Digital Learning for students

This page draws together key pieces of guidance on how to use the digital learning tools at the University of Sheffield.


Blackboard is the online space where you can engage with your course materials, access online sessions, submit assessments, receive marks and feedback, and access a variety of other tools to support your learning.

Blackboard for students (menu)

The first 3 links in the Blackboard navigation menu: Digital Resources, user menu, activity stream

Working through course materials?

As part of your course you will be expected to work through a range of materials, including documents, videos, and items on your Reading List.

Visit 301's guide for strategies and ideas on studying effectively online, including choosing a study space, scheduling, setting goals, and more.

301: Studying effectively online  301: How to use Encore lecture captures

The Module content section in a Blackboard course with media player controls underneath

Participating in an online session?

The majority of your online lectures will be hosted in Blackboard Collaborate, which is accessed through the course where the session is taking place.

Some sessions may be hosted in Google Meet. Please visit IT Services' Google Meet pages for guidance on using this platform.

Collaborate for students (menu)

 The chat, participant, share content and settings buttons in Collaborate with the logo above

Visit 301's guidance for information about how to get the most out of your seminars and lectures.

301: Getting the most out of seminars     301: Getting the most out of online lectures

Submitting an assessment?

There are several different ways which assignments can be submitted to Blackboard depending on what your tutor has set up. Follow the links below for guidance on submitting to each assessment platform.

The logos of Blackboard, Turnitin, Crowdmark, PebblePad and Numbas

Our assessment guides have additional information on how to tackle different assessment formats, try out submitting online, check your IT setup, extra support available and more.

Campus Based Online Exams  Flexible Non-invigilated Online Assessments   301: Online assessment

Digital accessibility

Digital accessibility is the ability of a website, mobile app or electronic resource to be easily navigated and understood by everyone. Our digital learning tools have built-in features to enable this and to help you get the most out of your learning materials.

It is also important to ensure your own work follows accessibility guidelines in order to provide equal access to your audience regardless of their individual circumstances.

Digital accessibility for students homepage

The Blackboard Ally logo with the 4 colour coded accessibility indicators underneat

Digital learning tools

To support your studies online your tutors will use a range of tools to help facilitate your learning. Below is a short description and link to the guidance menu for each tool.


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.

All of the below tools are accessed and operated through Blackboard.


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.

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.


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.


The University lecture capture service, which also has tools to help facilitate interactions within lecture and create your own notes.


An electronic portfolio tool that can be used to create reflections and complete workbooks as part of your studies.


An assessment tool that allows you to submit handwritten work as PDF or image files.


An accessibility tool that allows you to access your learning content in a variety of formats to suit your learning preferences.


A tool used to gather participant feedback about specific questions posed during live sessions.

Troubleshooting and support

If you encounter any issues when using the above tools, please visit our troubleshooting and support page.

Here you will find a series of troubleshooting steps that can resolve many common issues, information about how to contact us, and a list of information that you can provide us to help solve your query.

Troubleshooting and support

Additional resources

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.