12 Replies Latest reply on Sep 20, 2017 8:23 AM by at38029

    How are you using "Tabs and Modules" and institution roles?


      As Blackboard develops the GUI for future releases, including the Ultra Experience (navigation scheme), they need to understand how their client institutions are using tabs and modules, along with institution roles, to target information delivery and "branding." This is a forum to post your use cases, and to explain what you are doing to assign institution roles and associate them with brands, themes, tabs, modules and whatever else.

        • Re: How are you using "Tabs and Modules" and institution roles?

          Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY. 16,000 students, 1200 faculty/staff/designers/etc.

          Currently Bb 9.1 Q2 2016. We are transitioning to Bb SaaS (Continuous Delivery), due for Spring 2018.

          At Eastern Kentucky University, we have used branding to customize the top frame image and the main tabs seen by four different communities of users. We assign the primary institution role when accounts are created, from SIS or batch user creation file, and manually adjust them when users complain that they do not have the right brand. After a user logs in, the landing page contains a module for system announcements, My Courses, My Organizations, My Announcements, and any other modules targeted to that user's institution role(s). We use secondary institution roles to control the availability of about a dozen modules on various tabs, such as the modules for course evaluations, where the modules to be shown to instructors and students are completely different. Our help desk staff have both a specific system role (to grant privileges to the System Admin tab) and a special institution role (to provide them with a tab for information about their responsibilities). We do not currently use the institutional hierarchy, and we have made very few customizations to the 2012 Theme.

          • Re: How are you using "Tabs and Modules" and institution roles?

            For now we're showing everyone the same theme/brand, which is customized from Blackboard's 2016 theme to update colors, control institutional branding, and apply a few fixes that we've picked up along the way.


            Rather than modifying Blackboard's theme files directly, I "append" additional CSS files that contain my customizations -- it's easier that way to keep track of our own changes, and to apply updates when Blackboard releases a new theme.


            Our accounts are managed by an Identity and Access Management system (IAM) which sets each user's primary institution role as either Student, Faculty, or Staff, which will determine whether that user sees a Student Home, Faculty Home, or Staff Home tab when they log in. These tabs are mostly the same, with links to My Bb Learn Courses, campus resources, mobile app download links, etc., with the exception of targeted support links and announcement modules for each group.


            Currently we are using Institutional Hierarchy to control tool access (especially for pilots, or where a tool's use should otherwise be limited), and to supplement our reporting by associating courses in the LMS to specific departments and colleges. We've talked about delegating some administration tasks to departments so that they can manage their own courses/users/etc., but so far that's not something we have tried.

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            • Re: How are you using "Tabs and Modules" and institution roles?

              We have 23 member colleges within a single Blackboard instance. Each college has its own brand (driven by institutional role) and each brand can choose the theme to use, so while many are on 2016, some are still on 2012. Within that, they have their own look and feel customizations (logos, colors, etc).  We switched to the 2016 icon set when a majority of our colleges had switched to the 2016 theme.  They also each have their own home tab (also driven by institutional role) and sets of modules (ditto).


              We also have some shared tabs (e.g. one for students; a help tab; a library tab; etc.) but with modules on those that are selectively visible via institutional roles. Some tabs are personalizable, some are not.


              The data suggests that those tabs don't see much traffic, but are used. I've wondered about an approach based on users having a non-personalizable "MyCollege" tab and a personalizable "MyStuff" tab.

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              • Re: How are you using "Tabs and Modules" and institution roles?

                I have  a tab called Faculty Resources where I have a collection of trainings that my department offers, messages that I send out, alerts, and resources that link elsewhere. We have a Student Resources tab with sub-tabs. We just created a Starfish tab with information on that specific product.


                We use a lot of different Modules that are set to specific roles (Faculty/Staff and Students) that allow us to target the audience. Some modules are for informational purposes from Blackboard and some are used to get certain messages out, and some are shortcuts to third-party single sign on.



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                • Re: How are you using "Tabs and Modules" and institution roles?

