Recognizing and addressing the needs of students in both the online and on-site learning environment
Stress and anxiety hinder students’ capacity for learning
We know from the Maslow pyramid of human needs that focusing on activities like learning might be harder when our physical health and well-being are at risk (McLeod, 2020). Currently, all of us experience increased levels of stress and anxiety because of the COVID19 global crisis and due to issues related to the invasion of Ukraine. In these circumstances, for some students your course may become a helpful escape from worries and a way to stay socially connected, for others it might create an additional stressor in an already difficult-enough life situation.
What you as an instructor can do?
- Start the class by asking how everyone is doing.
- Create channels of communication with students to flag to you their issues of concern (via e-mail, Moodle messenger, or social media channels).
- Create an informal space for students to share ‘good news’ stories and their personal strategies to deal with the current stressful environment, share some of your own stories via an informal Moodle forum, or course group in social media.
- Add to the course page some resources with tips and strategies for successful online learning.
- If you detect that some of your students might require psychological support, reach out to them individually and direct them to the CEU Psychological Counseling.
Note: Even though many of the issues might be out of your reach to ‘fix,’ showing empathy and understanding will send a powerful message to your students that you are there to support them.
- Finding your balance: focus, efficiency and mindfulness, Dr Erzsébet Strausz (2020), European Consortium for Political Research Virtual General Conference — A series of practical, mindfulness-based techniques that aid the heightened state of alertness, focus, self-presence and creativity when it comes to tackling everyday professional tasks, such as writing, planning, decision making or problem solving
- Coping and Staying Emotionally Well During COVID-19-related School Closures, Laura Horne (2020), ActiveMinds
- How to be successful in online classes during COVID19, DevRy University — A resource for students
- Supporting Online Students — Curriculum design and support for online learning, teachers’ guide
There is also some additional support through online workshops helping participants to improve a variety of skills. Our workshops are open to all members of the community.
Study Skills Meditation Workshops
Study Skills Meditation Workshops are thematic, meditation-based sessions that provide effective tools for a variety of aims and needs, be that relaxation, enhancing creativity or sharpening focus. Drawing on simple and easy-to-follow techniques from karma yoga meditation, mindfulness practice and creative writing, each workshop engages a key aspect of academic study and professional life, including learning skills, work habits and our ability to ‘think outside the box.’ Reflexive exercises facilitate deeper insights into our everyday operation, helping to identify limiting patterns and mapping out hands-on solutions to transform them. Guided relaxation and meditation practices offer gentle pathways to release stress and explore more caring, more connected ways of inhabiting our bodies and what we do in daily life. A relaxed state of mind enables us to revisit our tasks, challenges, and goals with fresh ‘inner’ eyes, unlocking new insights and resourcefulness. Visit the InclusiveCEU SharePoint [login required] for a full list of workshops and recordings.
What do these sessions look like?
Tailored to the given theme, each workshop starts with a series of short, reflexive exercises and hands-on suggestions that enhance introspection and writing skills (approx. 40 mins), followed by a guided relaxation and meditation practice (approx. 40 mins). Please note that cameras have been turned off for the second part of the sessions.
Who can attend?
These workshops are open to everyone – all exercises are fully guided and no former experience with meditation is required. While the techniques introduced deepen with practice, please note that individual experiences are always unique.
What if I have a question or would like to learn more?
Study Skills Meditation Workshops are offered to the CEU community by Professor Erzsébet Strausz through the Disability Services Office and HRO. With any questions or requests regarding the exercises, or how to use or improve them, please do not hesitate to contact Erzsébet by email at email@example.com.
What will be covered?
Visit the InclusiveCEU SharePoint [login required] for the four sessions conducted live in the Winter term of the academic year 2021/2022.
Whom to Contact for Support
CEU Yehuda Elkana Center for Teaching, Learning, and Higher Education Research at firstname.lastname@example.org for pedagogy-related issues of online teaching and learning.
CEU Disability Services Officer (Natalia Nagyne Nyikes) at email@example.com for accessibility issues for students with disabilities.
CEU IT Support Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org for issues related to digital accessibility.
CEU Psychological Counseling (Laszlo Biro) at email@example.com for issues related to psychological support.