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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

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, a page similar to the one below will be shown:

    There are various content blocks and menu tabs, on this page, which have been created to help you find what you need:

    Content Blocks

    My Institution (home screen)

    This is the Blackboard landing page (as shown above) which contains access to:

    • Tools menu
      • Announcements
      • Calendar
      • Tasks
      • ICON
      • Timetables
      • The Student Hub
    • My Announcements
      • All of your course, module and university Announcements in one place
    • My Courses
      • A list of all of the modules on which you are currently enrolled
    • Libraries, Learning & Student Support
      • Useful links to the library, learning resources and student support departments
    • Blackboard Mobile
      • Links to the various app stores to pick up the latest Blackboard Mobile App
    • Other optional content
      • Available through clicking the "Add Module" button in the menu bar

    Menu Tabs

    My Institution

    See above

    Courses

    This is the complete, searchable, list of courses/modules that are registered on our Blackboard system. This is usually of more use to staff, but can be used to find specific self-enrol courses such as MiCumbria. 

    Skills@Cumbria

    Access to resources and support for your academic, digital and numeracy skills; including:

    • Academic reading and writing
    • Referencing
    • Using Microsoft Office
    • Presentations
    • The Turnitin Test Area

    Jobs & Careers

    Everything about our Careers & Employability Service; including the Career Ahead employability award. 

    Community

    There are a small number of Blackboard Communities for both staff and students. You will usually be invited to join a specific relevant Community, rather than searching one out. 

    Reassessment

    This area holds all of the current resit papers for students who need to be reassessed in a piece of coursework. After each of the Assessment Boards, you will be notified by email if you have any modules which need reassessing. This is where you will find the details and requirements for that reassessment. 

    UCSU

    The Students' Union information page. 

    Personalise Page

    This additional button, below the tabs, allows you to choose the look and feel of your Blackboard.

  • Announcements

    The My Announcements content block will usually sit in the middle of the My Institution page of Blackboard.

    This collects all of your course and module Announcements together in a single place for easy reference.

    Blackboard Announcements are used by your tutors to deliver timely information to all of the students on a course. This may include last minute room changes, links to new articles, links to new research, tasks for you to complete and many other things.

    View My Announcements

    Blackboard Announcements can be easily accessed via these three locations:

    My Institution Page

    When you login to Blackboard - you are usually taken directly to the My Institution page. This is like a Homepage for your Blackboard experience. This area is split into content blocks (called Modules) and in the central column - you will find the My Announcements content area:

     

    Tools Menu

    Also on the My Institution page - you will find the Tools menu (upper-left of the screen). These Tools include a link to My Announcements that will take you to a dedicated page that only shows any current announcements:

     

    Individual Courses / Modules

    The landing / Home page of all of your Course and Module sites is set (by default) to be the Announcements page for that site.

    Tutors do have the ability to rename and/or move the Announcements page, but most will follow one of these rules:

    • If the page is renamed - it will still remain as the Homepage for that Blackboard site.
    • If the Announcements page is moved and no longer the Homepage - it will usually retain the "Announcements" name - so you can find it in the left-hand menu.
    • If the Announcements page is renamed and moved - the tutor is obliged to give it a name that makes sense i.e.
      • News
      • Updates
      • Read Me
  • 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.

    Watch this video from the University of Tennessee and find out how to find and edit blogs on Blackboard:

    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.

     

    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. 

     

    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.

     

    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.

     

    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.

     

    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.

     

    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

     

    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.

     

  • 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.

     

    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.

     

    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.

    Help & Guides

  • Blackboard Mobile

    Finally, 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:

    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.