Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Author: student-services-news (Page 1 of 45)

Blackboard has a new look!

In response to staff and student feedback, we’ve been working to improve Blackboard’s look, feel, accessibility and the experience of our staff and students when using it. 

The new login page looks different, but use your university username and password to log-in as usual. On logging in, you will find yourself on the My Blackboard tab where you will find your modules, your organisations, relevant announcements and module evaluation surveys. You will also see three other tabs:

  • Your school portal tab – with information posted for you by your school.
  • Blackboard Help – for help on using Blackboard including submitting assignments online and accessing your marks and feedback.
  • My Files – a file-sharing area where you can store documents and share with others inside Blackboard.

What will I need to do before logging in for the first time? Before logging in, you will need to clear the browsing data from the web browser you use to search the internet, e.g. Chrome, Firefox. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means or how to do it – follow the link below for instructions for your browser.

If you experience any difficulties or need any help as a result of these improvements, please contact IT by emailing it@reading.ac.uk.

Choosing your optional modules? Have you considered learning a language?

If you have 20 spare credits, why not boost your job prospects by adding to your skillset, and learning a language?

The Institution-Wide Language Programme (the IWLP) offers credit modules in 10 languages, alongside whatever you are studying for your main degree programme.   Learn how to communicate in the language of your choice, whether you are learning from beginner level, or improving one you have studied before.  Gain an insight into the culture of the countries where the language you are studying is spoken and an appreciation of people from different cultural backgrounds.   Enjoy the small group teaching and regular feedback, and take advantage of the buddying schemes.  Mix with students from across the campus, and widen your horizons.  There may even be an opportunity for a short placement overseas.

Choose from Arabic, British Sign Language, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Japanese, Russian or Spanish!

The reality is that speaking another language not only boosts job prospects but also allows you to connect with another culture…. As the UK comes to reposition itself on the world stage, language skills matter now more than ever.  (Vicky Gough, British Council, 2016)

 

Top up your degree: Learn a language.

Visit us at the Module Fair on Tuesday 25 September or at our Information point on Wed-Fri of Welcome week in EM 230. Come along to a language taster – see https://student.reading.ac.uk/essentials/welcome/once-here/iwlp-events.aspx for details.

To enrol, credit students should log into RISIS and select their modules using the Module Browser.  Non- credit students should apply through www.reading.ac.uk/iwlp.

For general information, please email iwlp@reading.ac.uk.

Tips on living in private student accommodation

Your accommodation and home environment is really important to you and your experience at University. Many students choose to live in University halls, live in private accommodation or even commute from home, and so there is no single correct route to where your accommodation should be, it depends on what suits you!

If you do decide to live in the local community in private accommodation, here are some useful tips:

Be a proactive tenant
Make sure that the property that you are renting is how you expected it to be when you sign your contract. If amenities are broken or if the house is not to the standard it should be, be proactive in making sure that you let your letting agency or landlord know. A good tip is to be familiar with your housing contract and paper-trail your communications via email when sorting out issues so that you can keep track of agreements and conversations.

Be nice neighbours
Introducing yourself and being nice to your neighbours goes a long way when you first move into your own private student accommodation, particularly if the people living next to you are not also students like yourselves. A few very easy measures can help you get to know your neighbours: go round and knock on the door and introduce yourselves when you first move in, remember to say ‘hello’ if you pass them in the street or even let them know if you’re planning on having a house party in advance.

“My biggest top tip for when you move into private accommodation is to make an active effort with your neighbours, go and knock on their door and introduce yourselves (whether they’re students or not!). A little courtesy goes a very long way, especially when you accidentally set the fire alarms off at 2AM trying to make a late night snack…”
Jack Abrey, student

Bills
There is no escaping the fact that you will have to get involved with setting up and keeping track of utility bills. This could include electricity, gas, water or internet but double check to see whether any of these are included in your rent first. Before you create an account make sure you discuss with any housemates who is responsible for ensuring that bills have been paid and how you will pay the bills.

Chores don’t have to be a bore
Keeping your home clean and tidy doesn’t have to be a boring duty. Why not create a weekly rota with your friends so that you don’t have to think about tidying every single week? When it is your turn, why not break it down into days for each job, such as the hoovering on one day and then taking out the bins on another (check when your bin collection day is!). Also, creating a music playlist with energetic tunes can be great at motivating you when you’re completing your chores.

Home away from home
To help you settle in make sure you bring some home comforts to decorate your room with. This could be a cushion, rug, desk lamp or alarm clock. You could also bring some photos of family and friends, but do be careful how you affix them to walls and other surfaces so they do not mark anything!

