Virtual Learning Environments
"Download the Blackboard Mobile Learn app. Not only will it give you quick access to many of the resources uploaded by the Faculty but many of the forums are designed for mobile use."
– Alex Compton, Imperial College School of Medicine Students' Union President, 2016-2017
Online learning, or e-learning, is common at Imperial College London and much of your learning will take place via our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
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Although different departments may use different versions, the Blackboard VLE is used by most departments at Imperial to host materials, discussions, and tests, and to allow submission of assignments.
A VLE is accessible online to all students who are registered for relevant course modules. The VLE is typically used to complement lectures, laboratory practicals and other forms of teaching and learning. It is not a substitute for attending lectures or tutorials and results show that students who attend classes have improved success rates.
Each course on the VLE will vary depending on the department or lecturer. A course on the VLE might contain:
- Lecture notes, videos of lectures and PowerPoint presentations
- Reading lists, often with direct links to online resources
- Chat rooms and discussion forums for specific purposes, such as carrying out group project work
- Quizzes or tests for assessment purposes
- An electronic noticeboard containing important course module information
- Grades and feedback
You may also be required to submit assignments via Blackboard’s Assignment tool or Turnitin.
The Business School uses a purpose-built virtual learning platform called The Hub. If you need to use either or both, you should have an induction session to make sure you fully understand how to use them.
Other e-learning tools
In addition to these two Virtual Learning Environments, much of your interaction and learning will take place using any or all of the following modes:
- Communicating via email and other web-based applications;
- Accessing learning materials using Blackboard, the College’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE);
- Conducting research online, using databases, search engines, and the library catalogue;
- Using software for particular tasks and applications, e.g. statistics, design or essay-writing;
- Using computer-aided equipment and machinery;
- Filling out electronic questionnaires and feedback forms;
- Undertaking assessment on the web;
- Using simulators or simulation software to enable you to carry out ‘virtual’ lab-based experiments or clinical procedures;
- Using specialist training software to enhance specific skills.
You may have also access to a broad range of other useful technologies, from learning laboratories to ‘responsive mannequins’ in medicine, to 3D simulation in geosciences, to interactive whiteboards and ‘clickers’ (voting handsets). In addition, the Library provides access to a variety of online resources including databases, e-books, electronic journal libraries, and electronic learning guides.