How to Setup a Custom Course Entry Home Page in Blackboard

For several years, I have been customizing the entry point / home page in my online courses that I’ve designed and taught in Blackboard Learn. In some courses, I’ve setup a course communication dashboard home page where I’ve aggregated various course communications and information items into a singular location. Most recently, I’ve shifted to utilizing a course welcome – start here page that provides my students with general overview information about the course, instructor contact information, and helpful tips for getting off to a strong start in the course.

Sample customized course home page

For those interested in developing their own customized course entry home page in Blackboard, I’ve recorded this video tutorial overview of the course entry home page template that I use in my Blackboard Learn courses, with step-by-step instructions for how to setup in your own course. The template home page HTML code is available in HTML or TXT formats.

If you’d like to experience the custom course home page referenced in the tutorial within a course, the Blackboard course that I demonstrated is available for self-enrollment or to download as an OER package, more details here.

If you found this information helpful, or if you have developed your own custom course home page template, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and let’s connect.

iPhone optimized

Thanks to postings from Veronica Belmont and TUAW, I stumbled across a great plugin for WordPress called iWPhone that optimizes a WordPress blog for viewing on the iPhone or iPod Touch. I’ve installed this plugin on my blog, but since I don’t yet have an iPhone myself, I’ve not been able to see yet first-hand how the blog displays on either an iPhone or iPod touch. My next trip to an Apple store however, I’ll definitely be giving this a try!

For those of you who do happen to have an iPhone, I’d love it if you could try accessing this blog with your iPhone and drop me a comment with your feedback on how the blog displays for you. Even better yet, if you are able to somehow grab a screen capture and can send that my way, that’d be even better!

I’m hoping there’s an iPhone in my future…if AT&T would only expand it’s network so that usage wasn’t so limited or if they would allow Apple to open up VoIP on the iPhone so that calls could be made over WiFi, that would be enough to put me over the edge to becoming an iPhone convert.

Along the lines of optimizing Web content for iPhone, I also just came across a great piece free software for Mac OS X called iPhoney that allows for a Web developer to preview a website how it will be rendered on an iPhone. I’ve tried this out and it works really well. However, the software doesn’t recognize the mimic the browser type for iPhone-specific CSS, so I wasn’t able to use the app to test my blog optimizations. Again, I hope someone out there who is privileged to have an iPhone can get in touch.