Redesign of an Online Course for Northern Illinois University V1

blue pen beside black smartphone on white paper
  • Responsibilities: Instructional Design, Educational Technology, Web Design, Writer, Developer
  • Target Audience: Faculty and staff at a medical school
  • Tools Used: Dreamweaver (HTML editor), VPN, CyberDuck, image editors like Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Budget: N/A, internal project
  • Client: University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM)
  • Year: 2018-continuous

For summer term 2020, I redesigned a graduate course called Media Design: Multimedia (ETT 555) and taught it during an 8-week term. I converted the course to Blackboard Ultra view from the Original view for delivery during this term. As it turned out, the version of Blackboard Ultra used for this course was lacking in some useful functionality for both instructors and students.


I created some example content in a ‘dummy’ Blackboard course so I better understood the options available. Then, I made a thorough inventory of previous offerings of this course in Blackboard Original View and mapped out how content could be reimagined and redesign in the Ultra view.

Here is the image showing the course topics and schedule. The images below might look quite small to you when viewing. Feel free to download them to get a better view.

Also for ETT 555, here is an image showing an overview of each of the modules.

And finally, here is a listing of the resources for students to use to complete the module exercises.

Results and Takeaways

The Ultra view does not offer all of the ‘bells and whistles’ of the Original view, yet this turned out to be preferable in this instance. One key feature of Blackboard is how the system cannot properly translate if a user copies textual content like paragraphs from Microsoft Word or another text formatting product into Blackboard. In Original view, a lot of unnecessary HTML code is ‘brought over’ from Word to Blackboard and results in extra time to strip out extra code that messes up the look and feel. In Ultra view on the other hand, when copying and pasting into Blackboard, this extra code seems to get stripped away and the look and feel is more consistent.

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