“I have learnt two things: 1) Do not put bluetac on the walls your landlord will charge you and 2) You can’t put glass in the recycling bin, you have to drop it off at a bank so DON’T let them build up right to the end of the year- sort them out often!”
Kate Robinson, student

Personal space and respect
Having to share a house with other people can be tiring and often make you feel overwhelmed or crowded. If you find that your housemate wants a bit of personal space or peace and quiet, respect their wishes and leave them be. It’s always a good idea to think of others, particularly if you’re coming back home late at night and you don’t want to disturb or wake them. Equally, if you haven’t had a chat with a housemate for a while, why not catch up over lunch or cook a Sunday roast dinner together (you could even make this a weekly occurrence such as Friday fish and chips or Saturday steak night!) This way, you can catch up with housemates regularly without being in each other’s way.

 

Bilingualism Matters@Reading event

Come and share free pizza with the Bilingualism Matters@Reading team to find out about all our amazing volunteering opportunities!

Details:

03/10/2018

Palmer G01-G02

1-2pm

Bilingualism Matters@Reading…

Are you interested in languages and community engagement?

Would you like to volunteer for a lively research centre?

Would you like to be part of an international network with branches all around the world?

If the answer is yes, then look no further:

Bilingualism Matters@Reading is the place for you!

We are the outreach branch of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM) and our goal is to bridge the gap between researchers and the community by providing information and training on bi-multilingualism. We do so by organizing events that are informative, useful and fun for different groups of people. We mostly work with multilingual families, school teachers and speech and language therapists. Our activities range from video interviews to training sessions to arts-and craft workshops.

How to be Taxi Safe

As the beginning of term approaches, you might be thinking about the nights out to come. Here’s a quick reminder on how to be vigilant, when going to and from your destination.

What is the different between a taxi and a private hire?

A taxi can be hired immediately from a taxi rank or by hailing. A private hire must be pre-booked through a licensed operator.

Make sure your taxi or private hire is legal

Using unlicensed taxis puts you at risk as licensed vehicles are regularly tested and are required to meet minimum standards set by the local authority as well as the correct insurance. In addition to this, drivers are tested and checked for medical and criminal issues before being granted a licence.

How do I know if the driver and vehicle are licensed?

A licensed vehicle will normally display a licence plate on the front or rear of the vehicle. The plate will include the licensing authority, licence number and the vehicle registration number. The driver should display an identity badge including the licensing authority and driver licence number. If you can’t see either of these then ask to see them.

Staying safe

  • Make a note of the licence plate and driver’s licence number. If you feel uneasy text both to a friend.
  • Sit in the back of the vehicle.
  • Keep your mobile phone where it is accessible.

Do not use the taxi if:

  • The driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • The driver does not seem to know the local area.
  • The vehicle appears to be too old or in a state of disrepair.
  • You are uneasy for any reason.

 

Resit results

Did you take a resit over the summer? You’re probably wondering when you’ll get your results. Please take a look at the table below, and see which date applies to you:

Undergraduate Non-finalists 13th September Via the RISIS portal
UoRM January Cohort 24th September Via the RISIS portal
Masters and Undergraduate Finalists 8th November Via the RISIS portal

Fraud warning

We have been made aware of a fraudulent scam that is currently targeting Chinese students in the UK, including Chinese students at Reading.

Students have received calls from people falsely claiming to be from the Chinese Police or Chinese Embassy. In most cases, they have told students that they are suspected of criminal activity and have asked students to provide them with personal details, bank details, and have requested that students transfer money to them.

Please be aware of any suspicious calls, emails or messages on social media coming from contacts that you don’t recognise. Students are being contacted in Chinese and the people making these calls may already have some personal details, which makes their story very convincing.

If you have any concerns or think you may have been a victim of this scam, please contact the ISLI Admin Office/International Student Advisory team (email all queries to int.adv@reading.ac.uk or call +44 (0)118 378 5555) who will be able to report this to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau for you.

If you have experienced fraud and are worried about this, you can also access the University’s Counselling and Wellbeing service for emotional support.

While we have been made aware of this particular scam targeting Chinese students, here are some general reminders for all students on how to protect yourself from fraud:

  • You should never give away any personal details (such as your ID/passport number, date of birth, passwords) over the phone or email to someone you don’t know or who can’t provide evidence of their identity.
  •  You should never share any bank details or transfer money to someone who you don’t know or don’t owe money to.
  • If you receive a call which you’re unsure of or which you think might be fraudulent, tell them that you will call back later and hang up. Then you can contact the police, embassy or bank to find out whether the call was genuine.
  •  Check your bank statements/online banking regularly for any activity that you don’t recognise.
  •  If you have had any calls or emails which you found suspicious, block these contacts so they cannot contact you again.

