Learning resources

We want the best for our students. From our multi-million-pound refurbishment of learning spaces in our Muirhead Tower, to our state-of-the-art new music building, we’re continually investing in new technologies and resources to provide you with the highest quality learning environment. 

Libraries and resource centres

Birmingham students have access to one of the UK’s largest academic libraries containing over two and a half million books and three million manuscripts in our archives. There are also a number of libraries and resource centres covering a variety of subjects offered at the University. Our library subject advisors can help you with your research, whether for essays, dissertations or project work, offering one-on-one advice, training and support.

Student looking at books

The main library houses our principal collections and services for the arts and humanities, social sciences, and sciences and engineering, while other libraries and resource centres are specific to individual subject areas including law, medicine, dentistry, education, music and European studies and modern languages. In addition, the Orchard Learning Resources Centre on Selly Oak Campus offers general library and study services beyond the main campus. Special Collections, situated in the purpose-built, newly-completed Cadbury Research Library, provides access to a wide range of primary and rare source materials including 120,000 rare books dating from 1471, and is also responsible for the University’s own heritage archive and photographic collection. All of these collections can be accessed by our staff and students for conducting their research.

Information technology

Student at a computer

The University’s wireless network gives you widespread, free internet access across the campus, including from lecture theatres, libraries, computer clusters and social spaces. Wherever you are, you will always be able to log on to the student portal, your very own digital campus, where you can access all kinds of online communities, news, chat and support. 

We’re committed to e-learning and are at the forefront of developing interactive learning spaces. For example, our institutional virtual learning environment (iVLE) gives you greater flexibility in the way you study, featuring access to a wide range of programme materials including text, graphics, audio and video. 

Learning environment

Most of our teaching rooms are equipped with touch screen digital whiteboards, allowing your lecturers to annotate and highlight presentations in real-time. We’re also trialling lecture and presentation capture, which will give you access to pre-recorded lectures, either by DVD or online.

Academic Skills Centre

The Academic Skills Centre is based within our main library. If you feel you need extra support in degree-level writing and mathematics, or are just looking to brush up on your general academic and writing skills, you’ll find tutors and advisors on hand to offer individual support and group sessions to undergraduates. Drop in for a one-to-one session, or sign up beforehand for a workshop – your personal tutor can help you to access the service. 

Learning resources and skills development

We also provide some extremely useful resources to help you develop the skills you need to do well in your studies, including:

  • GEL - The Guide to Effective Learning which links you to an enormous range of tools on every aspect of study
  • Skills4study Campus - a highly interactive learning resource which focuses on specific aspects of student learning, including reading and note making, writing skills, referencing and plagiarism, revision and exam skills
  • WebCT Vista – a virtual learning environment, including online course content, programme materials, assessment and discussion boards
  • Active Learning Classroom – accommodating five groups of students, this innovative learning space promotes discussion, collaboration and shared learning. Each group can access an LCD screen and PC, allowing ideas to be developed in one group and shared with the others in the room.