Our virtual campus opens

Monday 07-09-2020 - 09:53
Screenshot 2020 09 01 at 14.08.07

Our virtual campus opens

The University is moving our traditional celebration of new Sunderland students into a different dimension this summer, with our Virtual Freshers Welcome Week.

Our 2020 Freshers Welcome Week will take place on VirBELA, an online platform where students can create their own Avatars and walk around a virtual University of Sunderland campus. Here, they can meet other students and get guidance from staff, take part in events and quizzes, and even attend an online Freshers Fair.

Please follow the link below and download VirBELA for:


Windows & Mac

Apple Mobile

Android Mobile

Once installed you will be able to access the VirBELA Open Campus to help familiarise yourself with the platform in readiness to join our Virtual Freshers Week on 14 September.

Once you have installed VirBELA, click the VirBELA icon to run the software and Register for an account using your University email address.

Once registered you can explore the VirBELA Open Campus to help familiarise yourself with the platform.

You can develop your Avatar now before the University of Sunderland Freshers Welcome Week opens on the 14 September. You can also change your Avatar name and add any pronouns you may prefer by clicking your name in the top left blue menu then clicking Profile.

There will be full access to VirBELA - including interaction with our new students, the Students Union and academics - from Monday 14 September.

For the VirBELA User Guide go to:


A quick guide to VirBELA

To access our Virtual Campus you will need to download our Virtual Campus app which is available on desktop, mobile and tablet devices, and VR headsets such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive for a fully immersive experience.

You can download the full feature version to both your PC Desktop or Mac.

Just search Virbela Intercom on the App Store or Google Play.

Once downloaded you will be able to sign in using your University User ID & Password and jump straight in to create your avatar.



A user guide is available with advice on installing Virbela and how to customise your avatar.

User guide

Virbela is also available for android and apple phones via the app store.



Once you are in our Virtual Campus you'll be able to move around our campus, go in and out of rooms as well as chat and interact with staff and students.  

Once registered you can explore the Virbela Open Campus to help familiarise yourself with the platform.

There will be full access to VirBELA - including interaction with our new students, the Students Union and academics - from Monday 14 September.

Every time you log in to our Virtual Campus you will arrive in the same place. you can then navigate using your directional arrows to walk freely as well as by clicking your mouse in the place you want to walk to. You can also quickly access and jump in and out of rooms using the quick 'Go To' options where you can simply click the go to menu, click on the room and jump straight in.

When you hover your mouse over a place your avatar can walk to, an icon of a person will appear. When you left-click on the area and your avatar will walk to the icon. If you click somewhere else on the ground mid-walk, your avatar will change paths and walk to the new point.

By default, the camera is locked behind the avatar and follows their movement. By unlocking the camera, you can use the mouse to look around. Your avatar’s head will tilt in the direction you are looking. A white icon will appear in the bottom of the screen to indicate the camera is unlocked. You can toggle the camera lock by tapping your spacebar.

To access the freshers private team suite, click go to towards the top left of the screen and What do users do?

Please note that students will will be provided with their Team Suite access code nearer the launch date. ​​​​​​​

How to - Talk & Message other users

Now that you're in our virtual Campus, you will be able to talk and message other avatars as well as interact with each other using the emotes available.

Voice chat is the primary way avatars can communicate. You can voice chat with anyone in the same room as you. It is highly recommended to use voice chat with a pair of headphones with a built in microphone. This reduces ambient noise and echoing caused by using the computer’s built-in microphone.

To use voice chat, click the Microphone button in the bottom left corner. When the microphone icon turns green and says "On Air" your voice will be transmitted to others. You can speak freely. Your voice is transmitting when the chat bubble appears over your avatar's head.

You can also use Text chat. To use text chat, press Enter. Alternatively, click on the chat bar portion of the
communication toolbar. A typing cursor will appear in the chat bar, enter your message and hit the enter key again to send it.

Create your Avatar

Your avatar is your character on our Virtual Campus, you and other users will be able to not only see but also interact with your avatar.

The first time you sign in you'll be presented with an option to create your avatar. You can simply select from a variety of different options and customise your avatar to include features such as hats, glasses and other accessories.

​​​​​​​Once you have created your avatar simply select the save and go button and this will take you into our Virtual Campus. Don't worry if you don't like your avatar, or if you simply just want a change of clothes or accessories, you can always go back at a later stage and customise your avatar.

To customise your profile go to:





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