The Learning Support Co-ordinators contributing to the UCA Inclusivity Project are working on a number of projects, some currently in development and others are currently being run as pilots. Please do contact the colleagues referenced in this update for further information and details.
Campus buddy scheme
This scheme is currently running at Canterbury, Farnham and Rochester (no student volunteers came forward at the Epsom campus). Student volunteers buddy with a new student during their first term and help with some of the general concerns they may have around settling in and making connections with appropriate University services where required. The scheme has initially been offered to students with Autistic spectrum conditions, and over the next term it will be widened to students with other disabilities who may be struggling to settle in for a range of reasons.
There was a good response for campus buddy volunteers and excellent engagement with the training provided. A number of students have been allocated buddies and we are currently setting up mid-point reviews prior to a more formal evaluation of impact of participants early in the Spring term. It is proposed that this service is sustained as a core element of disability service provision for the 18/19 academic year.
Course embedded peer support schemes
Campus LSCs can offer a course team support and information if they are considering developing a course embedded pastorally focused peer support scheme. This includes advice on setting up a scheme, arranging the delivery of workshops for students around wellbeing and putting course staff in touch with colleagues to discuss disability awareness. Outcomes to include a comprehensive guide to setting up course embedded peer support schemes, plus a portfolio of training for participating students. The guide will include illustrations of how different courses have utilised the scheme and adapted it for their own context. Sustainability is a key concern for this initiative, given the time required to engage courses with the scheme and the work required to tailor to specific contexts.
The initiative is being developed by Tara Murphy who can be contacted for further details: email@example.com
A web-based toolkit that offers advice and guidance for students starting at UCA and is due for launch at the end of October. It has been written and created in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University and is aimed at students with Autistic Spectrum conditions, but has wider applicability for any student who may have anxieties about starting at University. The aim will be to signpost individual students to the resource. This resource supports transition into UCA and will be used alongside a suite of other resources aimed at connecting students to the University and each other pre-enrolment (including collaborative work with the SU to provide content /forums via the liberation groups). Evaluation and impact studies will be undertaken in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University.
This resource will complement the Learning to Learn resource which provides access to apps to support learning which have been identified by students as particularly helpful. ‘Learning to Learn’ was a learning and teaching project completed in the first year of the Inclusion Project and can be found on myUCA.
Please contact Sharon Hocking if you would like to see the ‘Starting@UCA’ toolkit prior to formal launch.
Inclusive wellbeing practice – workshops for course teams
A workshop is currently in development for academics that can be delivered across all campuses to all course teams by arrangement. The aim is to have conversations around teaching and learning practices that enable a supportive learning environment for students who are or may be struggling with their mental wellbeing. The workshop is being delivered in response to the feedback received from course leaders many of whom considered that responding to student in difficulty was becoming a significant and increasing element of their role.
The workshop will be available for delivery to course teams toward the end of the Autumn term and beyond. The initiative is being developed by Rosie Holmes RHolmes@uca.ac.uk and Nikki Scambler firstname.lastname@example.org who can be contacted for further information.
You might also like to listen to Ruth Torr (Course Leader, Acting and Performance) in conversation with Rosie and Nikki about wellbeing strategies.
Informal Listening services for students
Rosie Holmes and Sharon Hocking have been working with HR and the Student Wellbeing Manager to scope and develop new models for offering more immediate and less formal listening services for students who are experiencing some wellbeing difficulties but who do not necessarily need to pursue counselling. A project launched at other Universities called the ‘Listening Post’ may provide the framework for future further developments at UCA. More information is available from RHolmes@uca.ac.uk
Having the ability to watch lectures after they have been delivered is a practice that can prove supportive for all students, but neurodiverse and international students in particular may benefit. There is currently a pilot project at Canterbury to enable the recording of lectures and camera equipment has been secured in the Cragg lecture theatre, so any staff who would like to opt-in to do this, can do so easily. There will be training available throughout the term (dates to be confirmed) for any academic staff who are interested in offering recordings of their lectures to their students, together with a simple technical/process guide available to refer to.
Within the broader context, the project is interested at working with academic staff to consider the deeper pedagogic issues and ask – what makes a good, inclusive recorded lecture and does this influence content and delivery? It is envisaged that the project will be evaluated to look at the impact on students, the experiences of academics, technical issues and sustainability. The physical resource, including support from an LSC, could be made available to academics on other campuses should there be interest in developing further lecture capture resources. The project will sit alongside action research projects, evaluating note taking software – such as Sonocent audio notetaker – to provide a comparative view of different approaches. Please contact Claire Scott for more information CScott10.email@example.com
You might also like to listen to Claire Scott discussing the Lecture Capture project and other inclusivity initiatives at UCA Canterbury.