my-cumbria-logo, my-cumbria-logo Toggle navigation

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Important information and guidance

For all students studying off campus

Permalink to this page: 

The content on this page is designed to support all students who are studying away from our main campuses. We have included information about all of the main IT systems & services you will be using, communication tools, alternative assignment formats and where to find help if you need it.


If you are a new student at the university - please visit Studying from home: New Starters to activate your IT account.


All university systems and services can be accessed from the Student Hub.

Please register for the Password Reset Service now. You are also encouraged to view advice and guidance on Cyber Security.


  • Email, Skype, Webinars and Discussions

    The majority of your communication, with the university, will be via digital services and platforms. Please familiarise yourself with these tools and contact the IT Service Desk if you have any problems 


    Where possible, please use your student email account to contact the university, support services and tutors. Your student email address helps us to easily identify you and saves time in us responding to you.

    You can access your student email account via the button in the Student Hub or directly at

    Further information about getting the most from your email account is available here: Office365 Student Email

    Skype for Business

    Whilst working from home, it is possible that you will need to use Skype for Business (Skype4B) to have chats, phone calls or video conferencing with your tutors and/or student support officers. You will receive an email invite for any pre-arranged Skype session - which you can accept and use directly from your student email account. 

    Skype for Business works in much the same way as normal Skype, but we have a page of guidance available here: Skype for Business and Video Conferencing

    You can use Skype4B for:

    • Instant Messaging - chat window in Outlook online or using the full desktop app or mobile app
    • Video Conferencing / Video Chat - using the full desktop app or mobile app
    • Phone / Audio Chat - using the full desktop app or mobile app (but with camera off)
    • Webinar - using the full desktop app or mobile app (camera on or off)

    IMPORTANT: Skype for Business is NOT the normal Skype app. You need to download Skype for Business on your computer or mobile device. Use your university login and then you'll have access to the university address book and any meetings or webinars your are invited to.


    Skills@Cumbria and some tutors will make use of webinars. These will usually be done using Skype4B and will allow the organiser to invite multiple people into a Skype conversation that they will lead. These work much like an online classroom with one or more tutors and multiple students viewing the same same content as it happens. Questions and comments can be posted via a chat window and the whole thing can be recorded for later viewing.

    You do not need a webcam or can leave it switched off if you just want to watch. The ability to contribute vocally (via built in microphone or headset) is recommended.

    See the guidance for Skype for business and always arrive a few minutes early for a webinar, just so you can check that everything is working ok.

    NOTE: We have been seeing some users who cannot see presentation slides when in a webinar. This is usually caused by the amount of load being placed on Skype4B and the internet at the moment. There are two things you can do: 1. Logging out of the session and coming back in will solve most problems. 2. Request a copy of the slides from the presenter so you can follow along.


    Discussion Forums (usually in Blackboard) allow for asynchronous conversations (not everyone has to be there at the same time, but can join in the conversation at a convenient time). They work much like social media conversations.

    You will probably be using discussion forums in Blackboard as part of your studies, which will involve things like:

    • Read a passage or question posted by a tutor
    • Discuss (with the forum) your thoughts or answer(s)
    • Discuss other people's responses
    • Write up your conclusions outside of the forum
    • Submit your conclusions via Turnitin

    Basic instructions are available from the Blackboard page of My.Cumbria: Discussions / Forums in Blackboard

  • Finding resources for your studies

    Searching for Books (OneSearch)

    Please watch this short video about finding books, for your studies, using OneSearch: Searching for Books Using OneSearch.

    Finding Academic Sources for your Assignments

    This video introduces you to finding the right sources for your assignments: Academic Sources for your Assignments


    dl_study, orange cartoon of books on a shelf Our libraries 

    The libraries and study spaces at all our campuses are now closed. If you have library books out they will auto renew. No books will be recalled so you don't need to worry about returning anything for now. No new requests for books can be placed.

    Our staff are working from home and can respond to emails so if you need any information or have any questions please email 

    If you are working on an assignment and need any help, for instance with referencing or finding a particular resource, please email If you are studying in the evening or at the weekend and have a query please use the 'Ask a librarian' service.

    dl_eresources, orange cartoon of laptop Online access 

    We provide online access to ebooks, journals, eresources, subject resources (collections of resources that have been collated to support your subject) and the Insight research repository.

    Use OneSearch to search for ebooks, books, journals, eresources and a whole lot more. See our How to search video tutorial.

    dl_ask_a_librarian, orange question mark in an orange outlined speech bubble Ask a Librarian 

    During normal staffed library hours, contact our Libraries via or individual .

    Got a question about using library services, finding information, enquiries about referencing and searching information resources even when the library is not staffed? Use the Ask a Librarian service between 5pm and 9am during the week and round the clock at weekends and bank holidays.

    Subject Resources

    Our subject librarians have compiled a dedicated page of resources for your subject. Select your subject from the Subject Resources A to Z.

    Additional Free Resources

    A number of publishers are temporarily giving additional free access to a wide range of eresources. See Additional Free Eresources for more details.

  • Preparing and Writing Assignments

    You will find a wide range of resources and guidance through the following pages. Start with Skills@Cumbria, which provides advice and guidance on all aspects of your academic studies and if you need help, contact Skills Support.

    Academic Skills

    dl_skills, orange cartoon of a head with a wand on top of it Skills@Cumbria The skills@cumbria website provides support on all aspects of academics skills from reading and writing for university to referencing and being critical. Access the site to see how we can help.
    dl_support_appointment, orange cartoon of shaking hands Skills Support You can get individual support from our Academic Advisers, either through our email service, where you can get feedback on 500 words, or by booking a skype appointment. Click on Skills Support for more information.

