Plans for Welcome and Study SmartMonday, 13 July 2020
Find out more about our plans for Welcome this September, and how we’re developing our Study Smart online course to prepare students for a blended learning environment.
We all know that Welcome will be different this year and the Welcome team in Student Success and Engagement are working incredibly hard to make sure that students will feel comfortable and excited about starting or continuing their studies.
Our first intake will be new IoE students from the beginning of September, followed by the traditional Welcome Week from 21 to the 25 September.
We are planning a range of activities during the week, both on campus and online. However, our emphasis will be on supporting new and returning students to (re)transition to university life throughout the whole autumn term, rather than just in the first week, in recognition that it may take longer for our students to settle in this year.
The Student Success and Engagement team are in regular communication with our School contacts and we will continue to run drop-in sessions throughout the summer to answer questions and keep colleagues updated.
In the meantime, we wanted to share some key updates as follows:
- The Head of School welcome talks will be delivered online and preferably on Monday the 21 September. More information on platforms and slide decks will be shared in due course.
- There will not be a physical Module Information Fair and we are in discussion with the Module Selection Steering Group and Student Communications about how module choices will be communicated to students. We are considering offering Schools the opportunity for a voluntary Q&A session for students.
- Timetabling will be unable to provide students with personalised timetables for Welcome activities. Instead details of activities will be hosted on the Welcome website and key dates and times will be reiterated by schools and at Head of School welcome talks.
- We are creating a new Welcome microsite which will contain all the information that students (and staff) will need to know before and during Welcome Week to prepare for the new Academic Term. This will also include all the relevant information for returning students and is scheduled to be live at the end of July.
- We will also be developing a range of videos which will introduce students to the key central services at the University.
- We continue to plan social activities and events to be both online and face-to-face and will be able to update staff as the situation evolves.
- We have had more students apply to be STaR mentors than last year. Mentors will receive their training in August and they will support schools with their social activities.
For more information please email Anne-Marie Henderson, Director of Student Success and Engagement (firstname.lastname@example.org) or for specific Welcome questions please email Jessica Vincent, Student Engagement Co-ordinator (email@example.com )
Study Smart to include advice on blended learning
New Part 1 and Foundation students coming to study at Reading will receive their invitation to take our successful online course, Study Smart, by email on 1 September. This online transition to university course, developed exclusively for Reading students by the Study Advice and Online Courses teams, is now in its fourth run. This year it is being updated to reflect the blended ways students will be studying this autumn and will include advice on: engaging in webinars, getting the most out of online lectures, using our digital tools, and managing study time.
A wide range of colleagues from across the University are working together to create content on the software that students may be asked to use and advice on how to get the most out of these different modes of study. In addition, once launched, six current students will also be helping to engage our new students through the discussion boards and offering their tips on what it's like to study here.
This working group, including Study Advice, the Online Course Team, TEL, ADE and Student Success and Engagement are also considering support for our returning and master's students. We recognise that all our students will require information on topics including: the variety of ways they may be learning; advice on how to study effectively in the blended learning environment; and the support services valuable to them. We are currently considering how these resources will be presented to students and will be communicating more information on this in due course.
We have a range of communications planned to promote Study Smart to our new students. However, our research has shown that engagement in Study Smart is successful because of staff endorsement. So, in your communications prior to and during Welcome, and once term begins, please do encourage your new Foundation and Part 1 students to enrol on the course.
For more information, email Sonia Hood, Study Advice Manager, (firstname.lastname@example.org)