On 23 March 2020, 'business as usual' at the University was turned upside down when Coronavirus lockdown restrictions came into force for the first time.
One year on, the Skills Centre has reflected on its key achievements during this time, part of University-wide efforts to ensure our students had the best learning experience possible.
Over the past year:
We moved online
- We made the significant shift from face-to-face learning and teaching to delivering fully online. This happened across all our Teams with positive feedback from our students. For example, we transitioned our maths, statistics and writing drop-ins and tutorials online (and still delivered some in-person when possible), redesigned our 20, 10 and five-week Pre-sessional courses online, and delivered embedded academic skills using the Bath Blend.
- We ran virtual writing retreats and a Virtual Exchange Programme connecting foreign language students with students around the world.
[The French Virtual Exchange] has fostered my cultural understanding and improved my navigation of a new culture at a time where this is difficult to achieve. It has involved independent work, time management and respect for the other person and their preferences, all crucial in the modern, interconnected world. (Kathryn Yates, MA in Translation and Professional Language Skills)
We provided new support
- We ran new programmes of support for quarantining international students, those moving from UG to PGT study and, with the Careers Service, last year's graduating UG and PGT students (Stay Connected) to help them navigate the unique challenges they faced. We also offered our first intensive foreign language courses over the summer.
We branched into digital
- We rolled out new digital skills provision for students, including a pilot self-assessment tool and curated resources, and researched student needs in this increasingly important area.
We launched MySkills
- We upgraded and redesigned MySkills, the ‘one-stop-shop’ for skills, bringing together academic, writing, maths and statistics, language and digital skills, as well as the SU's personal development and Student Services' health and wellbeing opportunities in one place.
We produced new resources
- We created a range of online skills courses for students including Time Management, Group Working Online, Taking Online Exams and Presentation Skills as well as a suite of diagnostic maths tests and resources.
We ran an extended induction week
- We ran Skills & Employability Week online, part of the Welcome Weeks extended induction programme, offering a varied programme of fun, live online activities and taster sessions to introduce students to the range of opportunities available.
We developed 'Access to Bath'
- With the Widening Participation team, we created a new online FutureLearn course, Access to Bath, to prepare prospective under-represented students for study and life at Bath and enable them to receive an alternative offer.
We reviewed Academic Skills
- We conducted an in-depth review of our extra-curricular academic skills provision to ensure it remains effective and meets students' needs.
We recruited Skills Co-Creators
- We appointed four Student Co-Creators, funded through the Access and Participation Plan, to review and communicate our skills offer to Home UG students, particularly those from under-represented groups.
Rachel Wood, Head of the Skills Centre, said:
Like the rest of our community, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the Skills Centre's work. Our staff rose to the enormous challenges of moving our provision online in a short period of time and have demonstrated incredible dedication and flexibility over the whole year delivering skills and employability support to Bath students. We're very much looking forward to the easing of lockdown restrictions and a slow return to normal campus life!
If you would like to find out more about the Skills Centre and how we support students at all levels of study, please get in touch.