Academic Staff

Staff Services

How do I change personal details shown in duo such as my name or email address?

It is important that the personal details such as your name, title, email address, home address, etc. shown in duo are correct, so that everyone using it can rely on the identity of people on their courses. As such these data are fed to duo each night from University systems – People+ for staff and the Student Record System (Banner) for students. To change any of your personal data, you need to alter the data at source and duo will be automatically updated. This ensures that the changes apply across all University systems.

 Staff – changes should be made via the People+ portal or by completing the Human Resources Change of Personal Details form.

 Students – your information is managed by Student Registry – changes can be made using the Banner Self Service link on the duo Home page.*

Note it may take up to 24 hours for the changes to be fed back to duo.

*As a student, if you define a Preferred Name in the Student Record System then this will be used to define the name displayed in duo. For example if your full name is William McGuire Bryson, normally you would appear in duo as William Bryson. If you would rather be known by your second name (McGuire) then if you set this as your preferred name in the Student Record System then you will be listed in duo as McGuire Bryson. Equally if you set Bill as your preferred name, then you would appear as Bill Bryson. Note this name is shown to other staff and students and will be the one used next to any work you submit, messages you post, etc.

What do I need to know about copyright?
How do I access my University email?

Undergraduate and taught post-graduate students use the Office 365 email service. For more information see Services for Students.

Research post-graduates use Microsoft Exchange to access emails. For more information see Staff Email Service.


What browsers should I use to access duo?

In a perfect world, you could use any browser. Sadly there are differences between the way web browsers interpret and display HTML code and javascript. This means that whilst most browsers will work with duo most of the time, occasionally there are some that cause problems. These can stem from the trivial – text being slightly different sizes – to very significant – online tests not displaying properly.

To help, Blackboard (the company who make the core software that duo is based on) publish a basic
Browser Checker.

Currently we suggest that you use Chrome, Firefox or Safari for best results. Edge works for most things too, but we have had reports of a few niggles.

They also provide a summary of which browser and operating system combinations they support. Use this shortcut to see the details for the October 2015 version of Blackboard (the version that we are currently using in production as of July 2016):
Supported List.

My CIS Password?

Most users should log into duo using their normal CIS username and password which uses the University’s Active Directory servers to establish your identity. This is the same username and password pair that you use to check your email and access restricted web pages at the University.

If you are having trouble logging in to duo using your CIS username and password then there are several things you can do:

  1. Check you have the correct username and password by trying another University IT service, e.g. this CIS User Details page
  2. If you can access that page, but still not duo, then your password may be about to expire – checks in duo are very strict. Try altering your password (to reset the expiry date) using this password page.

If you don’t know your password or have forgotten it, then contact the by email, ring 41515 or call into the Help Desk in the University Library (or Queen’s Campus Library).

Follow this link to change or reset your password:

Please remember to read the Security Advice page, follow the University Password Policy and read the How to Help Yourself guide.

FAQs for Academics

Below is a list of FAQs for Academic Teaching Staff

My courses have disappeared from the duo Home page!

If your module sites are not appearing on your duo Home page, this is probably a cache issue. Navigate to a webpage that is NOT duo and try emptying your browser cache:

Internet Explorer: Tools menu > Safety > Delete Browsing Data > Tick at least ‘Temporary Internet files and website files’ and ‘Cookies and website data’ > Click ‘Delete’. Close all Internet Explorer windows.

Firefox: Menu > History > Clear Recent History > Time range: ‘Everything’ > Tick at least ‘Browsing & Download History’ and ‘Offline Web Site Data’ > Click ‘Clear Now’. Close all Firefox windows.

Chrome: Customize and control menu > More tools > Clear browsing data > Tick at least ‘Cached images and files’ > Click ‘Clear browsing data’. Close all Chrome windows.

Safari: Preferences > Privacy > Remove stored cookies and data > Choose at least > Click ‘Remove’. Close all Safari windows.

Other browsers or versions: see

I am teaching a brand new module. How do I get access to the corresponding duo course?

