Monthly Archives: January 2021

International Programmes Department logo

Free short courses in English Language and Academic Skills

English Language and Academic Skills (ELAS), delivered by International Programmes, provides FREE additional training in English for Academic Purposes to any registered international/overseas student at the University of Kent.

ELAS consists of taught modules which are delivered in the autumn and spring term, and individual speaking or writing tutorials which you can book in either term. ELAS aims to help you to improve your English language, gives you the chance to discuss your specific academic difficulties with the tutors and meet students across the University. All of our modules will be delivered online in the spring term.

What is the In-sessional English Language and Academic Skills (ELAS) programme?

  • All levels from Foundation to Postgraduate
  • 2 hours per week per workshop/module for 5 weeks, from weeks 15-20 (excluding week 19 as this is Enhancement week)

What modules do we deliver?

This spring term, you can choose to do any of the following modules:

  • ED001 – Essay writing
  • ED002 – Grammar
  • ED003 – Seminar discussion and presentation skills
  • EW334-337 – Talking Cultures workshops – to enhance cultural awareness and intercultural communication skills

To sign up for the modules, please complete this sign-up form

Modules fill up very quickly, so please sign up early to avoid disappointment.

Individual Tutorials:

  • Essay writing tutorials (EDOO5)
  • Speaking/Pronunciation tutorials (ED008)

To book an appointment for a tutorial, please email: internationalprogrammes@kent.ac.uk

Any credits?

ELAS modules do not carry credits but students can earn employability points for attendance.

  • 2 hours attendance = 5 points
  • maximum 20 points

Visit our website for more information about the modules.

Thank you!

International Programmes 

Laptop, Coffee, Notebook, Pen & Glasses

Care first webinars w/c 25 January 2021

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

This week’s (Monday 25 January – Friday 29 January) webinars are as follows:

Monday 25 January 2021 – ‘How Care first can support you’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link.

Tuesday 26 January 2021 – ‘Tips to beat the Winter blues’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 27 January 2021 – ‘Tips for Parents on Managing Screen Time, Technology and Social Media use for Children’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 28 January 2021 – ‘Keeping motivated whilst Working
from Home’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 29 January 2021 – ‘Burnout & Tiredness during the COVID-19 Pandemic’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Coronavirus

Regular testing for Covid-19

Taking part in regular testing is an essential part of the Government’s strategy to combat the spread of Coronavirus.

If you are not displaying symptoms of Covid-19

If you are currently living on campus or accessing campus facilities having followed the latest Government guidance and are Covid-19 symptom-free, it is very important that you get tested regularly.

Canterbury campus

  • We can now provide 2 tests per week at our Asymptomatic Testing Site on the Canterbury campus up until at least 15 February 2021 for any students who need to be on site and are not experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.

Medway campus

Alternatively, you can also choose to access any of the regional community testing facilities, whichever is nearest to where you are living. Lists of community testing facilities are available on the Kent County Council and Medway Council

For those of you living away from the University at the moment, please refer to your local or national government websites for information about Covid-19 testing in your area.

Please remember – even if you receive a negative test result following a Covid-19 test, you must still adhere to the national lockdown restrictions and continue to follow all advice concerning Hands, Face, Space.   

If you are displaying symptoms of Covid-19

If you do display any symptoms that could indicate Covid-19, self-isolate immediately, get a PCR test at a local testing site, and let the right people know.

Please read our procedure if experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or have been advised to self-isolate. There is a local testing site on the Canterbury campus in Rutherford College car park.

We know that this is a worrying time, and we are here to support and advise you wherever you may be. If you have any concerns or queries, please check our Student Coronavirus webpages or email CovidSupport@kent.ac.uk and we will respond as soon as possible.

Person using a laptop

Examinations 2021 – religious observance requests

Deadline 2021: Friday 5 February 2021

The University will make every effort to avoid timetabling examinations or assessments on religious days or festivals for those students whose commitment to the observance of their faith would otherwise cause them to miss the examination or assessment. However, we are able to consider the needs of students only if their requirement for particular religious observance is mandatory. It is not possible to take account of casual preferences or of social or domestic reasons.

How to make a request

The main exam period will take place between Monday 10 May and Friday 18 June 2021 and includes Saturdays.