Get ahead with a placement

 

Taking part in a placement as part of your degree is a great way to boost both your employability and your confidence. See below for our top reasons for doing a placement!

 

Life after university

Doing a placement will give you an idea of the type of thing you might like to do in the future. Whether you have a solid idea of what you’d like to do, or don’t know where to start, your placement will help you figure out what you do and don’t want. You’ll also get a better grasp of what it’s like in the world of work (read: it’s not as scary as you think!)

You can do it!

It might seem daunting to join a new environment, but you might surprise yourself with what you can achieve. From giving a presentation to forming a good working relationship with a colleague, you’ll come away knowing that you’re ready to tackle the working world!

Make some money

Whether it’s that dream holiday you’ve been planning, or just a little financial security, your placement will help you save the pennies.

Your job prospects

On placement, you’re bound to interact with new people, learn new skills, and even get to take on some responsibility. All of these are important things to tick of your employability to-do list – by the time you’ve finished, you’ll have amassed a wealth of experience to add to your job applications.

 

Whether you’ve got a placement or want to line one up, hear from some of Reading latest’s placement students here.

If you’d like to do a placement but need to transfer to a four year degree, it’s worth speaking to your department placement coordinator to explore your options.

Library refurbishment: latest news and progress

Work on our major refurbishment of the University Library is progressing well, with the project currently on track to meet its target completion date in late 2019.

Much of the work over recent months has focused on the Library’s exterior, in addition to the basement, ground, first and third floors. Work will continue in these areas and other floors over the coming months, which will inevitably include periods of noisy work. Over the next few weeks, noisy works are expected around the ground floor and the exterior of the Library, with a cherry picker on site to carry out important works.

One of the biggest phases of work recently has been the move of books from the second and fourth floors to the third floor, which was reopened in early May. The moves were completed ahead of schedule on Wednesday 6 June, with the Library catalogue updated daily to show the correct locations for moved books.

This floor is not currently furnished with study space while refurbishment work continues. Library staff are available on the floor to help with any enquiries about finding books, using the catalogue, or subject queries.

With the books now removed from it the fourth floor, it is now closed for refurbishment.

Much of the work taking place over the summer vacation has been designed to meet our goal of reopening the refurbished ground and first floors in September 2018, including some study space. This will be a key milestone for the project ­– however, please note that work will continue on these and other floors, and will include periods of noisy work. The URS building will therefore continue to be used in its current capacity for the remainder of the project, and will include periods of noisy work.

For the latest information and updates, please visit the Library refurbishment webpage and Library blog.

Queen’s Drive road closure on campus, 18 June – 21 September

A section of Queen’s Drive, the road running from the Shinfield Road entrance to campus, will close for major maintenance work from Monday 18 June, with work expected to run until Friday 21 September. The works mean that Queen’s Drive will be inaccessible to all vehicles, including buses.

The works will be carried out in three phases:

  • Phase 1 (Monday 18 June – Wednesday 1 August): Russell Building to the entrance to car park 5.
  • Phase 2 (Thursday 2 August – Friday 31 August): Car park 5 to halfway across road junction between Old Whiteknights House and Estates & Facilities.
  • Phase 3 (Monday 3 September – Friday 21 September): Halfway across road junction between Old Whiteknights House and Estates & Facilities, to end of blue railings opposite the rugby pitch.

Maps have been prepared to highlight the work taking place in each phase, including diversions for cyclists and pedestrians and nearby bus stops:

View Phase 1 map >>>
View Phase 2 map >>>
View Phase 3 map >>>

Phase 1: important information

The following arrangements will be in place from Monday 18 June to Wednesday 1 August. Please also check our separate announcement on works taking place at Shinfield Road that may also affect travel during this phase.

Vehicular access:

  • Access will only be available through the Pepper Lane and Shinfield Road entrances.
  • Car parks 6 and 7 will be closed.
  • Access to car parks 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be available from the Shinfield Road entrance.
  • Access to car parks 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 will be available through the Pepper Lane entrance.

Pedestrian and cycle access:

  • The public footpath which leads from Earley Gate through to Chancellor’s Way and Shinfield Road will remain open for both cyclists and pedestrians through the works.
  • The footpath along Queen’s Drive from the Shinfield Road entrance will remain open as far as car park 5.  Diversions will be to the rear of Whiteknights House to pick up the existing signed pedestrian route behind Blandford Lodge.
  • Diversions for cyclists will go through car park 5 and across the Whiteknights House quad before picking up the internal loop road running past car park 8 towards Pepper Lane.

