Hello there teacher-friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a real “Teaching Tuesday” post, but I needed a few weeks to fully enjoy my summer break before I could get back in the swing of things. Are you with me? Anyway, now that I’ve had a decent amount of distance from last school year, I’m ready to start taking baby steps towards preparing for next year. Today’s “project” is a great one to ease back in to things… It takes hardly any time at all, you can do it while watching last night’s episode of The Bachelorette, and it will have you feeling fancy on the first day of school…
If you’re like me, one of the biggest ways you communicate with your students (and their parents) during the school year is through the use of Blackboard. The homepage is kind-of your launch-pad and a place for you to make a good first impression, if you will. Since I claim to be a “teacher with a little style,” I like to jazz up my course with a custom banner that shows up any time the students are on the homepage; and – good news – you can easily create your own (for FREE) using Picmonkey.com too!
– Start by going to www.picmonkey.com. This is a free photo-editing website (similar to photoshop but much less technical) where you can get fun fonts, backgrounds, images, etc. (I use it all the time to design things for my blog too!) You can pay for a Royale membership to get extra features, but I really don’t think it is necessary.
– From there, choose “design” (in orange in the image above) and select “custom” for your canvas size.
– The next screen will ask you to enter the size you’d like for your canvas. I’ve played with this a little, and I think 600 x 200 is perfect for Blackboard. Once you’ve typed those numbers in, just click the “Make It” button.
– Voila! You now have a blank template to create your banner…
– On the left side, there are lots of different tools you can use to customize the look. I really like the textures and images Picmonkey makes available, so I usually select the little apple icon on the bottom left and choose the first category – “School U.”
– I like to keep mine fairly simple and related to the class theme, so I chose a notebook paper effect and lowered the saturation just a bit to make it whiter. Once it looked the way I liked, I just clicked “Apply” to save.
– For fun, I also added an ink pen and a paper clip graphic (the ones I chose are Royale features, but there are free versions too.)
– Then, by selecting the “Tt” icon, and choosing my fonts, I added text to the banner. (Simply use the arrows to adjust size, etc.)
– Once you have everything exactly as you want it, you simply click “Save” at the top of the screen, name your image, and choose “Save to my computer.”
– As a final step, log in to the Blackboard page you want to update. From the Control Panel, select “Customization” and “Teaching Style.” At the bottom of that page, you will find an area where you can upload a banner image. Simply choose the image you just saved, and click “Submit.”
And, there you have it… Your Blackboard homepage page looks almost as your cute as your classroom. 😉
Hope this helped someone out there!!
Until next week,