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Blackboard Themes and Structures

Themes and Structures can be used to make changes to the formatting of a course. Themes are purely a cosmetic change, while Structures fundamentally change the design of a course.


Themes are pre-set color schemes that an instructor can apply to a course. Once a theme is selected, all students will see the course with the theme applied. A theme can be changed as often as desired, and the Default theme will return the course back to the original color scheme.

a screenshot of the Change Course Theme option selected and the drop down menu expanded

Changing a course’s theme is readily available using the Change Course Theme icon found next to the Edit Mode toggle at the top right of the screen.


Applying a structure to a course will fundamentally change the design of the course by creating new tool and content area links in the Navigation Menu based on the particular Structure that was selected. Any pre-existing Navigation Menu links will not be altered and will remain unchanged, so anything that you have already done in the course will still remain intact after the Structure is applied. Materials can be moved into the new areas created by the Structure as needed.

While Structures are a quick way to reorganize a course and apply instructional design principles, they cannot be undone once applied and so are perhaps best tried first in a development course rather than in a live course with students. Instructors can request development courses by emailing

Applying a Structure

  1. Go to Control Panel > Customization > Teaching Style.
a screenshot of the Customization drop down menu expanded with Teaching Style selected
  1. In the Select Course Structure area, the available Structure types are listed on the left. Select a Structure to learn more about it. In this example, we examine the Structure named Activity.
a screenshot of the Select Course Structure menu with options tagged with numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5
  1. A description of your selected Structure appears in the center.
  2. An example of the Navigation Menu for the selected Structure appears on the right. Click a Menu option for a description of that item.
  3. Click the Use This Structure button to apply a Structure to your course.
  4. The option to include examples of content based on the selected Structure is offered. Selecting this option will place sample items, folders, and other materials inside your course. These materials are automatically set to be hidden from students.
a screenshot of the Include Examples check box
  1. Click Submit to apply the Structure to your course.

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