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Blackboard's overall look was refreshed in WT2018. Standardized across the entire system and all courses, it cannot be overridden at the course level or within a user's account preferences.

About the New Theme

The Learn 2016 theme for Blackboard Learn is a modern version of the user interface that incorporates elements from the new Blackboard design language including color, fonts, and spacing for greater consistency between Blackboard Learn, Collaborate, and the Blackboard mobile apps for Instructor and Student roles.

  • Can I change the color of the course menu?
    No, color cannot be changed in the new theme.
  • Can I still use buttons on the course menu?
    We do not advise the use of buttons since these do not provide a consistent student experience between browser and mobile app.
  • How do I disable the icons in content areas?
    You can remove icons from your course by enabling the text-only view for a content folder.
  • Can I still use a course banner?
    Yes, you can still use a course banner, although we advise faculty to follow the recommended guidelines for size.
  • Can I make stretch the theme for wider displays?
    No, unfortunately, there is a maximum width to ensure it will function on smaller formats such as tablets and smartphones. 

Support for Mobile

When users log in to Blackboard Learn on a mobile device or tablet, screen elements such as the course menu and control panel compress or change position so they stay visible. As the screen gets smaller, modules and tool tiles stack so the user still has access to them at their fingertips. The responsive design elements of the Learn 2016 theme improve the user experience for anyone who wants access to their Blackboard Learn courses on their own schedule.

Support for Accessibility

The current version of Blackboard used at UMBC follows WCAG 2.0 principles and accessibility guidelines for structure, color contrast, and navigation. Fully visible keyboard focus has been built directly into this theme as well as best practices for the definition of buttons and menus used for navigation. ARIA landmarks have been added in courses to the course menu and the content area to define the page structure and assist users with screen readers in navigating page elements.

Image 1. Full screen view of new system theme.

Image 2. Mobile view of new system theme. 

What to Expect

FeatureOld Blackboard themeNew Blackboard theme
BrandingSupportedBanner image is supported

Custom login pages are supported in the Original experience

Brand configuration, such as color settings and background image, is not supported

Course themes are not supported

Mobile BrowserNot optimizedImproved experience

While the experience is improved, mobile browsers are not a supported technology at this time.

More about browser support

Content AreaNot optimized on mobile


NOTE: Content within a content area is responsive when the content is built using responsive practices.

Login pageNot optimized on mobileResponsive
TestsNot optimized on mobileImproved experience
Tabs and ModulesNot optimized on mobileImproved experience
Discussion BoardNot optimized on mobileResponsive
Course MenuNot optimized on mobileImproved experience
My Blackboard pagesNot optimized on mobileImproved experience

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