When a new module is created it will be blank of content and staff. Departments need to ask for at least one Administrator to be enrolled on each new module by contacting the with a list of all new modules for the upcoming academic year. They in turn will look after adding individual staff to the new modules, so if you haven’t been added then please speak to the Admin team. They will normally give you an ‘Instructor’ role which means you have complete control over add and updating content.

I will be teaching on an existing duo course – how do I get enrolled?

Please speak to your departmental Admin team and ask them to enrol you as an Instructor on the module you want to access. Alternatively ask someone who is already teaching on the module to add you as an Instructor.

I no longer teach on a course in duo – how can I be removed?

As an instructor you can remove yourself from any module that you teach – as long as there is a least one instructor left enrolled.

As an audit trail it is better to leave yourself in a module that has just finished. But for new modules that you are now not teaching on, please use the ‘Manage Users’ tool in the Control Panel under Users and Groups.

Control Panel > Users and Groups > Manage Users > Remove > Remove Yourself

I can’t see all of my courses on duo, or find the one that I want.

The number of courses that can be displayed in the Current Courses module is limited and can cause Academics and Administrators problems when enrolled on lots of courses.

We advise firstly that you click on the cog wheel that appears when you hover over ‘My Courses’, then edit the settings so that your Current Courses list is shown by Term. Now you can rearrange this list of Terms by drag and drop so that the newest Term is at the top. You can also drag and drop individual courses to rearrange their order.

If you are enrolled on a very large number of courses, a link will appear at the bottom of the My Courses list. Click here to search for the course you want.

A quick way of viewing a list of your most visited courses is to click on the drop down chevron next to the Home (House) icon at the top of each course menu.

How do students get enrolled onto duo modules?

This is an automated process that links the Student Registry details via Banner directly to duo. So if the students have registered for courses/modules then they will show up in duo (please note that there can be a overnight delay to implement additions and changes).

Can I add students manually to my duo course?

On the whole it is better to wait for Student Registry to take care of this through an automated database feed, but yes this is possible by using the ‘Manage Users’ tool in your duo course. You may wish to do this if you have people sitting in on the module but not registered for it, or if a student has a problem accessing the duo course. The caveat here is to ensure that the student is properly registered through Student Registry, otherwise they will not be listed for an examination. It is thus essential that the student goes and sorts out their registration.

Why can’t I delete certain students from my duo course?

If you use the Manage Users tool in your duo courses, you can remove specific students if there is a tick box next to their name. If, however, Student Registry determine that these students are active students then in the overnight snapshot feed the students will be re-added.

If a student during the first few weeks of term changes modules you may find them in your course listing but set to Unavailable.

If a student for any reason has their total access blocked from duo then you will see them in your list but they will be shown as blocked with no tick box next to them – you cannot remove these students but they should not cause any problems.

You can tailor your ‘Preferences’ in the ‘Manage Users’ tool to only show ‘available’ students and you won’t see any of the blocked or unavailable students.

How do I enrol Postgraduate Tutors and Demonstrators?

In the main, departmental administrative staff can add tutors and demonstrators for you into appropriate duo courses. However, you have the ability as an Instructor to add these people yourself using the ‘Manage Users’ tool in duo.

Control Panel > Users and Groups > Manage Users > Add > Find Username > Select Role > Submit

We would suggest that you add them with the role of ‘Instructor’ with instructions about what you want them to do.

How do I add External Examiners to duo courses?

External examiners can be added to duo courses but they need a full CIS IT account. There is a form to be completed by the Department and the External Examiner which can be obtained via the Once an IT account has been created then the external examiner can be added to the appropriate duo courses using the Manage Users tool.

How do I change the name of my duo course?

duo courses are named via the corresponding module name given by the Academic Office. The Module Name is what the student signs up for so it is important that they find a matching duo course.

If you feel the name is incorrect (it has been known for some names to be out of sync) then you need to ensure that the Academic Office has the most up-to-date name and then send an email to and ask for it to be updated. This name change is not something you can do for yourself.

Slight changes may also be made if it helps identify a duo course better, but again this needs to be requested as above.

