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Online Learning Resource: University of Birmingham Learning Tools

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Software and digital tools for learning

Canvas is the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) used here at University of Birmingham. You can use Canvas to access your course materials online 24/7, submit assignments, access grades and feedback, find lecture recordings, access multimedia content and resources for learning outside of the lecture and to discuss and share ideas.  The video below guides you through how to access your scheduled online teaching sessions and online weekly group tutorials via Canvas.




Panopto is an event capture tool used by the University to record lectures, seminars and screen casts.  Recordings for your modules, including lecture recordings will be available through your Canvas course for each module. Your tutor will let you know when you can access the recorded lectures.

Introduce yourself to these key tools by visiting the support pages here. 


PebblePad is a portfolio and personal learning platform. You will use PebblePad as part of your Personal Academic Tutoring to help you develop academically and personally throughout your University life and beyond.

The video below provides guidance on how you can access your Personal Academic Tutoring workbook. 


This is also available in PDF form (604KB)


Previously known as Office 365, Microsoft 365 offers a range of different tools, accessible from anywhere, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

For more information on what is available and how to activate it, please see the IT Service Desk Microsoft 365 pages.


LinkedIn Learning gives access to over 13,000 professional courses, all developed by industry experts. You can learn at your own pace with access to in-depth learning and short tutorials.  All courses are easily accessible 24/7; both on and offline; via desktop, tablet and mobile devices; and with subtitles and downloadable transcripts.

View the information page on Getting Started with LinkedIn Learning.

Take a look at the LinkedIn Learning collections for MS Office 365 as well as MS Word, PowerPoint and Excel

Virtual classroom and meeting tools

The majority of your teaching in the first semester at least is likely to be through using Zoom.  You may also be invited to online meetings or need to arrange one yourself.  The following are virtual classroom and meeting tools that you may come across during your time at UoB.

Zoom offers video conferencing, simple online meetings, and group messaging in a single platform. Meetings can be password protected, by email invitation or public.  Zoom can handle large numbers of participants.

If you create your own Zoom meeting it is worth looking at the IT Service Desk pages for guidance with securing your meetings.

See the LinkedIn Learning Essential training on Learning Zoom.


Microsoft Teams is part of Microsoft 365 and enables you to host meetings and workshops, chat, share and collaboratively work on files whether remotely or in the same location. 

See the LinkedIn Learning Essential training on Teams.


Canvas Conference (Big Blue Button)

Canvas Conference (Big Blue Button) is primarily used for virtual lectures, virtual office hours, and student groups. It can also be used to demonstrate technologies or troubleshoot technology issues online. 

See the Canvas Community pages for support and guidance with using Conferences.


Getting your device ready

Whenever you are taking part in an online lecture/seminar or webinar, it is important you get your device ready beforehand.

  • You may have to download specific software, so check any information you have been sent and do this in good time. If you are intending to join on a mobile device you may need to go to your app store to do this.

  • Check the instructions you were given to join, does it include a link to somewhere you can test your device? If so, this will allow you to check you can hear and see everything OK well before you have to do it for real.

  • At the very least you will need to be able to hear your tutor, so make sure the device you are using has speakers or that you can attach headphones. Check these are enabled and you have not muted them.

  • If you use an online calendar, add the webinar as an event and put the link you are sent into the location or the notes section. That way you are not scrabbling around looking back in your email inbox to find it when you need it.

Using IT services at home

For technical support with working remotely and home use software, see the IT Service Desk portal.

Being a Digital Student   Learning Online   Time Management   Further Support

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