Digital Learning Update 2020/21

Blackboard (MOLE) renamed Blackboard

The University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is now known simply as Blackboard. This change is reflected in MUSE’s services menu and the Digital Learning Team’s Blackboard help pages.

There is no requirement to update links to old MOLE help web pages immediately. Any existing links to will redirect users to the new website location. However colleagues are encouraged to update departmental handbooks and web pages when convenient, removing references to MOLE.

Setting up your Blackboard courses for the new academic year

Blackboard navigation showing how to make courses available for coming academic year

It is important for staff to check their Blackboard courses are ready for the start of teaching. Staff need to carry out the following processes to ensure their courses are ready for students: 

  • Check you can access your 2020/21 course in Blackboard's Courses menu
  • Check staff enrolments - only Module Lead Instructors and Module Administrators are enrolled automatically
  • Check your teaching material is ready - content is not automatically copied forward from the previous academic year
  • Make your course available to students

Setting up your Blackboard course for the new academic year

Laptop and headseat Training Sessions and Support

The Digital Learning Team are offering a number of training sessions throughout September and October covering the following topics:

  • Using Blackboard for online course delivery
  • Virtual classrooms with Blackboard Collaborate
  • Creating video content for learning and teaching
  • Introduction to digital accessibility and digital resources
  • Blackboard Tests for formative assessment

Book a training session from the University LMS

Digital Learning Advice Slots are available on a one-to-one basis, Monday to Friday, to discuss the use of digital technology in learning and teaching, tailored to your specific needs and requirements. 

Also the Digital Learning Helpdesk is staffed Monday to Friday, 8am - 5pm, for queries relating to using digital learning tools. Please email

Blackboard Collaborate Test Room

New and returning students can access a Blackboard Collaborate test room to check their connection. During the time slots below, support will be available within the test room to help students test their connection, and troubleshoot any issues with their microphone or webcam.

Intro Week

Tuesday 22 September 2020, 3-4pm

Thursday 24 September 2020, 3-4pm

Friday 25 September 2020, 3-4pm

Week 1

Monday 28 September 2020, 3-4pm

Wednesday 30 September 2020, 3-4pm

Please note, all times listed are BST.

Blackboard Collaborate test room details


An example of an Eesysoft pop up contextual help message in Blackboard

We have launched new software, called Eesysoft, which will add useful contextual help as users navigate through Blackboard. You'll begin to see pop up help messages like the one above, and this will be expanded over the coming weeks.

Programme Course Requests

Programme level courses can be used to contain information that is common to a number of modules, allowing staff to have a broader view of a programme. These courses complement the normal module view and work towards the institutional directive towards programme level approach. 

If you require a Blackboard course for your programme, this is available on request. Students at all levels in a programme will be automatically enrolled on to the course. 

To find out more about programme level courses, click the link below.  

Programme Level Courses

Digital Accessibility

It is important to make sure your course content accessible, and that you are aware of recent changes to legislation regarding public sector web content.

Full guidance on creating accessible learning and teaching materials, including how to use the Blackboard Ally accessibility tool, can be found here:

Digital Accessibility in Learning and Teaching

Library Resource Lists and Subject Guides

From your Blackboard courses you can link to Library resource lists and subject guides, to ensure students can find all their reading materials in one place, and explore other useful resources to support their studies.

Library Resource Lists

Library Subject Guides

Elevate Learning and Teaching Essentials: Digital Learning

Elevate provides an essentials resource covering key aspects of learning and teaching practice at The University of Sheffield. This resource is strongly recommended to colleagues new to teaching or the University, and also provides a useful refresher for existing teaching staff. 

The digital learning essentials guide introduces the core tools supported by the University, covering Blackboard, electronic assessment and feedback, and interactive classrooms. 

Digital Learning: The Essentials