Students wishing to observe a religious commitment on a particular day during the published examination periods should notify the Examinations Office by emailing exams@kent.ac.uk  before Friday 5 February 2021, when exam scheduling work begins. The following information must be included:

  • Name and student number
  • Details of the observance
  • The date on which it will be undertaken
  • Proof of religious observance requirements e.g. a letter on headed paper from your place of worship

If students fail to contact the Examinations Office by the deadline, the University cannot accept responsibility if students are timetabled for an examination at a time when their religious requirements overlap with the date of an exam.

Please note the University may not always be able to accommodate requests. Where a request change has not been possible, students can submit a mitigating circumstances request.

See the Central Student Administration website for more information.

Learn how colleagues are using technology to develop inclusive learning experiences

The E-Learning Team are pleased to announce that the next event in our series of ‘Digitally Enhanced Education webinars’ will take place on Friday 5th February, 10.00 – 12.10 with a theme of ‘Technology to Develop Inclusive Learning Experiences’.

Please find the agenda for the event below.

10.00 – 10.05 – Dr Phil Anthony: Introduction

10.05 – 10.20 – Ben Watson: Digital accessibility as the fundamental building block for good user experience

10.20 – 10.35 – Paul-Georg (Postgraduate research student in Kent Law School): What technology for inclusion means to me

10.35 – 10.50 – Dr Stefano Biagini: Strategies to improve Accessibility and Inclusivity in Higher Education

10.50 – 11.05 – Matthew Deeprose (University of Southampton): Making it simple to ensure the use of colour is both on brand and accessible.

11.05 – 11.20 – George Rhodes (Accessibility Consultant): Mapping public sector accessibility legislation compliance

11.20 – 11.35 – Daniel Clark (University of Kent): Catalyst or Distraction: The Global Pandemic and its Impact on Digital Accessibility in Higher Education

11.35 – 11.50 – Claire Gardener (University of Derby): Digital Accessibility at Derby

11.50 – 12.05 – Ian Woolner (Microsoft): Accessibility tools in Microsoft 365

If you would like to join the webinar series, please express your interest by enrolling on the Digitally Enhanced Education Webinars Moodle module, or by requesting access to the Team Digitally Enhanced Education webinars linked to the webinar series.

Colleagues from outside the University of Kent are very welcome to join and so feel free to circulate. Please register your interest via the link here if you haven’t already. We will send you an invitation to join the Microsoft Teams site.

We hope to see you there.

The E-Learning team

Tea and biscuits

Kent Hospitality donates stock to local homeless charity

Kent Hospitality has donated hundreds of packaged food items to Canterbury-based homeless charity, Catching Lives, amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

After another national lockdown was announced and restrictions were tightened, Kent Hospitality made the difficult decision to close all but one of its 13 catering outlets. Instead of letting surplus stock go to waste, they decided to donate it to Catching Lives to ensure the supplies went to those in need.

The team donated items including tea bags, soft drinks and confectionery – all of which were gratefully accepted by staff at the day centre near Canterbury East station.

Catching Lives is an independent charity aimed at supporting the rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerably housed in Canterbury and East Kent. They provide basic services like food, showers, laundry, clothing, and a range of support services to help people tackle their issues and access accommodation.

Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s update – 21 January 2021

Earlier this week, a report by the Runnymede Trust showed that less than 1% of university professors in the UK are black, a figure that has not changed in five years. Here at Kent, work is underway to address racial inequality and to create a change in culture. We are early in the process of this activity and are committed to working with students and staff as we continue to take it forward. Next week Georgina Randsley de Moura, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance, who is the EG lead on this work, will publish a blog setting out our approach.

As part of this work, we are launching our ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign, which includes a programme of learning and development for staff. We will also provide staff and students with clear and transparent information and updates relating to this work on the website so that we can be held accountable by our community for the actions we take in this area. In the meantime, I would urge all staff to sign-up to a short series of live webinars on ‘Race & Racism’  that have been developed in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University and City, University of London.

With the Spring Term now underway, it was good to hear of the experiences of some of our international students at this week’s Global Showcase event. It was truly heartening to see that that even those who have not been able to join us in person due to Covid-19 feel that they are very much part of our community and have a strong sense of receiving an international experience. My thanks go to all of you who have worked so hard to support our international students alongside with the rest of our student body

Over 130 people took part in the event, and there is no doubt that there is a huge amount of work taking place across the University to develop our international activities and that having to move online has paved the way for innovative thinking around our offer to international students. In addition, while we were all disappointed that the UK will no longer be part of the Erasmus scheme, the new Turing scheme will provide global opportunities for UK students to study and work abroad. We are well placed to engage fully with this scheme as it starts in September 2021, and which targets students from disadvantaged backgrounds among others.

