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Blackboard is a Virtual Learning Environment, or VLE. It is used by tutors (referred to as ‘Instructors’ on Blackboard) to deliver courses and learning support material to students. Throughout these guides the term ‘course’ will refer to a University course or module, as Blackboard uses the term ‘course’ for both.

Accessing Blackboard

To access Blackboard you must have a University network account.

There are two main routes into Blackboard:

  • Through the Student Hub which will automatically log you into Blackboard (preferred method) when you select the Blackboard tile
  • Directly to Blackboard where you will need to choose the correct login button for your account type and then enter your student number as your username (staff use network username) and your network password
    BBLogin, blackboard login buttons
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  • I can't login?

    If you experience problems, for example you cannot log in, please check your login details and try again. It is surprising how many people type a wrong letter or character when in a hurry. If you enter your login details incorrectly 3 times, your account will be locked in order to protect you and your account from non-authorised people. Also check that the Caps Lock is not on - passwords are case-sensitive.

    If you can still log into the Student Hub, but not Blackboard, then there might be a problem with Blackboard.

    If you can't log into any university systems, then your account may have been locked.

    If you are still having difficulty, please contact the IT Service Desk (01228 88 88 88) itservicedesk@cumbria.ac.uk

  • Home Screen and Tabs

    Once logged in, you will see a page similar to this:

    BBMyInstitution, screenshot of blackboard

    MyBb

    Your Blackboard landing page is called MyBb and contains:

    My Courses

    These are all of the modules and/or programmes that you are currently enrolled on. It is usual for you to be able to see some of your modules from previous years of study e.g. if you are in the 2nd year - your 1st year modules will often still be accessible.

    My Announcements

    All of your course, module and university Announcements in one place. These will often be messages from your tutors (events, room changes, suggested news stories or other timely reading, etc.).

    University Notice Board

    The University Notice Board is used to tell you about things that are either useful for or affect ALL students. At the time of writing, the University Notice Board is reminding you about your FREE access to Linkedin Learning's vast catalogue of video-based online courses.

    Accessibility Statement

    We are trying to make everything we do, accessible to as many people as possible. This statement declares our intent and highlights any areas where we still have work to do.

    Students

    BB Student Tab, screenshot of blackboard

    The Students tab in Blackboard is very important and includes: 

    Information Services and Student Support

    This block of coloured squares provides direct access to a wide range of student support services, the Ask a Librarian (out of hours services), Head Start and the Turnitin Test Area. 

    Quick Links to Forms

    Some useful forms and related information:

    • Extenuating Circumstances
    • Coursework Extension
    • Reassessments
    • Reassessment Papers

    Blackboard Profile Image

    How to add your own image or avatar to your Blackboard profile.

    Blackboard App

    Get the Blackboard app for your iOS or Android devices.

    UCSU

    The Students' Union welcome and information section. 

    Personalise Page

    This additional button, in the lower half of the top menu bar, allows you to choose the look and feel of your Blackboard.

  • Blackboard Ally - Accessibility

    We don’t all read and consume information in the same way as each other and this can be especially true when trying to digest new concepts or complex ideas.

    Blackboard Ally is a tool that supports your tutors in making all of their content accessible, but also allows you to view or hear documents in a range of alternative formats (PDF, HTML, ePub, Audio and Braille). Blackboard Ally is available in all new (2019-20) modules in Blackboard.

    Blackboard Ally

  • Assessment / Turnitin

    Assessment in Blackboard may be in the form of blogs, wikis, quizzes or discussion boards. It is, however, more likely that you will have to submit a written piece of work through Turnitin.

    Turnitin

    The University uses Turnitin, 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. Tutors will grade and comment upon your work within Turnitin. When all work for your group/module has been marked, provisional grades and feedback will be released for you to view within Blackboard.

    Final grades will not normally be confirmed until after an Assessment Board.

    See Turnitin for more information about submitting work, viewing the "originality" of your work and retrieving feedback.

     

    You should read all about Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism.

  • Blogs

    Blogs are a useful student tool. Your tutor will set up a blog within Blackboard that may be for the whole course, for a smaller group or individual work. Blogs are often used for reflective writing or to group together questions that you may have about your course. Blogs, like discussion boards are displayed chronologically, with each entry or ‘post’ showing from newest first. Comments can also be made on each blog post. Your work on Blackboard is in a secure space and only those on the course can log into see the course blog, wiki or discussion board.

    Blackboard Help - Blogs

     

  • Discussions / Forums

    The discussion board is a tool for sharing thoughts and ideas about class materials. It is also used for Flexible Distributed Learning (FDL) to allow students and lecturers to discuss topics, research findings, assignments and reflection - from distant locations.

    Depending on how your instructor has set up your course, you access the discussion board from either the course menu or a course area, such as a content area, learning module, lesson plan, or folder. Your lecturer will tell you where it is located within your course.