    Targeting Your Studying

    Please see this video about how to target the work you are doing to meet the requirements of your module/assignments: Targeting your work (MP4)

    Research Skills

    dl_dissertation, orange cartoon of 3 stacked pieces of paper and pen on top Dissertations and Research Dissertations offer you a great opportunity to investigate a topic of particular interest to you with a view to discovering new knowledge or practice. Don't forget that a dissertation must take a critical stance. 
    dl_research, orange cartoon of a microscope Postgraduate Researchers Researching at postgraduate level needs all of the skills of undergraduate courses, but requires a higher level of understanding, greater independence and more specialised knowledge than undergraduate study. Discover the library resources, services and systems available for researchers at the University of Cumbria.
  • Alternative Assignment Formats

    There may be a need to produce alternative assignment formats where face-to-face presentations and other work cannot progress when studying from home e.g.

    Creating a narrated presentation - adding audio to your PowerPoint

    Discussion Forums

    Skype interviews


    We will add more resources as they are required. Be in touch with your tutor if you have any queries about your assignment brief. For any academic skills support contact 

  • Submitting Assignments

    Most assignments, at the University of Cumbria, are submitted via Turnitin in Blackboard. Turnitin is a plagiarism detection and prevention database which will provide feedback to you on the similarity of your work compared with a worldwide collection of resources and previously submitted student work.

    We have also created a Turnitin Test Area, so that you can check your work before formally submitting it. This should help you to ensure that you correctly reference any sources you use in your work.

    Other assignments, particularly in the Institute of the Arts, will have alternative submission requirements. Your tutors will tell you what is required.

  • Digital Skills and FREE SOFTWARE


    dl_office, orange cartoon of microsoft word icon Free Microsoft Office Office 365 Pro is available to all students to download and install on up to 5 personally owned devices. 
    dl_lil, orange cartoon of LinkedIn logo Linkedin Learning

    Free access to over 10000 online courses in subjects that include IT, business and the arts. Gain new skills and evidence that skill by earning a certificate for every short course you complete. 

    Upskill with LiL is a booklet that contains information and links to lots of useful courses that will help you to study from home, get to grips with office tools & software and prepare you for your future employment.

    remote_desktop, remote_desktop icon Remote Desktop The new Student Remote Desktop Service allows you to access a specially created university computer via your web browser. We have installed a range of software on this computer including SPSS, AtlasTi, Office365, Refworks, MS Visio and more. You will need to follow some instructions to get your access setup to use.
    bug-50, Sophos Security Remote working means many people are using their personal computers for business purposes. To help you stay secure, all Sophos customers (the University of Cumbria is a customer) can protect their employees' (and students) personal PCs and Macs for free with Sophos Home Commercial Edition software for the duration of the current lockdown. See the FREE Sophos Security tab on the Educational Discounts page for details of how to get your free copy. 
    photoshop-50, Free Adobe Suite Adobe have temporarily made the entire CC Suite available to download and use until 6th July 2020. See the FREE Adobe CC Suite tab on the Educational Discounts page for details of how to get your free copy. 
    dl_mobile, orange cartoon of 2 mobile phones Mobile Apps

    There are a range of mobile apps available to support your studies. These include Microsoft Office tools, Student Hub, Blackboard, Linkedin Learning and more... Download these free apps to your mobile devices (including tablets and Chromebooks) to study more efficiently across all of your devices.

    data-sheet spss,   SPSS Download

    You will be pleased to know that it is now possible to download SPSS rather than rely on the CDs in the Library.

    Please contact the IT Servicedesk in the first instance who will send you the necessary information.

    Phone: 01228 888888
    Email: (using your student email account)

    dl_it, orange cartoon of a mouse being clicked Digital Capabilities There is a lot of help and advice relating to your digital skills/digital capabilities. You can also use the site search (top of this page) to look for specific products, services and systems e.g. Blackboard, Turnitin, etc.


  • Scanning and Submitting (Official) Documents

    For some documentation and paperword, that was traditionally presented as a paper hardcopy - you will now need to scan these documents and send them to the university via email or other electronic means.

    Please see Scanning and submitting documents for more details.

  • Getting Help - Contact Us

    ServiceQuick Contact
    dl_it, orange cartoon of a mouse being clicked IT Service Desk for all things related to IT, passwords, logins and access to systems.
    dl_library, orange cartoon of a library Libraries for all things library; including access to other libraries (SCONUL) and postal loans. Full contact details for each library can be found on the Library Locations pages or use the Quick Contact email address.
    dl_study, orange cartoon of books on a shelf Study Skills - Skills@Cumbria is here to help you develop your academic skills.
    dl_pad, orange cartoon of a cog with a small checklist in front Programme Administration (PAd) for everything related to your course, progress, attendance and assessments. Contact the PAd at the campus where your course is registered. Contact the PAd
  • Health and Wellbeing

    BWW_Button_2019, BWW_Button_2019Our Mental Health and Wellbeing service is available to all of our students, no matter where you are studying from.

    See the Health and Wellbeing pages for help, advice and guidance.

    Book an online consultation with one of our trained counsellors.

    Sign up to Big White Wall - online peer to peer support.


    Basic Hygiene to help prevent infection

    Perfect example of hand washing using black ink: 


    Health and Wellbeing Blog

    The University of Cumbria Mental Health and Wellbeing team blog shares help, advice and insights to support you and your wellbeing:

  • University Support Services

Edit page