Buses:

  • No buses will be able to access the campus during this phase.
  • Instead, route 21 will call at the bus stops on Shinfield Road at the end of Chancellors Way. There are stops in both directions, into and out of town. (Service 21a runs in term time only. It will stop at the end of term on Friday 8 June and restart on Monday 24 September. A special service will run on 15 June and 16 June for the Open Day). Additional routes 3, 9 and 10 serve this bus stops and the town centre, please see the Claret route map for full details of nearby services.
  • However, please see a separate notice about works to Shinfield Road additionally closing the bus stops on Shinfield Road between 28 May and 29 June.
  • During these additional closures, those travelling on the 21 route from the town centre will need to alight at the Christchurch Green bus stop and walk into campus using the Queen’s Drive footpath.
  • Those intending to use the 21 route into the town centre will need to use the bus stop on the adjacent side of Christchurch Green, just past the row of shops.
  • Alternatively, you could use the bus stops outside the Pepper Lane entrance for travel in either direction if this is closer to your destination on campus.
  • Route maps for all services are available on the Reading Buses website.

Phase 2: important information

The following arrangements will be in place from Thursday 2 August to Friday 31 August.

Vehicular access:

  • Access will only be available through the Pepper Lane and Shinfield Road entrances.
  • Access to car parks 1, 1A, 2, 3 and 4 will only be available from the Shinfield Roadentrance and access to car parks 5, 6, 7 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 will only be available through the Pepper Lane entrance.

Pedestrian and cycle access:

  • The public footpath which leads from Earley Gate through to Chancellor’s Way and Shinfield Road will be open.
  • The footpath along Queen’s Drive from the Shinfield Road entrance will remain open as far as the Estates and Facilities Building.  Diversions will be to the rear of Old Whiteknights House into car park 5.
  • Cycle diversions will be as above.

Buses:

  • Claret 21 buses towards Reading town centre will be able to access campus via Pepper Lane, and so will call at the bus stop on Chancellors Way.
  • Claret 21 buses from Reading town centre will not be able to access the campus – instead, buses will call at the stop at Shinfield Road, just to the south of the end of Chancellors Way. They will continue on to Pepper Lane as usual.
  • Alternatively, those travelling on the 21 route from the town centre can alight at Christchurch Green and walk into campus using the Queen’s Drive footpath. The journey can be reversed by using the adjacent Christchurch Green stop, just past the shops. Other routes – 3, 3B, 9 and 10 – can also be taken into the town centre. Please see the Claret route map for full details of nearby services, or the Reading Buses website for all routes.

Phase 3: important information

The following arrangements will be in place from Monday 3 September to Friday 21 September.

Vehicular access:

  • Access will only be available through the Pepper Lane and Shinfield Road entrances.
  • Access to car parks 1 and 1A will be available from the Shinfield Road entrance.
  • Access to car parks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 will be available through the Pepper Lane entrance.
  • Pedestrian and cycle access:
  • The public footpath which leads from Earley Gate through to Chancellor’s Way and Shinfield Road will be open.
  • The Queen’s Drive footpath will be open.
  • Diversions will be in place for cyclists around the works using the Queens Drive footpath from the Estates and Facilities building to the end of the works for those entering campus from either the Pepper Lane or Shinfield Road entrances.

Buses:

  • Claret 21/21A buses towards Reading town centre will be able to access campus via Pepper Lane, and so will call at the bus stop on Chancellors Way.
  • Claret 21 buses from Reading town centre will not be able to access the campus – instead, buses will observe the stop at Shinfield Road, just to the south of the end of Chancellors Way. They will continue on to Pepper Lane as usual.
  • Alternatively, those travelling on the 21/21A route from the town centre can alight at Christchurch Green and walk into campus using the Queen’s Drive footpath. The journey can be reversed by using the adjacent Christchurch Green stop, just past the shops. Other routes – 3, 3B, 9 and 10 – can also be taken into the town centre. Please see the Claret route map for full details of nearby services, or the Reading Buses website for all routes.
  • When the 21a resumes in late September this route will also call at the bus stops on Shinfield Road and Pepper Lane before turning around at the roundabout on Elm Road and entering campus at Pepper Lane.

Why are the works being carried out?

The works will rebuild a collapsed and failed section of road, which was identified after the severe weather conditions earlier this year. Carrying out maintenance work now will ensure that the road remains safe for years to come.

While these works are essential, we recognise that they may cause inconvenience to students and staff, especially those travelling by car or bus. Should any of the above information change, we will share any updates with you as early as possible.

Ideally, these works would not have been carried out at the same time as the SGN gas pipe replacement work along Shinfield Road. However, given that the University received notice of these works recently and that our maintenance work needs to be completed by the start of the autumn term, it is unfortunately not possible to delay these works.

If you have any queries, please contact

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