining a hole, except when it comes to our Blackboard course shells. Then, empty looks like this:

default course shell side nav

This is the default side navigation for any W&M Blackboard Course.

Those are a list of the default course content areas and pages created with every W&M Blackboard course. During Fall Startup I heard from a lot of faculty members that the “Content” and “Information” folders are a problem. Content and information mean almost the same thing, and students wouldn’t know which to click on. Even more faculty told me that the first and most important link should be to a syllabus page.

Thankfully I can address these concerns and change the default shell, making empty look a little more like the way you think empty should look. But what should the new defaults be? I’d like to pick the options that are most helpful for faculty members. To do that I’ll need your help.

Vote for New Default Options

rename link

This is an example of what it looks like when you rename a link in Blackboard.

From now until October 30th, you can click here to vote for your choice or offer a new suggestion. By voting you’ll help decide what the empty shell looks like. In December the most popular choices will be put in place on Blackboard. Hopefully, that will save a few steps when everyone generates their Spring courses. Don’t worry if your selection doesn’t win. You can always customize your course shell by clicking the plus button in the upper left of the navigation area or change the name of a link with the contextual menu.

So please vote! And look for the new options this winter.


  1. Jeff NElson says:

    I don’t like the default fluorescent green highlights. A less vibrant color (e.g. that used in the campus templates) would be much more pleasant.