For most students, the VLE is the online home of your studies. You might also hear the platform name, ‘Blackboard’.
Each module has its own site run by the lecturer which contains things like:
This page will help you find your way around the key aspects of using the VLE.
We surveyed nearly 2000 students and found that many of you didn't know these useful tips:
We recommend using either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browsers on a Windows or Mac computer to access Blackboard Learn. You can also use the Blackboard app (but we don't recommend using the app for assessment-related tasks).
Find your way around Blackboard Learn:
You can also view this as a written guide:
The Courses page contains module sites full of teaching resources, and other support sites such as the Academic Integrity Tutorial and Turnitin Tutorial.
You can customise this page in a number of ways:
Filter courses by academic year
View courses in a list or grid layout
Search courses to quickly find the one you need
Adjust how many courses are shown per page
5. Click the star next to a site to Favourite it, which pins it to the top of the list
VLE sites/modules that aren’t quite ready yet will either not show at all in the Courses area of the VLE, or will show but be listed as Private.
Each module leader can choose when to make their sites available. This usually happens by the start of the first week of the term it’s being taught in, but it can vary.
If you need to find out specifically when a site will be available, or the site isn't available after the start of term, please contact the module leader. You can find their details on the relevant module catalogue entry.
Lecturers often send course updates and other important information through Blackboard Learn Announcements.
Within an individual module site, Announcements is often a module's homepage. You can also open the Announcements from the module's left hand menu.
You can also access Announcements from all your sites in one place in the Activity Stream.
The Activity Stream also has other notifications from sites, such as:
Find out more about Activity Stream and adapting your notification settings:
Selecting a module will make it open in a layer over the Home Page of the VLE. (Your modules are called 'courses' on Blackboard). To return to the Home Page, click the X in the top left corner of the screen.
Across the top of your module site, you'll see Content, Calendar, Announcements, Discussions, Gradebook, Messages and Groups. Just click where you want to go!
The left hand pane shows your Course Staff and Details & Actions pane.
The Course Content area is where you will want to focus and spend most of your time. In this area you will find
Some items will be held within Learning Modules (LM) or Folders. Click the title and it may expand to show a list of further items. Click the first item to open it. Look for an arrow in the top left to navigate to the next item in the LM or folder.
Click on a file to preview it in Blackboard. (Works for PDF and Microsoft Office files).
The next available option allows you to download alternative formats.
Finally the last option is where you can download the original file.
Along the top of the Course Content is a search icon. It looks like a magnifying glass. Clicking the search icon will allow you to search for items.
You can also use the Blackboard app on a mobile device:
(see the guide below for instructions on setting up the app)
The app is useful for quickly checking course content, announcements and participating in Discussion Forums.
Don't use the Blackboard app for any assessment activity!
Find out more:
For each module you take, you will find at least one reading list on the Yorkshare VLE. These lists link directly through to YorSearch, helping you to locate print copies, and giving you quick access to any electronic texts. Scanned extracts from library books are also linked where copyright permits. View the Reading List Practical Guide.
Many issues encountered with the VLE can be resolved by these steps:
More details on how to do this:
If you can't see a module site, or an area within a particular site that you expect to, it's likely that the staff member hasn't made the site or content visible to students yet. Sites should be made visible in the first week of term at the latest.
If you want to know for certain when a site will be available, you should contact the module tutor. To find their details, visit your department's webpage and select the Staff or People section in the navigation.
You may be able to find advice on Blackboard's Help pages: