ADCET/NCSEHE webinar: Supporting students’ wellbeing during COVID-19
7 April 2020
Presented by Nicole Crawford and Cathy Stone
This webinar discussed preliminary findings from research into supporting the mental wellbeing of mature-aged students in regional and remote Australia, through ensuring that, in this time of physical distancing, online learning is delivered in ways that enhance student engagement and student wellbeing.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching staff at universities across the world are being told they must shift courses from face-to-face to online delivery — not next year, not next semester, but next week. Research findings from two Equity Fellowships are discussed in this webinar. One is currently looking at ways to support the mental wellbeing of mature-age students in regional and remote Australia, while the other has developed National Guidelines for Improving Outcomes in Online Learning.
Key findings common to both include: the need to understand students’ diverse strengths, needs and circumstances; importance of building connections online, with teachers and between students, through a strong and positive teacher-presence; and ensuring students know the full range of support available to them and how to access this. These findings can help us to better understand ways to support students’ wellbeing and success, in the context of learning and teaching online.
About the presenters
Dr Cathy Stone is an independent consultant and researcher in the field of post-secondary student equity, retention and success. She is a Conjoint Associate Professor in Social Work at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and an Adjunct Fellow with the NCSEHE at Curtin University, Australia. As an active researcher, Cathy’s publications focus particularly on the experiences of mature-age, First-in-Family and online students. The Final Report from her 2016 NCSEHE Equity Fellowship has provided National Guidelines for Improving Outcomes in Online Learning for the post-secondary education sector.
Dr Nicole Crawford is a NCSEHE 2019/20 Equity Fellow and Lecturer in Pre-degree Programs at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). Her research focuses on equity and inclusion in higher education, including enabling education; mature-aged students; regional and remote students; and student and staff mental wellbeing. She initiated UTAS’s Social Inclusion Community of Practice, and the National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia (NAEEA) Special Interest Group on Mental Health.