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The majority of your communication with the university will be via digital services and platforms. You should check your university email account regularly as this is the main means of contact from the university. Learn about your university email on our Outlook 365 page

You can find our full range of IT guidance on our digital learning page

Please familiarise yourself with these tools and contact the IT Service Desk if you have any problems:

  • Blackboard

    Blackboard is the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) used at the University of Cumbria. This is where you will find all your taught modules, teaching materials, presentations, module guides, assignment descriptions and assignments submission areas (Turnitin). Check the announcements area of your module sites for any updates from your tutors. These may range from room changes to job opportunities. Blackboard also hosts the Blackboard Collaborate webinar software and the discussion forums used in some courses. Getting familiar with Blackboard at the start of your course will help you feel in control of your learning.

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

    An overview of Blackboard is available on our Blackboard page.

    You can find out about alternative formats and accessibility options within Blackboard by accessing our Blackboard Ally page.

  • Blackboard Collaborate - Webinars

    Blackboard Collaborate is a virtual classroom that is used for 'live' teaching sessions, webinars and video conferencing within the Blackboard learning platform. It may be used by your tutor to offer live interactive elements to your distance learning. You may also be able to view, pause and rewind pre-recorded lessons from within your module Collaborative area. 

    In addition, The Skills@Cumbria Team offer a range of study skills webinars via Blackboard Collaborate.

    You will have meaningful learning experiences if you come prepared for study and expect to participate. Watch this video to find out more about how to make the most of an online class. 

    Online classes video, This video introduces how to make the most of online classes.

    Further help and guidance is available from our Blackboard Collaborate page.


  • Blackboard - Discussions and Forums

    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 could 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 for the top 5 tips on how to participate effectively in discussion boards.

     Learning from discussion boards,

    Additional instructions are available from the Blackboard page of My.Cumbria.


  • Microsoft Teams – Webinars and one-to-one appointments

    Some lecturers use Teams webinars which allow the organiser to invite multiple people into an online conversation that they will lead. These work as an online classroom much like Blackboard Collaborate, with one or more tutors and multiple students. 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 prefer. The ability to contribute vocally (via built in microphone or headset) is recommended.

    Online classes video, This video introduces how to make the most of online classes.

    The Skills@Cumbria Team offer one-to-one study skills appointments via Microsoft Teams. Come prepared for these meetings with questions you want to ask and consider sharing your work in advance of the meeting or on screen within the meeting.

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

  • Learning from video

    Your Blackboard site may include a range of different types of resources for learning. Video is a common option for all students and may cover short videos about assignments or recordings of lectures. You will be directed when to watch videos as part of your module. Many university videos are hosted on Microsoft Stream and you will be prompted to log-in via your university account. Watch our guide to learning from video to get the most out of academic videos with an active mindset.



    Learning from video , Introduction to active learning strategies with video

    The Skills@Cumbria Team offer a range of videos to support your study skills. Browse our SkillsTV channel to explore the different topics covered.

  • Accessibility when learning online

    You will encounter lots of different types of software and digital resources at the university. It is useful for everyone to be aware of different accessibility resources.

    The Assistive Technology page brings together a wide range of resources that are available to students at the university. The page covers eresources, apps for learning, assistive technology, and loan equipment.  

    View accessibility settings for Blackboard via the Blackboard Ally resource.

  • Considering your study preferences and planning your time

    Setting up a suitable space for study is an important part of preparing to do your university work, this could be on campus, or at home. Identifying your own study preferences regarding your environment and time management can mean that you have a more successful experience. Our short video introduces ways to consider your space, how to plan your week and make the most of small units of time.  

    Organise your study,

    Successful students take time to consider how and when they will study. Our time management page will explore this topic in more detail.   

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