Digital Learning Tools

Filming a lecture

The Digital Learning Team supports the use of a range of tools that provide opportunities to enhance the learning and teaching of our students with technology. This includes Blackboard (MOLE), the University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and assessment and collaboration tools that are accessed by learners via Blackboard.

Below are links to detailed user guides. For queries about any of the tools listed below, please contact the Digital Learning helpdesk at

Blackboard (MOLE)

Blackboard (MOLE) is the University of Sheffield's Virtual Learning Environment. It is the system where the online part of a student's programme of study is offered, providing a means to share content, manage assessments, and give opportunities for collaboration and communication. All other tools in this section are also accessed by staff and students via Blackboad (MOLE).


Turnitin is an assessment tool that allows for online submission of text-based work, marking of work, and distribution of feedback and grades. It includes a powerful text-matching feature that flags up potential issues of plagiarism in student submissions.


PebblePad is a flexible electronic portfolio system that allows learners to reflect on their practice, log achievements and collate evidence. It can be used by teachers to set assignments, using structured Workbooks, marked using PebblePad's ATLAS function.


Kaltura is the University of Sheffield's media hosting solution, allowing staff to host and share video and audio content in a secure and flexible setting. It also gives opportunities for assessment, giving the chance to create graded video quizzes, and allowing students to submit the videos to Blackboard (MOLE) assignments.

Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate is a new tool used for hosting online webinars and virtual classroom activities. 

Adobe Connect

Adobe Connect was retired in June 2019 - staff should use the Blackboard Collaborate tool instead.


Encore is the University of Sheffield's lecture capture solution that is installed in teaching spaces across campus. Encore records the content that is displayed on the projector in the room, as well as the audio from the presenter. Recordings are then processed and published online for the students to revisit and revise.


Tightly integrated into Blackboard (MOLE), Ally enables students to access their learning content in a way that works best for them. It also helps staff better understand accessibility.


TurningPoint is an audience response system that is used at the university to create interactive and engaging teaching content. It allows you to collect responses, feedback and choices using mobile devices, desktop or clicker devices.


WebPA is a tool that allows for the peer assessment of groups. (Note - WebPA is now closed as a service for new users and these pages remain for reference).