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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.

Timetables will be available online from the start of term - find out more below.

Course timetable

Your timetable will be available online and via our iBU app, at the start of your course

It will show the dates and times of scheduled sessions you need to attend depending on the course you’re studying, such as lectures, seminars and other learning sessions relevant to your course, like lab work or workshops. You’ll need to plan your study time and other commitments around these sessions.

You can check the programme specification for your course on our course pages for an outline of contact hours and an idea of how much time you will need to spend attending classes. For a full-time undergraduate degree this could be over three to five days per week and for a full-time postgraduate degree this could be over one to three days per week, timetabled anywhere between 9am and 7pm, Monday to Friday, during term-time.

Once you have accessed your academic timetable online, you will be able to synchronise it with personal calendars you may use on your own devices. Look out for the Calendar Centre link when you access our virtual learning environment, Brightspace.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to publish timetables sooner because of the need to take account of final student numbers, and ensure that classes are planned to provide the best space and learning environment for your studies.

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 timetable will usually be shared at your first session so it’s really important that you attend - details of your first session will be included in your registration email, sent on or after 17 August, depending on when your place at BU was confirmed.

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.

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!

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.

Managing your time

Finding a good balance between your studies, social time - and any part-time job - 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

BU students have access to a wide range of IT facilities, tools, services and support. Our IT information pages should give you all the information you need to get started and to make the most of out of our IT services whilst you are here. Whether you are looking for further information about your work and timetable, how to access key systems or guidance for remote study, these IT information pages should be your first point of call to find out more about our IT facilities. You can also find important guidance on IT security and staying safe online, including securing your device, spotting suspicious emails and reporting a security or data breach.

Developing your skills

You can book free IT 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. We’ve also recently signed up to LinkedIn Learning allowing you to access over 13,000 courses virtually.

To find out more visit out developing skills page on the IT information pages and follow our IT Learning team on Twitter for general advice and guidance @BUITServiceDesk.

IT code of conduct

BU has a code of conduct governing the use of our IT applications and computers and it’s important that you understand the consequences if these are abused. For more information, you can take a look at the IT section on the Important Information page for our policies, rules and regulations around IT use at BU. 

Contacting IT Services

You can contact our IT Service Desk 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you need support with any BU-related hardware or software. Call Freephone: 0808 196 2332 or +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 IT on Twitter @BUITServiceDesk.