Create & Add a Banner to Your Course

Want to give your class entry page some pizzazz?  Add a banner!
Thanks to the magic of the internet, no special software is necessary…


PART 1: Create Your Banner

The following is a short tutorial for a free, easy to use banner-creation website I found.

Click to visit the Banner Fans website.

On the Layout tab, start by selecting a banner size.  I like their “Etsy shop banner” preset:

Preset - Etsy shop banner

Next, select your background type.  You can choose a solid color, or upload an image, but the gradient provides a nice touch.  Select your colors (by clicking on each color box to open a color palette) and your gradient mode:

color and gradient options

Click the Update my banner button underneath the options, to preview the changes on the banner above:

Update Banner button

Click the Texts & Fonts tab, enter text for your banner, and click to select the font, size, and color:

text and font options

When you selecting a font, you can browse different styles of fonts by using the links at the top:

different font types

After you click Update my banner to preview your changes, you may need to move your text around.  Roll your mouse over the text on the sample banner, and click-and-drag the text to the location of your choice:

moving the text on the banner by clicking and dragging

You can select the Border tab, to add a border of your choice, and select its color:

adding a border and selecting the border color

Click Update my banner again, to preview all changes:

finished banner

When it looks how you want it to, click the Download Banner button:

download banner button

And save the banner to your computer:

save banner to your computer

PART 2: Upload to Blackboard

Enter your Blackboard class.  From the Control Panel, click Customization –> Teaching Style:

Control panel with customization expanded and teaching style selected

Select your Course Entry Point – the default homepage when your students enter the class, where your banner will be displayed:

select a course entry point

Locate “Select Banner.”  To upload your banner, click Browse My Computer:

click the Browse My Computer button

Locate and select the banner file you downloaded from the website, and confirm:

select file and confirm

Click Submit:

submit button

Your banner will now be displayed in your course, on your default entry page:

banner displayed in course

Note:  Any pixelation you see in these images is from my screen-captures, NOT from the banner made by Banner Fans.

Announcing: Sidekick – Free tools for CA Community Colleges

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office is dedicated to providing resources to help our California Community College instructors. 

Although many of these individual services have been available before, the Chancellor’s Office has released a one-stop resource site that combines seven free resources.  You can utilize these free tools to build and enhance the web components of your classes!


Sidekick — Tools That Inspire
Click the link for descriptions, introductory videos, and website links for each tool.

Making Courses Available to Students

The word (unavailable) may appear after your course link in Blackboard Learn:

Course link with the word unavailable

You may know that all courses are imported with a Start Date and End Date, which regulate when students are able to view your course content, but if your course is (unavailable), it will not be seen by students when the Start Date arrives! 

By default, courses are imported from Banner to Blackboard as “unavailable”.  Courses must be made available in order to be provide access to students.  If you see (unavailable) following your course link, and you want your students to have access to your Blackboard content when the course begins, please do the following:

1. Click your course link to enter the course.

course link

2. On the Control Panel, click Customization.  Then click Properties.

Control Panel Customization Properties

3. Under Set Availability, you will see Make Course Available, with “No” currently selected:

Course availability no

Switch it to “Yes”:

course availability yes

4.  Click Submit.

Your course will no longer show the (unavailable) label, and on the Start Date of your course, students will be able to access your content!

Video Tutorials: Build Content

ITEM – Use the WYSIWYG Editor to add text, images, etc. displayed on the current page:

FILE – Link to an uploaded file: Word Doc, PDF, PowerPoint, Zip, etc.:

CONTENT FOLDER – Similar to a folder on your computer, this organizes other items, files, and folders:

BLANK PAGE – Create a link on the current page, which leads to a new page wherein you can use the WYSIWYG Editor to add text, images, etc.:

LEARNING MODULE – A type of folder which displays content sequentially to students, with the option for a table of contents:


YOU TUBE – Embed relevant YouTube videos inside your course, for students to view without the distraction of comments and related videos.