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MOOC to solve UK culture shock launched

The British Council has launched a free, open, online course for prospective international students to the UK, aiming to prepare them for academic and social life in the nation.

The online course aims to prepare students for British academic culture and student lifestyle. Photo: Pixabay/sasint

This MOOC follows on from a previous endeavour targeting agents

The course, which was designed in collaboration with the University of Reading and Study UK, will focus on five key areas: UK HE, UK study ‘modes’, academic language skills, student support services, and life in the UK.

“This shows the UK as a welcoming destination for international students”

The offering, which will be accessed through online learning provider FutureLearn, will be available for four weeks from September 3. It will comprise of 12 hours of content, including video from HE experts and a Facebook Live session on September 6. Online mentoring support will also be available.

The introduction to the course states that while “UK university education attracts students from all over the world… research shows that transition to UK study is not always easy,” and can be “challenging” due to cultural and education differences.

As well as an understanding of the British academic culture, and student lifestyle, the course aims to give prospective students “the confidence [they] need to feel prepared for study in the UK”.

Head of the British Council’s GREAT campaign contribution, Fiona Samson, said the course would allow students to meet colleagues prior to arrival, and benefit the nation and its institutions as well as students.

“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,” she said in a statement.

“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.”

Pro vice-chancellor of the University of Reading, Vincenzo Raimo, also expressed the importance of the tool in understanding the challenges of arriving in a new country for study.

“It’s an important tool which shows the UK as a welcoming destination for international students, taking them through some of challenges they might face,” he said.

The course is funded by the British Council and the GREAT Campaign.

The course follows on from another MOOC launched with FutureLearn in late 2017, which introduced agents who had not sent students to UK institutions to the British education environment.

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