How does online learning work?


Lifelong Learning have developed courses that you can study from the comfort of your own home.

These courses are delivered via our secure Online Learning Environment called Blackboard. We also use Microsoft Teams or Zoom to deliver the live elements of these online courses. After you have enrolled on your chosen course(s), you will need to activate your Aberystwyth University student account, which will enable you to access the various learning platforms and course content.

Online learning enables you to study from home and participate in an online community of other students learning about a particular subject. Click here to browse our range of online courses and please email if you have any questions about our programme.

How will my course be delivered?

If you open the webpage Find a Course and click on the course you are interested in, in the right-hand Course Details panel it will indicate how the course will be delivered.

Modes of delivery

Self-paced learning: you will work through the units and activities in your own time and when it suits you, but there will be opportunities to come together online via tutorials and webinars. The advantage of this format is that you can take your time with your studies and juggle these against your other commitments. The activities are engaging, there are opportunities to interact with other students via discussion boards and there are plenty of short step-by-step video demonstrations that you can watch again and again. 

For a 10-credit Lifelong Learning module, the study commitment equates to approximately 100 hours. We recommend that, in your first term with us, you begin with 1 module so you can get used to this style of learning and the time commitment.                                                                                                    

Live online classes: During the live online classes you will be able to ask questions, interact with your classmates in pairs or groups; you will also have live presentations from your tutor like you would in normal face-to-face classes. You don’t need to be technologically minded to participate and we have made sure that our classes are accessible to all. We will also make sure that all students have everything they need before the class starts. All materials for each class will be available the week before, so that you have time to download and have them ready for the class.

How do I activate my AU student account?

After you pay and enrol, you will be sent your unique student number. This will enable you to obtain your student username and set a password for your AU student account. Our online courses require you to set up an account so you can access all the relevant platforms and learning materials.

Having an account gives you many additional benefits such as access to the university library and online journals, an email address and discounts for university services.

You will need to set up the account without our help, because it is a personal and confidential transaction. Please watch the video below as it will give you all the instructions you will need. We suggest that you sit at your computer and access this page on a smart phone, freeing up your computer to work through the instructions to help make the transaction smoother.

How to activate your AU student account (video)

If you are unable to watch the video, please download this step-by-step guide:

Activating your Student Account (PDF)

How do I access and navigate the online learning environment, Blackboard?

Here is some guidance on how to access the online learning environment Blackboard and navigate the various pages and tools. 

How to access and navigate Blackboard (video)


Why can’t I access Blackboard in my usual browser?

Are you using Safari, Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge?  We recommend the use of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers when accessing Blackboard and especially when submitting assignments.

Why am I struggling to use Blackboard on a tablet or phone?

We recommend that you download the Blackboard App. The Blackboard App is available in iOS, Android, and Windows. For further details on how to download and use it, click here.

Why has the sidebar menu in Blackboard disappeared?

The sidebar menu in Blackboard is like a filing cabinet and contains all the information you will need, but this sidebar can be hidden. Just hover your mouse over the edge of the left of the page and a left directional arrow will appear, which you can click on. The sidebar menu will then open.

I am an Aberystwyth University staff member and I can’t see my course listed on Blackboard?

Even if you are a member of staff with an AU staff account, you will still need to activate a separate student account to access your course.  You will have a student login and email account so you can access your course on Blackboard and correspond with your tutor.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Teams is the online tool we use to speak to our students for one-to-one tutorials or online live teaching sessions (in Modern Languages we use the Zoom platform). If you experience  ‘break up’ of reception when using Teams, it can help to switch your camera off and just have audio.

What materials will I need for the course?

If you are enrolling on an art course, the course start letter outlines the price of the materials you will need and how much they will cost. An actual materials list and places to purchase will be available to access in the first unit of the course.

How can I contact my tutor and when are they available?

You can contact your tutor by email. Our tutors are all part-time and some of them work for other employers, outside of the university. You will find under Contacts in Blackboard the tutor’s university office hours and when they will respond to your email.

Why should I complete the assignments?

Our assignments help you to consolidate and reinforce your learning as well as reflect on the work you completed. You’ll also find them enjoyable, as you can showcase your learning and skill development. Our programme is subsidised by the Welsh Government and we can access certain funding if students complete the course assessments. This funding helps us sustain our programme and keep our courses at an affordable level.  

How should I organise my studies?

We highly recommend that you set aside some time in the week to regularly access the course learning materials in the step-by-step self-paced units.  We have designed the courses for you to be able to access them when it suits you, but we recommend regular, bite-size learning. For Modern Languages (Zoom) and Counselling Skills (Teams) courses, there are weekly live classes held online.

Are these online courses Higher Education accredited?

Yes, all our courses are awarded a National Qualifications Framework Level. You can choose to study courses as stand-alone or work towards one of our Certificates in Higher Education. Our courses can also count towards the first year of a degree with a partner institution. Ask the relevant Subject Coordinator for further details.

What can I expect from my tutor’s feedback?

The feedback from your tutor should, first, identify the strengths in your work and then give you guidance on how you can build on these strengths. The tutor will also identify areas for future development and improvement. They may highlight resources you may find useful and give you tips that you can put into practice for future assignments.


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