How do I work on a duo course without making it available to Students?

By default all new and rolled over duo courses are set to ‘unavailable to students’ which means that all instructors have access but the students don’t. Make any changes and additions you wish whilst the course is unavailable and at the start of term make the course available.

To make a course Available: Control Panel > Customisation > Properties > Set Availability > Yes > Submit
To make a course Unavailable: Control Panel > Customisation > Properties > Set Availability > No > Submit

Can I change the Course Entry point in my duo course?

Yes this is possible from the Control Panel. However, before you do this please speak to your Departmental Admin team. Each Department/School should have a minimum standards policy in which a standard set of menu items and tools should be made available within duo courses. It may be that they have set a default entry point on purpose to standardise all of their duo courses to provide some consistency for the student experience.

The Course Entry point can be changed from:
Control Panel > Customisation > Teaching Style > Select Course Entry Point (from drop down list) > Submit

A test/survey has not copied over into my new duo course … what should I do?

By default, in duo courses that are copied across each year, tests and surveys are not deployed to avoid students finding assessments by accident. You will find all your tests and surveys in the Control Panel under Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools. You need to reset / redeploy all tests in the normal manner by going to the area where you wish it to appear and adding your Test or Survey via Assessments.

Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Select the type > all will be listed

How do I show or hide tools on my duo course?

If you have a ‘Tools’ link in your menu and it lists tools available, there is an option to click a button next to each tool to ‘hide tool from students’. Note if you hide something that is needed you can also click on the same button to ‘unhide tool’. This should tailor your list, but keep in mind that, by default, only standard tools should be set to be available.

If a tool that you would like to use is not showing on your duo site at all, you may be able to add it to your site. Go to Control Panel > Customisation > Tool Availability. Tick the box(es) next to the tool and note where it will appear (e.g. in a Content Area, as a Mashup, etc.). Click Submit.

I’m ready to teach. How do I make my duo course available to my students?

So it’s the start of term – please remember to make your duo course available to students otherwise they won’t be able to access the materials you are providing.

To make a duo course available: Control Panel > Customisation > Properties > Set Availability > Yes > Submit

Are there any things that must be part of my duo course? Think Minimum Standards

Yes there are. University Education Committee have agreed a list of minimum standards. Details of this can be found here:

Each department then has a nominated representative to come up with a set of standards for all their duo courses. This can include the look and feel of each module as well as what should be contained within each duo course. So speak to your Departmental Admin team about their ‘Minimum Standards’ policy.

I’ve used Blackboard elsewhere … what do I need to know about duo?

duo (Durham University Online) runs on Blackboard software so if you have used this in another institution you will find duo very much the same. Durham does, however, have some bespoke tools such as the ‘Library Resources’ tool, ‘Manage Users’ tool, ‘Module Outline’ tool and so on. Durham has also purchased several third party tools that embed within duo courses. We use Kaltura (for video and audio), Pebblepad (reflective portfolio tool), Turning Technologies (voting systems), WebPA (peer assessment) and many others.

For Durham tools you will find guides in the Help Guides area.
For third party tools you will find more information in the ‘Products‘ area.

I would like to experience my duo course as students do – is this easy to do?

A new feature appeared in duo a few years ago. At the top of each duo course you will find a ‘Student Preview’ icon. If you click this it will create a student account with the name youruserid_preview. Go into the course and take a test etc. When you click the button to exit Student Preview you get an option to remove the preview account completely OR leave the student preview account with all data intact. Should you wish to see the results of the student_preview account in the Grade Centre then choose the second option. You will see that student account listed.

Why can’t students see content on my duo course?

If students are reporting that they cannot see content on your duo course, use the ‘Student Preview’ option to turn yourself into a student and experience the course from their point of view. It may be simply that you haven’t made items ‘available’. If this is the case edit the item and, under Availability, ensure that it is ticked to show to students. You might want to check if there are any date restrictions causing problems. Remember you should never set materials to turn off – students should be able to see all their course materials throughout the whole period of their study.

See: Using Student Preview

What tools are available for online marking and feedback?

The Blackboard Assignments tool allows students to upload a variety of files and has its own online marking tools. These have changed recently. The old version was called ‘Crocodocs’. It has been replaced with a new tool called ‘Box’. Within the feedback area of this tool you can attach a file or upload video or audio.

Turnitin is heavily used for plagiarism detection and runs alongside an online marking tool called ‘Feedback Studio’. University departments use this extensively for summative assignments where the emphasis is on written work.

There are also various tools (e.g. Kaltura) within the ‘mash-up’ panel of the standard text editor that allows staff and students to upload audio and video in many parts of duo – either for the assessment or as part of the feedback.

What resources are there for preventing and detecting plagiarism?

The University has invested in an online plagiarism awareness module than can be added to any duo course. As part of the minimum standards a link to this tool was added to all duo courses so please check as it may already be there.

For plagiarism detection we use a third party tool, embedded in duo, called Turnitin.

Can I add Audio or Video to my duo course?

Yes this is possible. However, we would deter you from simply uploading audio and video using the Add Item, Add Media or Add Audio tools within the Build Content options. Durham University has bought a third party tool called Kaltura which brings many benefits to both staff and students. For staff, Kaltura has a suite of options in order to record from webcam, upload a video, screen record and audio record. For students, Kaltura will determine the type of device they are using to access media and deliver the optimum file format.

Click this link to find out more about Kaltura.

Is there a mobile app for duo?

The new Bb Student app

Yes, students should download the new Bb Student app.
Staff will need to download the Blackboard Instructor app as Bb Student doesn’t work for people enrolled on courses as Instructors.
There are also tablet apps designed for marking – Bb Grader and Turnitin’s iPad app.

See the Bb Student article for more details.

See the Blackboard Instructor article for more details.

Is there a Blackboard Help Guide for Staff?

Yes. You can access this from within any course in duo via the Help menu. Seeing that you are here you can also access it directly from this link:

Blackboard’s Help Guide for Instructors

This provides a set of general help guides covering most issues. It won’t provide details of any of our custom tools that have been developed in-house – e.g. Manage Users, Library Resources, SignUp Lists or Module Outlines. To find out how use these, access the bespoke guide.

Note that if a student clicks the same Help link, they will be taken to a similar Help page, but one designed for Students

How do I see content that requires Adobe Flash?

Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) is a format that supports animations and was widely used on many “interactive” websites. Support for this format has fallen – partly because of concerns regarding its accessibility, security and impact upon the browser (it is not-well suited for use with mobile devices and Apple prevent it from running on any iOS device – e.g. an iPad or iPhone). Adobe have announced that they will stop supporting the format by 2020 and many browser manufacturers have already stopped enabling it by default. The LTT strongly recommend you not to commission or deploy any new content created in Flash on duo – there are better alternatives (e.g. authoring in HTML5 content).

If you only have the content in this format, or come across something you need to view created by someone else, then follow these instructions:

Can I email students via duo?

You can email individuals, groups, people with certain roles or everyone enrolled on a duo site. Please be aware that attachments over 5 MB may stop the email from being sent. (For large files, upload to duo and direct students to your site.)

Guides and videos on emailing

Turnitin/Feedback Studio is slow or glitchy today – is there anything I can do?

There are a few things you can try:

  • Check your browser: We recommend using Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Safari. If you are using your own device, make sure you have the latest version of the browser and operating system.
  • Turn High Resolution off in Feedback Studio: Click the High Resolution: ON/OFF switch at the bottom of the Feedback Studio window.
  • Clear your cookies and cache: This site shows how to do this for different browsers: Refresh your cache
  • Use ‘private’ mode: These sites show how to activate privacy mode in the respective browsers: Chrome / Firefox / Edge / Safari
  • Check your internet connection: Feedback Studio constantly saves your work, so ensure that your connection is robust. If your connection drops out, leave the Feedback Studio window open until you are online again.
  • Check the system status: Turnitin status updates can be found here: Turnitin System Status

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