University systems for remote learning


Minerva will remain the key source of information for students and will continue to act as a portal for access to learning during any period in which classroom-based teaching is unavailable.

In addition to existing online resources and communication tools used by staff and students, other remote learning opportunities will be communicated as necessary. Your tutors may direct you to other platforms and resources to supplement your learning via links provided in Minerva. Where possible your University of Leeds IT account will provide you access to these platforms, but in some cases you may be asked to create a separate account on an additional platform. Full instructions will be provided.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Some teaching sessions will be delivered virtually via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Collaborate is accessed via Minerva and allows for your tutors to lead discussion via audio and video conferencing and live text chat. Collaborate is a web-based application accessed via Minerva and does not require the installation of any software.

Collaborate allows for your tutor to present and lead a discussion, with your and your fellow students joining in using text chat and audio and video conferencing if appropriate. Your tutor may use the breakout rooms feature to allow you to take part in small group discussions during the session.

Guidance on the use of Collaborate is available from the Minerva support website

Pre-recorded content and other materials

If it is not possible or appropriate to deliver a live session in Collaborate, your tutors may make learning materials available to you via Minerva, such as pre-recorded video content or presentation materials. Video content may have been recorded using the Lecture Capture system or using desktop capture and will be hosted on Mediasite, the University’s media management system. You can access guidance on using lecture recordings for study from Skills@Library. We are also running a pilot on Mediasite captioning. Further information and how you can give feedback on this pilot can be found in the Mediasite and captioning page.

Teaching materials and video content will be made available via Minerva and you will be asked to work through it in your own time. Where possible your tutors will provide opportunities for you to ask questions and discuss this content using the interactive tools in Minerva.

Minerva discussion forums

Your tutors may direct you to use tools in Minerva for asynchronous discussion and collaboration. This may include discussion forums and blog tools . If you are asked to participate in a discussion activity, please follow the instructions provided by your tutor, which will include deadlines for contribution.

The following resources provide guidance on how to get the most out of an online discussion and how to collaborate with others online. These have been developed for online masters students but are applicable to all students preparing for remote learning:

Top Hat

Top Hat enables teaching staff to deploy quizzes and tests to students remotely.  Learning content may be included in the test or quiz, e.g. slides or links to videos.  You will receive an email invitation to join Top Hat if one of your tutors is using the tool. You can find out more information on Top Hat on the IT website.

Office 365

All students at the University of Leeds have access to Microsoft Office365 apps that you can download and use for your learning at home. This includes up to five free downloads of Office 365 Pro Plus for PC or Mac. We recommend that students who have not already download this software do so by following the instructions outlined by IT Services for Office 365

You can access a collection of Microsoft Office 365 training on LinkedIn Learning.

Microsoft teams

Microsoft Teams is an online hub where students and teachers can find course files, communicate with one another, and collaborate together in an online classroom.  

You can access Teams online using most modern web browsers. However, to ensure the most stable and consistent experience, we strongly recommend installing the Microsoft Teams app. There are Microsoft Teams apps available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices. 

Learn more about Microsoft Teams 

You can access a collection of  Office 365 training including Microsoft Teams on LinkedIn Learning.


It is recommended that students use OneDrive for personal storage instead of the M Drive that is accessed from cluster PCs and Desktop Anywhere. Desktop Anywhere is likely to be unavailable except to critical users during a period of large-scale remote working, so you are encouraged to move any essential files from the M Drive into OneDrive now.

OneDrive gives you a personal storage space of 5TB, enough to store 2500 hours of video, 85000 hours of music, or millions of documents. You can access OneDrive on and off-campus to share, comment and co-create files with other students at the University and beyond.

Learn more about OneDrive and how to access it.

Virtual desktop

The University IT Service has now launched a virtual desktop to provide remote access to some software applications.

Online library resources

The following resources provide guidance on how to use the online library and how to search for resources. These have been developed for online master’s students but are applicable to all students preparing for remote learning:

Reporting technical issues

If you are experiencing any technical issues during the assessment and exam period, please follow the advice on how to report an issue.