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University of Reading to deliver British Council course for international students

International students coming to study in the UK for the first time are to benefit from a unique new online course helping them prepare for university life.

The British Council course was developed by the University of Reading’s Online Courses team, who have developed more than 20 public online courses on a variety of topics, in partnership with the International Study & Language Institute (ISLI), also part of the University.

Study UK: Prepare to Study and Live in the UK will launch on 3 September 2018 on the FutureLearn platform. Over a four-week period, the free course will prepare prospective international students for university life in the UK, through a series of online articles, videos, discussion tasks and quizzes. There will also be a Facebook live event on 6 September and mentor support throughout.

After winning the contract through a competitive bidding process in May this year, the Online Courses and ISLI teams had just three months to develop the course structure, write the content from scratch and deliver a range of bespoke learning resources in time to benefit incoming students this academic year.

Study UK will provide an ongoing resource for students to refer to throughout their stay in the UK, on topics including:

  • Characteristic features of UK higher education: including active engagement, critical thinking, evidence-based argumentation and independent study.
  • Study modes: including lectures, seminars, tutorials, student presentations, group assignments, and assessment.
  • Language skills for academic success: including reading, listening, note-taking, speaking, and writing.
  • Student support services: including library facilities, English language support, and counselling.
  • Student life in the UK: including practical advice about finding accommodation, making friends, what to bring, and what to do on arrival.

Vincenzo Raimo, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement at the University of Reading, said: “I’m proud that the University of Reading has played a key role in developing this online course, which will support international students studying in the UK, particularly those coming to the UK for the first time. It is an important tool which shows the UK as a welcoming destination for international students, taking them through some of the challenges they might face”.

Fiona Samson, GREAT Britain Campaign Director at the British Council, said: “This is for all international students who are about to embark on a life-changing experience and will allow them to join an online community of peers in the same position. With 437,000 international students coming to the UK to study, we recognise that preparing for success is beneficial not only for the students themselves, but also for UK higher education institutions and the reputation of the UK as a study destination.”

Jonathan Smith of ISLI, the lead educator on the Study UK course, said: “It is widely recognised that many international students face challenges when adapting to the UK education system. But on this course, we also encourage them to value the contributions they bring to the higher education community, through their diverse experiences, perspectives and backgrounds. This has been a great opportunity to work with the British Council to equip prospective students with the knowledge and skills they need to ensure the smoothest possible transition to studying in the UK.”

The University of Reading’s Teaching & Learning Strategy 2018-2021 sets out a commitment to support all members of its increasingly diverse student body to participate in all aspects of the University’s teaching and learning community. This new course will not only support prospective international students coming to Reading, but also those enrolling elsewhere in the UK.

International students can register for the course now. For further information visit the Study UK webpage.  

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