Skills4Keele: learning resources for new international students

Blog for members
16 May 2019
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In 2015-16 Keele University ran a pilot project using UKCISA funding. The project aimed to create learning resources to enable students to consider their academic strengths and weaknesses, as well as explore any pre-conceived expectations to starting a university programme of study.

Chris Little, Learning Developer at Keele University, provides an update to the project, how they’re now using the resources and the impact the project had on his career. 

"In 2015-16, I led a research pilot project with colleagues from our International Student Support team, funded by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), called the Skills4Keele project. This project involved making innovative use of Google Forms to create online learning resources that not only provided reflective work packages for incoming international students, but also aimed to collect this data to feed back into programme design conversations across the university. You can view the full project report here:

"The project also created a live skills audit lecture, delivered as part of the September and January international induction events, which used Mentimeter to create a live audit of student’s thoughts/feelings about their readiness to transition into UK HE. The session uses the student answers to guide the teaching, essentially creating student-led teaching as the session is entirely at the whim of their responses to the questions. 

"2019-20 will see the fifth iteration of the Skills4Keele project. This project continues to run each year with the audit lecture and online resources shared with each new cohort of international students. It is incredibly well evaluated every year and introduces students not only to the university’s academic expectations of them, but the support structures and resources available to aid this transition, whether students are here for one term or a number of years. 

"This project, and ongoing involvement with UKCISA, has had a profound impact upon my career within Keele and outside of it. Within Keele, it has added prestige to the work I do and has influenced numerous colleagues to innovate with Mentimeter, Google Forms and Google Classroom to great effect. In addition to this, it has led to me having a key role in several institutional projects surrounding the use of technology-enhanced learning and student-response systems (SRS). The success of this project, and my ongoing work in promoting and sharing best practice around technology enhanced learning has formed significant parts of successfully gaining both Senior Fellowship of the HEA (2017) and Certified Membership of the Association of Learning Technologists (2018). 

"Outside of Keele, this work has led to invitations to be a keynote speaker at two conferences and to a number of external conference presentations, and even a book chapter, around use of Google Forms and Mentimeter. 

"The UKCISA project has led to invitations to formally consult on existing programmes of study with international students across the sector and an appointment to the role of external examiner with one institution to begin in January 2020 directly leading from this work.  

"I understand that UKCISA is not funding projects or research in 2019-20 but I would not hesitate to recommend UKCISA funding in the future and, or engaging with UKCISA as a network for that matter, to colleagues across HE, be they professional services staff or academic staff." 
Read or download all of the pilot projects and research reports at

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