What is Blackboard (MOLE)?

Blackboard is the University of Sheffield’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Up to the summer of 2019, it was called MOLE (My Online Learning Environment), and you may still hear it referred to under this name.

Blackboard provides a secure environment which gives students access to their course from anywhere in the world.

Developed with flexible learning and teaching styles in mind, Blackboard has over twenty-five tools, ranging from message boards to grading forms, blogs to live virtual classrooms. You should think of your Blackboard course as website to support your teaching activity; not simply a repository to dump PowerPoint Presentations.

Blackboard courses are managed by teaching staff to support learning, teaching and assessment activities. Access to each site is restricted to the staff and students enrolled on it, making it a secure environment.

Courses and Organisations

There are two different types of sites in Blackboard: Courses and Organisations. They are similar in functionality, however they are used differently:

What are known as 'Courses' in Blackboard are used for validated modules. Module-specific learning materials should be put into these. When students are assigned to a module, they are automatically enrolled on the relevant module site. Each unique module should have its own Course. Module leaders are responsible for setting up, managing content and enrolling other module staff onto the Course.

Organisations are used to support programmes, student placements and other purposes. Organisation sites are for communication and support outside of a module context, not for storing module learning materials, meaning they should not contain any information specific to one particular module, as they will be available to all students in the Organisation. Enrolments are done manually by local staff, normally course administrators. No assessment takes place in these sites.

How to access

  1. Login to MUSE
  2. Click on 'My Services'
  3. Click on Blackboard (MOLE)

Please note

By default, members of staff are not automatically given access to all of the University's IT systems (including Blackboard).

Part of the 'new staff' starter process requires a list of required systems to be completed by the new member of staff's Head of Department or Line Manager, and this is then sent to the IT Support team for implementation.

If your IT account has not been set up to include Blackboard, you will need to contact the it-servicedesk@sheffield.ac.uk / ext 21111 to get access.