Visual Design of Your Blackboard Course

Keep It Light (L.I.T.E)

What do we mean by “keeping it light?” The visual design of an online course is meant to guide the learners’ focus, not to distract them (Pappas, 2014).

Keeping it light also means creating an online course design with clear course navigation; learning technologies that are explained, supported and kept to a minimum; integrating and merging content; separating required from optional content; focusing the course design on the learning outcomes. The acronym L.I.T.E indicates the 4 basic technology skills for “light” visual design for online learning (Davis, 2015).

L = Links
Create clickable links to external content.

I = Integrate Multimedia & Content Items
Integrate multimedia and merge similar content & related instructional items together in the course.

T = Typography
Use typography and white space to draw learners’ attention to content.

E = Embed
Embed material at a point of need in the course.

A L.I.T.E. visual design for your online course complements Universal Design for Learning (U.D.L.)

Additional Resources

Davis, T. (2015). Visual Design for Online Learning. Jossey Bass. <book  available from Mason Libraries>

Pappas, C. (2014). Top 5 Tips for Visual Design in eLearning. Retrieved from: .

CAST (2018). About Universal Design for Learning at:

  • Provides basic information about Universal Design for Learning; CAST is a nonprofit education research and development organization which focuses on expanding learning opportunities through U.D.L.

UDL  Online (2018). YouTube Video at:

  • Video presents tips for developing online content with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in mind.