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Learning Technology Team

NILE & Other Technology Guides

Information for Staff

1. Identify your module-level NILE courses and request any necessary course merges

1.1 Decoding your module-level NILE course IDs

Each module-level NILE course has a unique trinity-coded ID; for example, PHI1001-STD-2324.

The first part of the course ID is the module code; in this case, PHI1001.

The second part of the course ID is the session code, in this case STD. STD (standard) is a common session code and denotes that the course is delivered on campus here at the University of Northampton. Other common session codes are: SPR (spring); SUM (summer); AUT (autumn); DL (distance learning). Courses delivered by our UK and international partners also have their own session codes, such as: MC (Moulton College); SL (Sint Lucas); HB (Helsinki School of Business). Sometimes these partner session codes stand alone (e.g., PHI1001-MC-2324 if Moulton College were delivering PHI1001 during the 23/24 academic year), and sometimes they are appended to the first part of another session code (e.g., PHI1001-SPRHB-2324 if Helsinki School of Business were delivering PHI1001 in the spring term of the 23/24 academic year). As well as these more common session codes, there are also many others.

The third part of the course ID is the academic year; in this case 2324, denoting the academic year 2023/2024.

1.2 Understanding why you may have multiple NILE courses for the same module

It is often the case that you will not have one single NILE course for each of your modules that contains all of your students. This happens when, for administrative reasons, the students you are teaching as a single cohort are in fact split across several session codes. For this reason it is important to discuss with the Curriculum and Student Records teams which session codes (or sessional variations, as they are often called) are being used.

You can contact the Curriculum team at:

You can contact your Student Records Team at:

It is necessary to gather this information because for each sessional variation there will be a different NILE course. Fortunately, it is possible to merge multiple NILE courses together so that there is a single NILE course for your cohort.

However, sometimes different session codes are used for particular teaching and learning purposes, such as to identify students on different pathways who are taking the same module. In these cases, normally the programme team has requested that students from one pathway are enrolled on the module under one session code, and student from another pathway are enrolled on a different session code. This means that although these students are taking the same module at the same time, they can be taught as discrete cohorts and can have different module-level NILE courses. For example, if I was teaching my PHI1001 module to Education students and to Politics students and I was teaching them separately and wanted correspondingly separate NILE courses for my module, I would request different session codes - perhaps STDED and STDPL. My Education students would then be enrolled on my PHI1001-STDED-2324 NILE course, and my Politics students on PHI1001-STDPL-2324. So, just because there are sessional variations of a NILE course does not mean that they should necessarily be merged together.

When students begin to be enrolled on their modules, you can see if there are multiple session codes in use by looking at the module record on OASIS. You can access OASIS from the Staff Intranet. Guides about how to use OASIS are provided on the OASIS login page.

The following screenshot from OASIS shows a module, EDU1027 in which two different session codes are in use; STD and STDCY.

1.3 Requesting NILE course merges

If you find that your cohort of students is going to be spread across multiple session codes, and will thus be similarly spread across multiple NILE courses, you can contact your Student Records Team to request that these sites are merged together so that you have one NILE course which contains your complete cohort.

You will need to tell Student Records which course you want to be the parent course (i.e., the course that you will actually be using), and which courses (known as the child courses) you want to be merged into the parent. The merge process feeds the enrolments from the child courses into the parent course, meaning that you can have one NILE course for the whole cohort. Once the merge takes place, the child courses will no longer be available to those students, and they will access the parent course instead.

In the above case of EDU1027, normally EDU1027-STD-2324 would be the parent course, and EDU1027-STDCY-2324 would be the child course.

You can contact your Student Records Team at:

1.4 How to check whether all your students are enrolled on your NILE course, and who to contact if you think that some students might be missing

Once teaching has started, or is about to start, if you are concerned that some of your students might be missing from your NILE course, please see our FAQ, 'Some students are missing from my NILE course. Who do I need to contact?'

2. Identify your NILE programme-level course

As well as NILE courses for each of your modules, there is also a programme-level course for your programme.

There is usually only one programme-level course per programme per academic year, and all students studying on that programme are enrolled on it (single and joint honours, full and part time, all years of study). However, top-up courses will usually have a separate programme-level course. If you plan to teach your top-up students alongside your other students you may want to merge your top-up course into your main programme-level course.

Programme-level NILE course IDs have two parts to them and are in the following format: CBAAHISTY-2324

The first digit of the ID, which is always C, denotes that this is a programme-level NILE course. The following three digits of the ID refer to the type of programme, and the most common of these are: BAA (BA); BSC (BSc); BEN (BEng); FDA (FdA); FDS (FdSc). Digits five through nine denote the particular programme, in this case HISTY = History. As with module-level NILE courses, the final part of the course ID denotes the academic year in which the course is delivered.

If you are unable to find your programme code, please contact:

You can find out more about how programme-level courses in NILE are created on our blog post, Finding and Using Your Programme Course in NILE

3. Enrol yourself onto your courses

Staff are not automatically added to the courses on which they are teaching, so you will need to add yourself to your module-level and programme-level NILE courses by selecting the 'Enrol as a Tutor on your Modules' link on the NILE Institution Page. You can find more information about this process on our FAQ: How do I enrol on or remove myself from a NILE course?

