ULearn is the University of Surrey’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). ULearn provides an online ‘space’ in which lecturers and students on a particular module can interact in a range of teaching and learning activities.
- Reading or printing content and materials
- Taking quizzes to support and develop learning, or for formal assessment
- Participating in discussions or task-based activities
- Submitting assignments, for them to be marked and returned with feedback
- Working in small groups within a larger cohort
Some of these activities are shown in these screenshots:
Above: Discussion activity in progress (click to enlarge)
The benefits of using ULearn can include:
- A single reference point for essential module information
- Increased opportunities for students to interact with staff and other students, particularly within small groups
- Additional time for reflection and careful consideration in activities
- Rapid feedback from automated marking or from other students, allowing students to gauge their progress or reflect on their thinking
- Participation by students or guest lecturers who would not otherwise be available
In most cases, ULearn activities are ‘blended’ with face-to-face activities, combining the strengths of both. However, in some distance-learning courses, ULearn is the primary means of teaching.
ULearn has been available at Surrey since January 2004 following a thorough review of the VLE systems available at the time. ULearn currently uses a commercial product, Vista Enterprise Learning System from Blackboard Inc..
Currently, around 50% of students at Surrey now use ULearn as part of their programmes of study, a number that is steadily increasing. Apart from occasional scheduled ‘downtime’ periods for upgrades or essential maintenance, ULearn is available 24 hours a day, and can be accessed from PCs on or off-campus.
The servers and software that comprise ULearn are managed by IT Services, and they also provide support and guidance for staff and students having any technical problems.
CEAD provides guidance for staff in building modules and teaching using ULearn.
To access ULearn visit:
Finding Out More
For support materials, FAQs and details of workshops about ULearn then please visit our ULearn Support page. If you are currently using ULearn in your teaching or are considering its use, CEAD can provide a range of support, consultancy and resources to aid you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For support materials, FAQs and details of workshops related to applications of ULearn then please visit our ULearn support page