This area of the handbook gives some introductory information on the IT Services, student record interface and Virtual Learning Environment used at Aston. It also directs you to the many areas of further support for IT help online and on campus.
My Aston Portal (MAP) is an internet portal that acts as a secure single point of contact for many of the services you use as a student. MAP gives students access to student information, including personalised teaching timetables, access to the University's Virtual Learning Environment, Blackboard, and allows them to keep the University up-to-date with addresses and personal details. New students will have been sent details of how to log into this portal to complete your enrolment before arriving at the University and should continue to use this throughout your studies
More information on MAP can be found here.
Blackboard VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) is a web-based resource that can be accessed any time from any place via MAP. You can access Blackboard via this link: https://vle.aston.ac.uk/
Blackboard is integrated with the student record system which ensures that students are automatically enrolled onto Blackboard and can access their programme/modules online. This means that if you can't see one of your modules on Blackboard there may be a problem with your student record and you should contact the programme administration team via email@example.com to resolve this.
Blackboard has an easy-to-use system and is an ideal way to provide you with support materials such as module outlines, lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations and reading lists, as well as more interactive use of the system through chats and discussions, individual or group assessment exercises and audio and visual materials. You may also be required to submit coursework via Blackboard. You can access online resources on the use of Blackboard once you have logged in. You can also find support via the University's Teaching and Learning Community (TLC) site here.
For the logging-in session material used during induction week please visit the 'EAS Undergraduate Information' module on Blackboard.
Aston has extensive IT facilities with over 1,100 desktop computers specifically for student use. These are located in 30 separate computer areas across the campus.
Many of the computer labs can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offer a range of networked software packages, database systems, modelling tools, computer-aided learning materials and access to online sources of information. You can search for available computers via the myAston mobile app or via our student guide on the IT website enabling you to identify them without visiting each location.
Computer labs are categorised as either Open Access or School Specific:
We have also created WiFi Study Spaces around the campus that are open to all students and have dedicated wireless access points so that you can study using your own equipment in a comfortable and relaxing environment. Some of these spaces also contain a number of computers with standard software which can be used.
WiFi is available across the campus and is called _Aston Connect. It is really simple to use - Just connect your phone, tablet or laptop and enter your computer login details when requested – details can be found via our student guide on the IT website here.
IT facilities are free to all students and are linked by our high-speed network, which spans the campus providing access to the internet and other networks worldwide.
The University provides a central printing facility to the Library and computer labs across the campus. Details on how and where to print can be found in the IT Services student guide: https://www.aston.ac.uk/ict/services/printing
It is worth noting that you should always keep backup copies of your work. Repeating several hours or days work is not fun, and staff will not be sympathetic that a computer failure caused you to lose your work, when a back-up copy can be easily made.
IT Services have launched an Internet printing service for the FollowMe system. This will allow you to print from your own laptop or home computer and will operate if you are on campus, in residences or even while working from a café in town! For more information including installation instructions click here. Please note that this is not currently compatible with Apple Mac devices.
This is the next generation of FollowMe Printing and the University has invested in new devices with this capability to provide additional features such as being able to select which jobs you want to print and even deleting print jobs directly from the device. To allow for these additional features there is change in the way you operate them. For further details on the FollowMe Embedded system click here.
Last year we removed the printing charge for all students. This year we will be continuing not to charge students for printing but we do ask that you please think about the environment before printing and act responsibly. Should the University have reason to think that a student is printing excessively above the average amount of printing, we will call the student in for a conversation about how we might help them manage their printing needs.
To help you make the most of the IT facilities, we have created a Student Computer Guide which contains information on all of the services provided including email, My Aston Portal (MAP), Blackboard VLE and much more. You can view the guide online at; http://www.aston.ac.uk/ict/studentguide
The IT Helpdesk is available from 8am to 6pm during term time and can provide assistance with any issue relating to your IT services or the operation of your uniCARD for building access. You can visit the helpdesk in person or contact us via any of the options below;
As well as this service you can find lots of handy ‘how to’ guides on their ICT help webpage here.
Aston Tools and TLC (Teaching and Learning Community) Blackboard is one of the many tools that Aston University use as part of its teaching. Other tools could include: Turnitin, Aston Replay and Pebblepad. To find out more about each of Aston's Tools visit the TLC site: http://tlc.aston.ac.uk
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