We have now held the second of our Covid-19 staff webchats this week. It was good to hear from a range of staff once again and to see so many of you via the screen! I hope you find the meetings useful. We will continue to do these weekly and post the videos of the meetings afterwards for those who are unable to attend.

With my very best wishes to you and your family,

Karen

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Staff in Gulbenkian

Sign-up to our weekly staff webchats

Don’t forget to join our weekly Covid-19 Staff Webchats, currently taking place every Thursday via Microsoft Teams.

The new webchats are a chance for colleagues to learn more about the latest Covid-19 updates across the University. The webchats focus on key developments from the teams managing our Covid response, while also giving you a regular forum to feedback on the impact of the pandemic and find out more about latest guidance.

You can see recordings of our first two staff webchats, focusing on a general update of Covid-19 and its impact on the University, here: 

The following webchats are planned for January/February:

  • Thursday 28 January (15.30-16.30) – HR, Health & Safety and Working from Home
  • Thursday 4 February (10.00-11.00) – Online Teaching, Practice and Advice
  • Thursday 11 February (16.00-17.00) – Student Community, Safety and Support
  • Thursday 18 February (13.00-14.00) – Financial Response to Covid
  • Thursday 25 February (10.30-11.30) – TBC

Find out more

To find out more about the Staff Webchats – including how to sign-up to the next one and recordings of previous sessions – please see our Covid-19 Staff Webchats webpage.

Coronavirus

Covid-19 update – 21 January 2021

Safety on campus 

The safety of our students and staff on our campuses remains of paramount importance. There are currently around 1,000 students on the Canterbury campus and much fewer numbers at Medway. We are providing essential services for these students, including our libraries and some study spaces which have remained open following updated risk assessments. We are also emailing students to remind those in term-time accommodation of the need for testing before using campus facilities and also to remind all students of the availability of community testing around the country.

The majority of students on campus are adhering to social distancing regulations and following the guidelines set. However, there have been a small number of instances where students have gathered in groups, not following Covid-19 restrictionsThe majority of these incidents are dealt with effectively by Campus Security; however, some are escalated to the Police. Kent Police have a dedicated Officer to deal with Covid breaches within the Canterbury district. We are in regular contact with the Police to ensure we are responding appropriately and continue to do all we can to limit transmission 

The Government guidance is clear that students should remain at their permanent homes and should not return to campus unless absolutely necessary. We appreciate many of our students will wish to return to Kent as soon as they can, and we await further Government guidance as to when this might be permitted.   

Reviewing our teaching provision 

The Office for Students has written to all universities asking that they conduct a review of the 2020-21 academic year. The focus of the review is to determine whether students have been provided with sufficient information to understand what their academic experience would be like this year, whether they have been kept updated on changes and whether they have received what they were promised. The review must also look ahead to teaching and assessment plans for the remainder of the year, to determine whether the plans in place will sufficiently enable students to achieve the learning outcomes they expect from their study programme. This is a large piece of work, which we are currently planning how to deliver and we will provide more information shortly 

Staff wellbeing 

The national lockdown has undoubtedly put significant pressure on staff, with many working from home whilst balancing childcare, caring responsibilities and other personal demands. As outlined in last week’s staff newsletter, the University is committed to looking after the wellbeing of our staff and takings steps to reduce pressures and workload where possible.  

In the University’s ‘Impact of COVID-19 on staff contribution’ policy, we recognise how the pandemic has changed the way we all work and our commitment to ensuring our staff feel supported during this time. Our updated COPE Framework provides practical advice for staff and managers as well as access to online resources and support for working remotely. Staff are encouraged to discuss their personal circumstances with their line manager to agree any temporary adjustments to their workload which will enable them to be more effective and to reduce pressure at this difficult time.  

More information about working from home is available on our Staff Coronavirus webpages.  

Canterbury Unibuses suspended in service reduction

As part of their service reduction, Stagecoach have temporarily suspended operating the Unibuses to and from Canterbury campus.

This means that the Number 4 bus will be the only bus serving the Canterbury campus at this time, every 30 minutes.

See Stagecoach service updates webpage to learn more about changes to their services during the pandemic.