Student and Staff Wellbeing

Covid-19 Update - 7 May

Covid-19 Update Message to students - 7 May 2020

Lucy Backhurst, Academic Registrar, shares the latest updates with students.

Dear Students,

In this week’s message, I include an update on the Careers support and resources you can access and give you advance notice of the launch of Canvas - the University’s new online learning platform that will replace Blackboard this summer.  There is updated guidance from the City Council for students in the private rented sector, and the latest information from the Home Office for students who require replacement visas.

Preparing for assessments

I’d like to start though, with a reminder to check your access to Blackboard and any other software you will need in advance of the assessment period.  If you are unable to access software that you know will be essential for you to complete your assessments, please contact the IT Service Desk as soon as possible, so we can fix any issues before the assessment period begins.

Any Blackboard access problems should also be reported to the IT Service Desk

You should now have been able to successfully access your provisional baseline average mark.  If you have any questions about your mark or how it has been calculated, please review the FAQs in the first instance.  If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for in the FAQs please email

Also, just to remind you, if you need to notify us of particular personal circumstances that could affect your performance in your assessments, please consult the Mitigating Circumstances webpage.  The ‘Request to Defer All Assessments’ form is now live and the Covid-19 Impact form will go live on Monday 11 May.

Online careers and business start-up support

We understand that some of you may be concerned about your career plans at this unsettling time, but please remember that our award-winning Careers Service is here to support you. Support is available to answer your career-related questions even if you don’t know what you want to do with your future, as well as receive help with CVs, covering letters and application forms.

The START UP team are providing bespoke, confidential coaching for students and graduates with an early-stage business or freelance career. You can assess this support by logging-on to MyCareer and submitting your query via 'Resources' and the team will get back to you.  They can also be contacted by email at

Careers events

There are a number of webinars taking place this semester, covering topics such as further study, how to ace a video interview and what to do when you don’t know what to do. Keep an eye on the events website for up to date information.

Online Careers resources

The Careers Service are continuing to receive new graduate, internship and work experience vacancies from employers and these can be accessed via MyCareer.  Information and advice on applications is also available, including example CV and covering letters and online masterclasses. If you have an interview coming up, you can use the video interview platforms to practise your interview and record yourself answering typical interview questions.

If you would rather work for yourself, there are online resources available to help you develop your ideas, research your market, start a freelance career and run a successful business. You can also register for the next START UP 101 webinar and virtual START UP Connect networking event.

And, if you want to develop valuable employability skills, practical work experience, or are looking to try something new, why not consider volunteering? You’ll find a range of opportunities here, including virtual volunteering.

Keep up to date

The Careers Service have recently launched a blog which will keep you up to date with industry news and events that are taking place virtually during this time and you can follow the Service on social media @nclcareers.

Launch of Canvas – the new learning platform

As many of you know, on Friday 31 July this year, Blackboard is being replaced by Canvas, an exciting and intuitive new learning platform.

The move to Canvas will bring a number of benefits to students, most notably ease of use, and it will be the place to go for any of your online learning materials and assignments from 31 July 2020 onwards. This includes resits or deferred assessments that will take place in the August assessment period and any other assessment submissions (including PG dissertations) that have a due date beyond 31 July 2020.

To support you with this transition, we are giving you early access to Canvas. You can login using your usual University credentials ( and you will have access to a ‘Getting to Know Canvas’ course. This will take you through the key areas of Canvas and includes screencasts of the Canvas interface and how to submit an assignment.

In addition, you can contact the 24/7 Canvas help via live chat or email and access a vast library of video and step by step student guides.  All of these are accessed from the Help menu within Canvas.

From the 31 July, students and staff will no longer be able to access Blackboard. Learning materials from the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years are being copied from Blackboard into Canvas and you will be given access to this content for reference. This will be available to you from 22 June 2020. You will not be able to access your previous assignments in Canvas as these do not copy across. You are encouraged to download your assignments and feedback from Blackboard before 31 July 2020 and details of how to do this are available on the Canvas Student FAQ page. Don’t worry - we will send you a reminder closer to the time.

Further information, updates and answers to FAQs can be found on the Canvas website.

Guidance from Newcastle City Council for students in the private rented sector

Newcastle City Council have updated their advice for students on how they should work with their landlords.  The Council’s private rented service has a specific website for student tenants and can be contact by telephone on 0191 277 1438.

A list of useful FAQs on housing prepared by the Student Advice Centre is also available on the NUSU website.

Latest Guidance from the Home Office

The Home Office has updated their guidance for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with Covid-19.  The most recent changes set out the arrangements for individuals who need to request a replacement visa if their 30-day visa to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family has expired, or is about to expire.  These changes are now live and full details can be found on the website.

Finally, with the assessment period approaching, I want to wish you the best of luck.

Please get in touch at if there is any further advice or support that you need. 

With thanks and best wishes,


Lucy Backhurst
Academic Registrar