                  Bellevue University. Bellevue, Nebraska


                  Currently Bb 9.1 Q2 2016 CU3. We will be updating to Bb 9.1 Q2 2016 CU3 on October 1, 2017. We will also be transitioning to Bb SaaS (Continuous Delivery), Dec 2017. We have several ways that we are utilizing the Tab and Module functions within Blackboard.


                  • We have a tab that we call BU Events. This tab has modules that have "call-out" images, which are created by our Community Affairs Web Developer. These images are then linked to posters. This tabs main focus area is to let our facutly/staff/ students know about the different events that we have going on at the University.


                  • There are 2 tabs that we have that you have to have the "Faculty" Institution Role in order to access. These tabs are our Faculty Community and Instructor Dashboard. There are also times where we need to create an announcement using modules and we only want visible to a certain group. We utilize the Institution Role, to control who sees these messages.


                  • When the University has Maintenance scheduled to occur, we post modules on our Login Page as well as our Welcome Page. This module would let our users know the needed detail pertaining to the Maintenance. We also provide messages to our users using modules regarding upcoming outages to Blackboard, so our users know of the maintenance window and what they can expect


                  • We have added a Twitter Widget for our Career Services. This widget is displayed through a module, this module is displayed on our Home Page.


                  • Here at our University, we have several Corporate Programs, which have their own Brand/Theme. With this, they have certain tabs that they want visible to their users and this is done by utilizing the primary Institution Role that is assigned to those users based on criteria within our SQC.


                  This is to just name a few.


                  Thank you,


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                    • Re: How are you using "Tabs and Modules" and institution roles?

                      City College Norwich, UK - large FE/HE college (community college), currently running Q2 2017 CU3 MH

                      We use Institutional Roles to give users access to relevant tabs; we split our user population as below:

                      • Staff
                      • Students
                      • External users (external verifiers, contractors, link teachers, mentors - anyone who needs access to something but isn't staff or student)

                      Staff and students are profiled on creation through SIS integration, whilst External Users are manually created.

                      We're aware of the ability to have different themes for different institutional roles, and have experimented with this in the past but haven't used this "in anger".

                    • Re: How are you using "Tabs and Modules" and institution roles?

                      Hello Everyone!

                      A lot of great feedback here! My name is Ali Ganjalizadeh (aka Ali G.) and I am the Learn Product Manager working on the Tabs & Modules replacement features in Learn Ultra. The two Ultra features that this correlates to are Targeted Notifications & the Institution Page.  The former is already available in Ultra with Sys Admin credentials, the latter is most likely going to be pushed out to Ultra enabled environments in late October.  After reading all the great use-cases here, I am confident that our roadmap for these features will hit the majority of them. I would like to host a Collaborate session where I show you the current implementation of these features as well as share some near-term roadmap on what you can expect to come next.  I would like to schedule this session at some point between Sept 27 - October 4.  If you are interested in joining and providing feedback, please reply with your preferred email address so I can send you an invite. If you wish you email me instead of posting here, you can reach me at ali.ganjalizadeh@blackboard.com. I am looking forward to our discussion!


                      Thank you,


                      Ali G.

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                      • Re: How are you using "Tabs and Modules" and institution roles?

                        We assign primary, and most secondary roles from our student records and HR systems: School and/or departmental affiliation, Staff / Student, undergraduate / postgraduate etc.


                        School is used as the primary role, for both staff and students, and users see a different tab when they log in, depending on which School they are in. Staff in the schools update essential information here - generally information which sits above the course level. Subject Librarians and Careers Advisers also update School-specific info on these tabs. Often the tab is used to link to relevant files / folders in the Content Collection, or to Organisations e.g. Placement info for Psychology students.


                        Additionally, we have Support for Staff and Support for Student tabs which either pull in, or link to, information from our support websites.


                        There's already some concern that students using the app don't see any of the information on these tabs (nor, in the new Blackboard app, do they see content from Organisations).


                        When we eventually move to Ultra, we will definitely want to be able to continue to provide information which is targeted to specific groups of users, over and above what they get on courses. Some of that may be possible through targeted notifications, but there's also a lot of more static information which currently sits on Blackboard tabs - if we were to lose those, we would have to find another platform to host them on.

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