Student wellbeing has become a key priority for the HE sector in recent years. Whilst we often think of wellbeing as something that can be primarily managed beyond the curriculum, good teaching and learning design and delivery directly impacts the student experience and can in turn, support good wellbeing and help students to thrive.

“Universities ensure that curriculum takes a holistic view of learners, using secure scaffolding and evidence informed practice to enable all students to develop skills, confidence, academic self–efficacy and improve performance.” Mental Health Charter, 2022

This guide outlines how embracing the CT principles of course-wide design, assessment for learning and supporting the needs of all learners, will better align our teaching and learning practices with the themes set out in the University Mental Health Charter.

Teaching design and delivery can actively help to maintain good student wellbeing and therefore offers a preventative approach to supporting students’ mental health. In addition, signposting students to relevant professional services when required will also help to support good wellbeing (e.g. Academic Skills, Library).

If students are experiencing poor mental health and require specific support interventions, it is important to signpost them to the relevant specialist services for professional help (contact Student Support for further guidance, including the urgent or emergency wellbeing support service).

Curriculum Transformation and mental wellbeing

Many courses are already implementing, or planning via Curriculum Transformation to implement, teaching and learning practices which support student wellbeing. The following design principles can directly support the themes of the University Mental Health Charter.

A course-wide approach to learning
Top tips to maximise wellbeing impact:
  • In design, map the expected development of student’s understanding of key concepts and ensure this is carried out across modules. An internally coherent curriculum benefits student wellbeing by supporting the development of mastery, self-efficacy, self-narrative within discipline, deep learning and meaning.
  • Use the first teaching session of a module to help students build clear, meaningful connections between other modules they are studying and, where possible, to their own lives.
  • Use formative assessment to build student’s ability to connect concepts.
You might also consider:
  • Using a course-wide approach to design units will ensure a more cohesive, joined-up learning experience which builds on students’ prior learning and encourages real-world application of knowledge.
  • Identifying and building on students’ prior learning (at school or across units and course years) will better support effective transition from school to University, year to year and from unit to unit.
  • Developing course intended learning outcomes which promote deep and applied learning will encourage meaningful learning which supports wellbeing.

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Updated on: 11 January 2023