Sunday, August 01, 2010

Reflections of an Online Student, Part 2: Where are the lessons?

Having found I was late for my Course in Online Student Centred Discussion, I decided to try to catch up. The Blackboard Learning Management System had a familiar looking interface with a menu down the left side and the course content beside it. But the text was too small to read. So I increased the font size on my browser. This made the text bigger, but half the text of each menu item disappeared. The problem was that the text of each menu item was over a coloured rectangle. When I increased the text size, the background did not increase proportionally and the text overflowed the background. It was not clear to me if this was a fault in the design of Blackboard, or just poor web design for this particular course, but in either case it was not very usable. Given a choice between a page of text I could not read and half the menu text missing, I went for the latter option. I assumed that after a while I would get to know what the options were, but it did not work out that way, after several weeks use I was still not comfortable with the interface. So much for the interface: what about the course structure? See part three.

No comments: