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Planning ahead

Prepare for your course

From the moment you register for your course online you will have access to wealth of excellent study support resources.

Before you start your course you’ll have access to a range of pre-arrival activities - some tailored to your course - to help you prepare, as well as online journals and study guides to help get you in the zone. Then, once you’re here you’ll have a course induction ahead of formal lectures, as well as access to our libraries, library support staff, study skills and IT workshops, sessions with students already studying your course (Peer Assisted Learning) and more.

Check the below for more details.

Additional Learning Support

If you have a learning difference, a medical or mental health condition, or a sensory or physical impairment, adjustments can be made to your learning and assessment. It’s never too early – or too late! – to contact our Additional Learning Support (ALS) team to discuss the most appropriate support for you, including potential funding benefits.

The team will also support you to learn strategies to empower you to achieve, develop your employability skills, and provide access to useful resources. The sooner you contact them, the sooner they can start preparing any support you may need.

Pre-arrival activities

Whether you're coming straight from school or college, returning to education as a mature student or starting your Master’s degree, we understand how helpful it is to complete a task related to your course before you get here. After you have registered for your course you’ll be able to log in to our virtual learning environment, Brightspace, to complete a range of pre-arrivals activities. 

These activities will vary - some will relate to your course while some will give you the chance to reflect on your skills and offer advice on how to develop them once you're here. You will have the chance to review your course related activities as part of your induction.

Our interactive skills4study package is also a good way of preparing for your course, which you can do at any time.

Lecture notes, reading lists and other learning resources like online journals and past exam papers will also be available in our virtual learning environment (Brightspace). Your tutor will share relevant materials as your study progresses to help structure your learning, and you can usually start to access them about a week before your course begins

Study support

We have lots of online study guides which you can access in Brightspace. These cover a range of academic topics, such as:

  • Improving your note-taking and academic writing
  • Revision and exam techniques
  • Referencing in assignments
  • Developing your presentation skills.

We also run regular study skills workshops and you can book one-to-one sessions with library and learning support team. Visit the team at our library help desks on each campus.

Language Centre

Our language centre is there for all BU students to access. There are resources and informal workshops to help you learn a new language, as well as workshops to help develop your understanding if English is not your first language.

Virtual learning environment

Brightspace is our virtual learning environment, and can be accessed at any time and from anywhere, after you have registered for your course. This is you'll also where you'll find your pre-arrivals activities, lecture notes, reading lists and learning resources such as online journals and past exam papers. You'll also have access to online communities such as Study Skills and Languages@BU.

Brightspace is where you will upload course work and assignments, when the time comes!

Course induction

Organised by your faculty, your course induction will include introductory lectures and workshops, as well as informal opportunities giving you the chance to meet your course mates and faculty staff. Information about your induction table will usually be shared at your first session so it’s really important that you attend - details will be in your registration email.

Course timetable

Your timetable will be available online and via our iBU app, at the start of your course. This will include your lectures, seminars and other learning sessions relevant to your course, like lab work or workshops.

Managing your time

Finding a good balance between your studies, social time - and any part-time - will really help you succeed.

In addition to timetabled lectures and classes, you are expected to spend time working independently, preparing for classes, researching and working on assignments or taking part in group work. If you’ve got other commitments during the week, it’s important to make time for this during your evenings and weekends so you don’t leave everything to the last minute.    

There are part-time paid work options at BU which allow you to fit your work in alongside your studies – find out more about being a BU student ambassador or working in one of SUBU’s outlets. You can also find jobs in MyCareerHub, once you have registered online.

At the start of term there will be a lot of things to do on and off campus – but remember, you're going to be here for a while, so take some time out to relax – you shouldn’t feel like you need to keep up with everything going on around you!

For guidance and support to stay happy and healthy, pop along to a drop-in session with our Student Wellbeing team in Talbot House, Talbot Campus.

Mobile apps

We have two free mobile apps we recommend you download to your mobile devices to make the most of our resources.

  • iBU: Download our official mobile app for campus, bus and student information from your app store or access via Windows.
  • Pulse: the mobile app for Brightspace to help you spend less time organising and more time learning.

IT support

With free WiFi at all BU locations including the UNIBUS service, online access to Brightspace and e-journals and AppsAnywhere you can stay connected to your student life wherever and whenever you like.

There are bookable and non-bookable PCs, techno-booths and computer labs on both campuses and our laptop loan scheme means you can borrow a MacBook Air for up to 4 hours, for free, between 8am and 10pm every day.

Here are details of just some of the IT software and support available - download and read our Little Book of IT for more information.

MS Office 365 ProPlus (free)

You can download MS Office 365 ProPlus to a maximum of five devices for free, withth one terabyte of storage through OneDrive. We’ll also have the latest specialist software for your course available, so you don’t need to buy any software for your personal devices.


You will have a BU email account (MS Outlook), which we expect you to check regularly. Your tutors, programme support team and other university departments will send important updates and information to this account. Find out how to synch this to your mobile device in our iBU mobile app.

IT Skills workshops

Book free skills workshops in Brightspace throughout the year to develop your skills on everything from Microsoft Office applications and statistics to Adobe Creative, Photoshop and DreamWeaver. For now, follow our IT Learning team on Twitter for general advice and guidance at @BUITLearning.

Open Access Centres (OAC)

On each campus you’ll find 24/7 computer facilities and printers They’re open all year round, including out of term time and during public holidays, so you can work at a time that suits you best - you'll just need your student ID card to gain access. Find out more about our open access centres.

Contacting IT Services 

You can contact our IT Service Desk 24/7 for support with any BU-related hardware or software. Call +44 (0)1202 965515 from outside the university or raise a job request and chat to our team online. For IT updates and tips follow @BUITServices.