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Online Learning, 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 


Blackboard is the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) used at the University of Cumbria. This is where you will find all of your taught modules, teaching materials, presentations, module guides, assignment descriptions and assignments submission areas (Turnitin).

Blackboard also host the Blackboard Collaborate webinar software and the discussion forums used in some courses.

Blackboard is available via the Student Hub or you can login directly at:

Webinars - Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate is a virtual classroom that allows you to view, pause and rewind pre-recorded lessons.

It is also used for 'live' teaching sessions, webinars, video conferencing and for integrating in the Blackboard learning platform.

Watch our video on out how to make the most of webinars for your learning.

Help and guidance is available from here: Blackboard Collaborate

Webinars - Microsoft Teams

Skills@Cumbria and some tutors will make use of webinars. These have usually been done using Skype4B (now Microsoft Teams) and allow the organiser to invite multiple people into an online 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 Microsoft Teams and always arrive a few minutes early for a webinar, just so you can check that everything is working ok.

Discussions and Forums in Blackboard

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

Watch our video for some tips on how to participate effectively in discussion boards.

Basic instructions are available from the Blackboard page of My.Cumbria:

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