This quick start guide is intended to show you some of the functionality of the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) powered by Blackboard. It is the first step to getting familiar with the basics of using the system and will sign post you where to find further help and support.
Getting Started & Orientation
Go to https://eat.tees.ac.uk (eat short for eLearning at Tees) and login to the environment using your IT user ID and password. This is the one you use to log in to your work computer and your email.
The first time you login to the system you get a welcome overlay screen informing you of several new features, including the Global Navigation Menu. Click Close on the overlay screen to reveal your Home Tab. You will see the Home screen as shown below.
On your Home tab there are two areas called Current Modules and Previous & Future Modules. They list which modules you are teaching on or participating in. The Current Modules lists all of your currently active modules, while the Previous & Future Modules lists any inactive modules, grouped by academic year. Inactive modules are those from previous academic years and any future modules which are not yet running.
You can also see any Organisations you are enrolled in as well as the Announcements from the modules. The Home tab will show you sets of links which are relevant to you such as new announcements and links to your modules. Current Modules lists your modules for the current academic year. Don’t worry if the module title is grayed out the module leader(s) just have not made it available yet. Upcoming and previous modules will be found under the Previous & Future Modules tab located under the Current Modules tab.
Modules in your Current Modules box are automatically displayed alphabetically and by availability. You can rearrange the module order by selecting a module name and performing a drag and drop to reorder modules in the list.
Module Details & Other Tabs
If any of your modules or personal details are incorrect, you should contact your School admin office. Clicking the Home tab (or the home link in the top of every page) will always bring you back to this screen (as shown above). The Help tab provides help information including service desk details and a browser test. Other tabs may also be available, such as the Students and Library tabs.
The Global Navigation menu can be accessed from anywhere within the system by clicking your name in the top-right corner. The menu provides you with quick access to recently visited modules and several other tools which provide timely information about all of your modules in one convenient location. The number in red next to each icon on the menu indicates the presence of new information from that tool, such as new messages and new posts.
The Bb Overview page will display calendar items immediately due (including assignments) and recent posts (discussion board and blog posts) from your modules.
The Posts page displays all recent posts (e.g. discussion board and blog posts) from your modules. You can reply to posts from this page.
The Updates page will display notifications from your modules or items that need attention. This will include posted announcements, availability of new content items, grades and due assignments. You can edit the notification settings on the Global Navigation Menu under Settings and Edit Notification Settings.
The Calendar displays the calendar items within all your modules. You can customise which modules you want to view and also export the whole Calendar into your own email account click on Get External Calendar Link at the end of the calendars list and import into your email.
Clicking a module title will take you to the resources for that module. All modules have the same basic layout, with a menu of text links (or buttons) on the left, and content on the right. Moving around your module is easy. The links indicate the different content areas, where lecturers can place information like the module handbook, lecture notes, assignments, readings or other materials. Lecturers can customise these links, so the names may vary from module to module. Lecturers can also decide which of the features to use; some are described below.
Announcements are often the first page you see of a module as a noticeboard with general or specific information. You should check these as regularly as you would check a noticeboard in the School.
There will be as many or as few content areas as a member of teaching staff chooses to use. They should explain what materials they are adding for you, and how they are expecting you to use them. Content is often held in folders or as single items.
Individual items may have files attached to them – click on the link to open the file. Some files will open within the browser window, some may open a new browser or the program (e.g. PowerPoint) with which they are associated.
- Staff Contacts
Most modules will have contacts details for teaching and support staff as well as any external staff delivering on that module. It may also say what is the best way to contact them out side of the lectures.
Email is most often used by lecturers to send you information. These will be delivered to your University email inbox. If you are given group workspace (see below) then you will be able to send email directly to your group members. Student Email links to your student email facilities.
- Discussion Boards are used my some module leaders for out-of-class interaction. Discussion boards offer centrally posted email-type conversations, organised in threads, which you can follow and reply to.
- Journals, Blogs and Wikis are communication tools that can be used in different ways within your modules. For example Journals may be used to help you to keep a record of some work you are doing whereas a blog could be used for students to publish their research for the rest of the module or as a discussion board for the module. The wiki tool can be used as a collaborative work space.
- Groups can be created to provide students with a private space to work in teams. Each group can be allocated a blog, journal, wiki, discussion board, an email list, a chat room and file tools, where you can share documents. You will not be able to enter groups you are not a member of.
- Tests provide multiple choice-type questions in a variety of forms, and may be used as quick revision tests at the end of topics, or as a longer diagnostic tool. They are most likely to be selfassessed and formative, with feedback to help you revisit problem areas.
- Surveys follow a similar format to quizzes, and may be made up of multiple choice or short answer questions, and can be used to provide formative feedback. Surveys are anonymous, your views are not associated with your name.
- Assignments Lecturers may place an Blackboard Assignment or a Turnitin Assignment in any of the content areas of your module—where you can upload a completed assignment/submission in the form of a Word or Excel file etc. to the VLE. You will be asked to submit work to tutors electronically, via Assignments and/or a Turnitin assignment.
If you have queries about the academic content of the module, please contact your lecturer. If you have technical queries, try searching the knowledge base for relevant articles. If you still have questions, contact the IT Service Desk (details at the bottom of this page).
When you have finished working on a networked computer, always remember to click on the grey Logout button on the far top right of the screen.