4. Design and build your NILE course

Once you are enrolled on your NILE course(s), you will want to create a course structure using learning modules and folders. When this is done, you can then add teaching and learning content and activities, and assessment submission points. You can re-order and re-organise your course structure and the location of your course content within your course once it has been added, but it is much easier to plan the structure in advance than to re-organise your course later on.

4.1 Review the NILE Design Standards

The NILE Design Standards contain information and guidance on how to set out your NILE course, and detail the University's expectations and minimum standards for all NILE courses.

For more information, please see: NILE design standards, expectations, and guidance for an excellent student experience.

4.2 Create a course structure and add content and activities to your NILE course

You can create a course structure by using content containers, in particular, learning modules and folders.

Once you have a structure in place, you can then create and add content to your course.

As well as providing high-quality resources for your students, it is also important to devise activities which encourage your students to engage with those resources and with the theories, practices and ideas they encounter. More information about this is provided by Learning and Teaching Enhancement: Active Blended Learning.

4.3 Copy content from your old NILE course into your new NILE course

If you are planning to reuse teaching and learning materials from an existing NILE course, you may want to copy these across into your new course. Provided it is done carefully and in line with the guidance provided by the Learning Technology Team, the course copy process is an effective way of quickly populating a new NILE course with content from a previous iteration of the course.

The copy process from one Original course into another or from one Ultra course into another in reasonably straightforward. However, staff are strongly advised not to copy an entire Original course into Ultra course as it can cause problems in the Ultra course, and, because Original and Ultra courses are structured differently, it can then take a long time to clean up and re-organise the Ultra course.

Guides on the NILE course copy process are available at:

Please note that assignment submission points should not be copied from one course into another, as they will not work properly in the new course. Assignment submissions points should always be created from new each year.

4.4 Check the accessibility of your course content

All content available to students in NILE courses must meet the 2018 Accessibility Regulations. You can find more about how to make sure that your NILE course content is accessible on our guide, Making your NILE courses accessible.

4.5 Create an introductory video

If you have not already done so, you may like to make your own video introduction to your module or programme. This could be a ‘talking head’ style video in which you give a friendly introduction to your module. Or, it could be a screencapture-with-voiceover style video in which you give your students a tour of your NILE course so that they know where everything is. Or you could do both. Either way, shorter is better – a couple of minutes or so is ideal. Information about how to create and add video content to your NILE course is available in our Kaltura guides.

4.6 Add your contact information

In your NILE course you should include information about the key people who may need to be contacted by students enrolled onto your module. Ideally, there will be a photo and contact details, along with how to make an appointment, and information such as office hours.

  • In an Ultra course, contact information should be available to students within 'About this module' at the top of the course content area.
  • In an Original course, contact information should be available to students in the 'Contacts' course menu item.

Contact information for all core University services is provided via the ‘Assist’ tab in the main NILE navigation menu, and is updated and maintained centrally, therefore this information does not need adding into individual Ultra courses. Staff may like to advise their students of this in their NILE courses. Additionally, the 'Assist' tab is promoted to NILE users on the NILE Institution Page (the NILE landing page).

4.7 Check your reading list

NILE Ultra courses created after June 2023 will already contain a link to the reading list in the template, inside the 'About this module' learning module at the top of the course. The reading list link in the template will automatically connect to the correct Leganto reading list. More information about using and updating your reading list is available at:

4.8 Set up your assessment submission points 

Turnitin and Blackboard assignment submission points must not be copied across from the previous year’s NILE course, as they will not copy correctly. It is important to set up new versions of all assignment submission points in your NILE course each year. Guidance about creating assessment submission points is available on the staff pages of the Learning Technology Team website - see the section headed 'Assessment Workflows'.

When setting up your assignment submission points, in Ultra course these should be created inside the 'Assessment and submission' learning module.

In Original courses, assessment submission points should be created in the 'Submit your work' course menu item.

5. NILE induction for students

If your students are new to NILE, you may like to include a link to the Learning Technology Team's NILE Introduction, Help & Support page for students in your module or programme-level NILE course. This will help new students to understand more about how NILE works, and includes information about the following:

  • What is NILE?
  • Logging in to NILE
  • Finding your way around NILE
  • Personalising your NILE profile
  • Accessing your NILE courses
  • Understanding how a NILE course works
  • Accessing content in NILE in alternative formats
  • Submitting your assignments on NILE
  • Improving your digital skills
  • More information, help and support with NILE

6. Preview your course and release it to your students

By default, new NILE courses are unavailable to students, so you will need to make your course available for them to see it. However, before making your course available it's a good idea to check how the course will appear to students by using the Student Preview feature built into the Blackboard interface.

It is very important to make sure that all of your NILE courses are available prior to your students starting, otherwise they may believe that they have not been correctly enrolled onto their programme and modules. You can find out how to make courses available on our guides:

7. More help and support

  • Advice and guidance about creating good NILE courses is available from your learning technologist.
  • Staff looking for additional guidance about creating effective Ultra courses are encouraged to book a NILE Ultra Course Development Workshop.
  • The University's Ultra demonstration course, CRIT101, is available for all staff to view in NILE, under the Organisations tab:

If you require assistance with NILE, please contact LearnTech Support using the NILE Enquiry Form

If you require assistance with PebblePad, please contact PebblePad Support using the PebblePad Contact Form