    The main Discussion Board page displays a list of available discussion forums. A forum is an area where users discuss a topic or a group of related topics.

    The Blackboard discussion board allows for threaded discussions to take place in your Blackboard course. The board can be split up into Forums, which may be used to separate discussions on different topics. Within each forum users may post threads (as in “threads of a conversation”), which are the conversations themselves. A user may post a new thread (usually a question or statement calling for a response) and other users may then reply to that thread, creating a discussion.

    1: Main Discussion Board page

    When you have located the link to your Course Discussion Board - click on it to open the Main Discussion Board page.

    BB Discussions 1, screenshot of BlackBoard discussion board 

    A list of forums available will be shown. Click on the name of the forum to enter it.

    2: Threads

    You will be presented with a list of "threads". Threads are individual topics of conversation. A thread may have a number of messages within it - this is displayed to the right.

    Click on a thread to read it. 

    BB Discussions 2, screenshot of BlackBoard discussion board 

    3: Viewing a thread and the messages within

    You will be presented with a list of the messages in the forum. Note the way the replies are indented.

    Below the list of threads the first message of the thread is viewable, you may view other messages in the thread by clicking on them, or view more than one at a time by ticking a number of threads and clicking on Collect.

    BB Discussions 3, screenshot of BlackBoard thread detal page 

    4: Replying to a message

    You can reply to a message by clicking on the reply button.

    Note that it is possible to give a message a rating out of five if this has been enabled by the course instructor. If the instructor has enabled it you may use the quote button to reply to the post, including a quote from it.

    BB Discussions 4, screenshot of blackboard  

    5: Add a new thread

    You can start a new thread (i.e. a different topic), provided this has been enabled by the course instructor, by clicking on Create Thread.

    BB Discussions 5, screenshot of BlackBoard discussion board 

    6: Adding a message

    When you reply to a message or create a new thread a text box will appear into which you should type your message.

    BB Discussions 6, screenshot of blackboard discussion 

    7: Pasting from Microsoft Word

    Note that if you wish to paste a large amount of formatted text from Word it is recommended to either

    • try using the Paste from word button
    • or paste your text into Notepad and then paste into the text box

    BB Discussions 7, screenshot of BlackBoard discussion board 

    8: Submit message

    When you have completed your message - click on Submit.

    Note that clicking on Save draft will save a draft of your message, but no one will be able to view it. It is recommended to only use Submit.

    BB Discussions 8, screenshot of blackboard discussions 

  • Wikis

    A wiki is a webpage with multiple authors. At the University, wikis are often used as a way for students to work collaboratively when they are not necessarily in the same location.

    When using a wiki, students can edit, delete and create new pages. All edits on a page can be traced to the individual who made the change. You will also be able to comment on pages.

    Overview: The Wiki Page

    Almost every aspect of a wiki can be edited and you need to familiarise yourself with the different options. It is very hard to ‘break’ a wiki as all changes can be undone or changed again. So feel free to experiment with the buttons to see what they do.

    To get started making your wiki content, click on the edit button to the right of the page name.

    BB Wiki 1, screenshot of blackboard wiki 

    To find out information about your wiki look at the information bar on the right hand side of the screen detailing page names, contributors and activity. You can use tags to identify the content of your wiki page to other users. A tag is a keyword used to describe your page. The tags area to the right hand side of the screen includes all tags used in every page of the wiki and is a quick way to search all parts of the wiki.

    Overview: Comments

    To add comments to a page click into the comments area, add a title and your comment. As a student you will sometimes have permission to delete comments, this is not always the case. Think carefully before commenting on another student’s work and ensure that you are making constructive comments.

    BB Wiki 2, screenshot of blackboard wiki 

    Overview: The Wiki Editing Toolbar

    The best way to find out what the wiki toolbar buttons do is to experiment and see what is available. It is common practice with wikis to add links to pictures, files, websites and other pages within the wiki.

    BB Wiki 3, screenshot of blackboard wiki

    Help & Guides

  • Blackboard Mobile

    Blackboard App icon, blackboard pencil iconFinally, if you want to access Blackboard on your mobile: http://help.blackboardmobile.com, the Blackboard app is available for Android and Apple devices.

     

    Click on the following buttons to go directly to the App download from your App Store:

    Play Store button,

    App Store button, Apple 'download the app store' button

    Once installed, open the app and search for "cumbria", then select "University of Cumbria"

    Click “Web Login” and then “Click to Login” on the page that follows. This will take you to the University’s Sign-in Page. Enter your details and you will then be taken into the app.

    Blackboard App Help

     

    Blackboard Learn - the previous version of the Blackboard app was called Blackboard Learn. You may still have this app installed on your device, but it is no longer supported and does not work properly anymore. Please remove Blackboard Learn and install the new Blackboard App.

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