Student Guidance for Online Teaching

Student working at a laptop

This is a challenging time for students and staff, and a response to a rapidly-changing situation. As you transition to your teaching being delivered online we want to ensure that you are receiving the support you need to make the most of your study experience.


Studying remotely

To help with studying remotely the 301: Academic Skills Centre provides the Study Skills Online pages, which include a range of resources designed to help you stay on top of your workload and keep making positive progress in your university study. These include: 

Guidance for studying effectively online

Getting the most out of online lectures

Online communication skills

You can also find IT Services guidance on studying from home or off campus which provides advice on accessing software, resources and information about how to stay safe online.

You can also access a wide range of online courses via LinkedIn Learning. Courses cover a diverse range of subjects from IT software and systems, business skills and creative media. All courses are online and can be undertaken on or off campus.


Digital learning tools

To support your studies online your tutors will use a range of tools to help facilitate your learning. Some of these you may have used already in your studies but some may be new to you.

An overview of some of the tools you may use in your studies include:

  • Blackboard - The University's virtual learning environment (VLE). Which will be used for a range of purposes from storing learning materials to communicating and collaborating with your tutors and peers.
  • Blackboard Collaborate - An online webinar tool which will be used by tutors to facilitate live online lectures and seminar activity. This is accessed in most cases in your Blackboard courses.
  • Encore - The University lecture capture service, which also has tools to help facilitate interactions within lecture and create your own notes.
  • Turnitin - An assessment tool which can be used to submit your work online. It also checks work for originality and allows tutors to provide marks and feedback.
  • PebblePad - An electronic portfolio tool that can be used to create reflections and complete workbooks as part of your studies.
  • Kaltura - Kaltura can be used to submit media work within Blackboard. All students can upload audio and video files into a personal media library. Use Kaltura Capture to create screen recordings, or to record video from your webcam.

Your departmental teams, and Digital Learning staff, are here to support you during this period. If you have any queries or concerns specific to teaching or assessment, please contact your tutors or department (as detailed in any communications you receive).

For any technical issues with digital learning tools you can contact the Digital Learning Helpdesk, Monday to Friday, 08:00 - 17:00: digital.learning@sheffield.ac.uk

Please see some of the initial questions we will ask during support queries, to help us deal with your query more efficiently.





Check your IT setup

In order for you to fully engage with your teaching materials online, you will need the following access:

  • Computer
  • Internet access
  • Microphone and webcam - if you are asked to participate in a Blackboard Collaborate session, Google Meet session, or other form of webinar or virtual meeting

To check your browser for compatibility with Blackboard, please see the Blackboard Browser Checker.

If you experience any issues with Blackboard Collaborate, please visit our Collaborate troubleshooting page.  

Changing your email address in Blackboard

You can now receive Blackboard notifications from your personal email address. If you are in a location, such as China, where you have problems accessing your University email, you have the option to receive important course notifications and departmental communications to a personal email address.

If you need to do this simply add your personal email address to Blackboard and your Daily Notifications and any other notifications from your department will be delivered directly to that address. If you don’t update your email address, notifications will continue to go to your University email.

Other University communications will not be sent to this address. You should continue to check the Student news page for general information for students. 

How to change your email address in Blackboard

An animation showing the instructions below on how to update Blackboard email address

1. Go to www.sheffield.ac.uk
2. Click on My Services, then Blackboard
3. On the left hand menu, click the profile tab (where your name is shown)
4. Under Basic Information, hover over your current email address. A pencil icon will appear.
5. Click the pencil and a slide over menu will appear.
6. Edit the Email field to your personal email address.
7. Click Done at the bottom of the page.
8. Add this address - no-reply@sheffield.ac.uk - to your contacts to ensure you receive notifications.

Please note you may have to check your spam or junk mail folder for Blackboard notifications.

Please see this guidance page to update your Blackboard notification settings, change the frequency of your notifications, and switch your notifications back on if you have muted them. 

Quick links to resources

Please refer to the below information on getting the most out of our digital learning tools and systems: