Skip to Main Content
University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Learning Technology - Practical Guide

Getting started with Yorkshare VLE

Available resources to assist with students during their time at University.

Getting started with Yorkshare VLE

For most students, Yorkshare is the online home of your studies. It's also often called 'the VLE', or you might hear the platform name, ‘Blackboard’.

Each module has its own site run by the lecturer which contains things like:

  • course materials like lecture slides, videos, reading lists, quizzes etc.
  • links to video conferencing tools for real-time online seminars and lectures.
  • interactive tools for discussion and collaborative work.
  • places to submit assignments.

This page will help you find your way around the key aspects of using Yorkshare.

Yorkshare is the home of your online modules - student using the VLE with a screenreader

Access the VLE

Getting started

Use the right browser

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: 

Blackboard Learn - Navigation (Students) [YouTube]

You can also view this as a written guide:

Other tips to get started:

Why can't I see/access my module sites?

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.

A course link in the tile format showing a padlock and 'Private' overlaid on the image.A course link in the banner format showing a padlock and 'Private' below the site name.

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.

Navigating Module Sites

Start off with the left hand menu - this is where you'll find links to the different areas of your module sites. Just click where you want to go!

Common areas within module sites (your modules may not have all of these):

  • Announcements: important updates (often a module site' homepage)
  • Course materials or links to each week's materials
  • Replay Content: lecture recordings and other video resources
  • Collaborate Ultra: online seminar rooms and recordings
  • Reading Lists: the important books, chapters and articles you'll need for the module
  • Assessments: instructions and assignment submission points

To go back to the module site's homepage, click the Home icon after the site's name at the top of the left hand menu.

Showing the Home icon next to module name.

You can easily see every item on a module site:

  1. On the left hand menu, click the folder icon (top right).
  2. In the new window, click the plus icon to show all items.

Demonstrating steps 1 and 2 to show module structure.

The left hand menu looks a bit different depending on the size of your screen:

Large screens

  • The left hand menu is open by default. To hide it, hover over the right edge of the menu then click on the bar/tab that appears.
  • To show the left hand menu, click on the bar/tab along the far left edge of the screen.

Tab to show/hide left hand menu.

Small screens & mobile browser

Items might appear in a different order on your mobile!

  • The left hand menu is hidden by default. To show it, click the 'Show Course Menu' icon Show Course Menu icon near the top left.
  • If you can't see the 'Show Course Menu' icon, you'll probably see a bar along the left side of the screen. Click/tap this to show the menu.
  • To hide the left hand menu, click the 'Hide Course Menu' icon Hide Course Menu icon that appears in the same place.

The Show and Close course menu icons.

Video demonstration of navigating around a module site:

Accessing and navigating Yorkshare modules [Panopto video]

Announcements & the Activity Stream

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.

Notification list including upcoming assignment submission date, today's notification about reading list, and recent announcement and marks posting.

The Activity Stream also has other notifications from sites, such as:

  • new materials or sites
  • due dates in the next seven days
  • marks posted for assessments within Blackboard

Find out more about Activity Stream and adapting your notification settings:

Blackboard App

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!

Navigating the Blackboard App

  • The first time you open the app you'll need to log in - see teh guide below for instructions.
  • Click a module from the Courses list to open its Course Materials page, containing Announcements, Course Content and other items.
  • The Course Content page is the equivalent of the left hand menu on the browser site (items might appear in a different order) - choose the area you want to look at.
  • To go back, use the back arrow at the top left of the screen or the usual back function on your mobile.

Course Content menu in Blackboard app

Find out more:

Yorkshare VLE troubleshooting

Help with common issues

Many issues encountered with the Yorkshare VLE can be resolved by these steps:

  • Make sure you're using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser.
  • Clear your cookies and cache.
  • Adjust your cookie settings (for Google Chrome)
  • Disable any ad-blockers

More details on how to do this:

Problems logging in

Module visibility issues

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.

Dealing with other issues

You may be able to find advice on Blackboard's Help pages: