Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Month: September 2018

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

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 for details.

To enrol, credit students should log into RISIS and select their modules using the Module Browser.  Non- credit students should apply through

For general information, please email

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

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!



Palmer G01-G02


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

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