VITAL things to get you started

Posted on: 14 September 2018 by Ben McGrae in General

This summer, whether you were swimming in a deep blue sea or sipping a cocktail whilst watching the sun go down, the thought of VITAL was far from your mind. If you are reading this then you’ve been plunged back to reality and face the prospect of getting your VITAL module ready for the new academic year. You’re not alone in this and we can help with shaping your modules ready for you and your students. So we’ve compiled 5 top tips of what you should do when preparing your module

Course copy – copying materials from old course to new

Many staff will want to work on their modules for the new academic year and if you have ran the course before, it’s simple to copy everything over from your previous populated course to your new empty one.

To do a course copy, go into the course that has all your learning materials and you want to copy from, go to the Control Panel and click on Packages and Utilities, then select Course Copy.

At the top of the page is Select Copy Type with a drop down menu. This must be set to Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course.

This is because your new VITAL course will have been created for the new academic year and you can select this in the Select Copy Options section, under Destination Course ID. Click the Browse button and search for your new module that you want to copy to.

The rest of the options should be self-explanatory, but the only other word of advice is in the Enrolments section DO NOT select the option to include enrolments in the copy, as this is done through Programme Planner, explained below.

For more detailed instructions on this, visit the VITAL Self Service site.

Enrolment of staff – via Programme Planner rather than VITAL

If you need to add new staff to a VITAL module, you will need to edit the module specification in Programme Planner. There’s two sections, 10 which has the member of staff with responsibility for the module which should have a name, and section 12 which is other staff teaching on this module, this is where you need to add the members of staff to be enrolled onto VITAL.

This is because Programme Planner will update SPIDER, which will then update VITAL. The update will give staff Instructor access, then if you run the module in the future, the enrolments will copy over automatically.

Deleting old Turnitin and Announcements

An easy mistake for staff to make after copying over a module is not deleting old Turnitin links or Announcements. Deleting either of these in your new course won’t remove any old assignments or messages as these will still exist in your old course for you to access.

Browser to use – Firefox and Google Chrome

This is more of a recommendation, Internet Explorer and Safari have had functionality issues with VITAL due to them not being updated regularly. We’d recommend using Google Chrome or Modzilla Firefox, which will continue to update automatically and render VITAL correctly. Both are free to download and available in Install University Apps, which is available on a university machine.

VITAL Baseline

The VITAL baseline is more like a minimum standards guide for your course. When a new course is set up, your blank course will automatically have a menu with the Baseline links available for you to populate.

These are Module Overview, Module Staff details, Reading List, Learning Resources, Exam resources and General coursework & exam feedback.

The idea is to give students a consistent experience to VITAL as they go through multiple courses during their time accessing VITAL. Staff are encouraged to populate these areas and even go beyond the baseline by adding content to the course menu should it be relevant to.

Some schools and departments have developed their own baselines so speak to the relevant contact, usually a module leader, in your school should you want to know more.


For any technical issues with VITAL, contact the CSD ServiceDesk at For any further support in utilising VITAL with your teaching, contact CIE at where we have staff who specialise in eLearning and TEL support. We have biscuits, tea and a lack of a tan to comfort you through getting set up.