Written by Alexandra Culloden
Wellbeing Project Coordinator, Access, Inclusion and Wellbeing, ANU
Welcome to the first ANU Online Course for 2018! In this three day Espresso Course-Fostering student wellbeing in your teaching practice- we will explore your role as academic staff in supporting student wellbeing. We will examine some of the factors that can support or undermine student wellbeing in diverse learning environments. As part of the three days you will have an opportunity to reflect on your teaching approach and identify opportunities to develop curricula and learning environments which can enhance student wellbeing. On day three, we will be live streaming on Periscope (via Twitter @anuonline , @alexculloden and #anucoffeecourses) at 10am to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about student wellbeing! This will be followed by coffee (on us, of course!) at Coffee Lab in the ANU pop-up village – RSVP Janene.Harman@anu.edu.au if you would like to join us!
This course has been developed using the Enhancing Student Wellbeing suite of resources. The content and videos throughout the modules is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The focus of this course is promoting and identifying opportunities within learning environments to support student wellbeing however topics such as mental health and mental illness can impact on people at different times and different reasons. If you have any concerns or need additional support please contact:
For 24/7 Support
||Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
Please note the course will include opportunities to discuss teaching practices and may involve reflecting on previous experiences relating to student wellbeing. As part of ensuring safety and confidentiality all comments will be moderated and any information which may identify individual students or services will be removed.
Mental health in higher education
Educator and psychiatrist Dr Lee Allen discusses what is meant by ‘mental health’ and how it affects student learning.
Why do some students experience higher levels of psychological distress?
There is growing research in to the increased risk of high levels of depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms for young people attending university compared to other young people in the community (Casey & Liang, 2014).
Last year Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, published ‘Under the radar: The mental health of Australian university students’ examined some of the risk factors which may increase the risk of psychological distress amongst students (Orygen, 2017).
Transition stress (relocation, change from school to university environment)
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet
- Drug and alcohol misuse
- Financial stress
- Pressure to perform/succeed
Many of these factors sit outside the role of academic staff to address or eliminate, however student wellbeing can be supported by settings and practices in the teaching and learning environment.
How can universities and academic staff support student wellbeing?
Research consistently identifies five factors that are essential for wellbeing, or positive mental health and growth:
1. Autonomous Motivation
2. A sense of Belonging
3. Positive Relationships
4. Experiences of Autonomy
5. Feelings of Competence.
The acronym M-BRAC is used in this course to refer to these five essential elements of mental wellbeing.
What is M-BRAC?
The activities across the next three days aim to offer strategies and examples to support staff to design teaching and learning environments that better support student mental wellbeing, thereby assisting all students to achieve their academic potential.
Learning Activity 1: What does student wellbeing mean to you?
Before we start looking at teaching practices and curriculum design over the next two days you are invited to take some time to reflect on your views on student wellbeing. Head to the bottom of the page to introduce yourself and include your thoughts as part of the comments (reminder-do not identify students or other staff if you are including an example of previous events!).
Here are some questions to get you started?
- Do you see student wellbeing as the role of academic staff? Why/why not?
- What made you enroll in this course?
- Had you previously heard of M-BRAC?
Links to further information: