Student mental health and wellbeing is supported when curricula and learning experiences afford choice and flexibility in approach, create social connections, build competence and foster intrinsic motivation.
Research indicates that student mental wellbeing is supported when curriculum and teaching practices foster students’ intrinsic interests, and communicate the importance and value of the knowledge and skills being developed. Student mental wellbeing is also supported when curricula design and learning experiences build students’ self-efficacy, afford choice and flexibility in approach, and create social connections – among students, and between students and academic teachers.
Engaging curricula and learning experiences understand the needs of diverse students and adopt teaching practices that best support their learning. Curricula and learning experiences that engage students in these ways are known to enhance students’ sense of purpose for their studies and sense of belonging or connectedness to the institution.
Core activities (to undertake in the first year):
- Auditing the curriculum to ensure flexibility in course-load and progression pathways
- Reviewing assessment policies and practices to ensure that students receive regular, informative feedback on their learning and progress
- Designing learning experiences that enable students to collaborate to achieve common goals
Additional activities may include:
- Revising course descriptions and statements of learning outcomes and skills to communicate to students the applications and social value of the knowledge and skills they are developing
- Regular curriculum mapping in light of diverse students’ interests, capabilities and prior learning to ensure that learning is scaffolded and sequential and that tasks provide optimal challenge
- Promoting assessment design that affords students some flexibility in approach and meaningful opportunities to utilise strengths and explore emerging interests
Possible indicators of progress for institutional self-monitoring
- Proportion of degree programs that offer flexible course loads and progression
- Student feedback on university surveys on the quality of feedback they received
- Proportion of students who report having worked with their peers (in class or online) to complete learning tasks
- Proportion of students who report a sense of social connection with students and staff in their course (e.g. having made at least one or two friends within their cohort; being confident a staff member knows their name)
- Student feedback on university surveys on the extent to which subjects/courses stimulated their interest
Student feedback on university surveys on the relevance and applicability of their course to their future