Parallel Sessions 2: 13.00 – 14.00

PAPERS (25 minutes each)

13.00 – 13.25

Chicken Soup for the soul: Promoting well-being and belonging through food and cultural competence skills

Karen Lipsedge and Hilda Mulrooney

Kingston University

Question: What does well-being and belonging in Teaching and L D look like in practice?
Dr Karen Lipsedge, Associate Professor in English Literature and Senior Teaching and Learning Advisor, and Dr Hilda Mulrooney, Associate Professor in Nutrition, Kingston University, London, UK
The presentation will focus on two Kingston University initiatives to develop and enhance students’ sense of well-being and belonging: Cultural Food Stories and Cultural Competence skills workshops.
Food is universal and has cultural and social meanings (Dunbar, 2017). During the physical separation experienced throughout the pandemic, the Cultural Food Stories initiative explored whether recipe and story sharing could enhance staff and student belonging, while simultaneously honouring cultural diversity. Given the importance of belonging in enhancing student learning, engagement and retention (Tinto, 2017), this is highly pertinent. To enhance student success, it is also essential to equip students with the skills they need to appreciate how cultural differences and similarities help to enhance personal and professional interactions rather than to stereotype or marginalise. The Cultural Competence skills initiative creates tailored workshops to support students’ ability to understand and respect their own and others’ cultural background and values. These strategies help to equip our students with the resilience and skills needed to thrive and be successful professionals in their future careers.
We argue that wellbeing and belonging are key tools for developing students learning and can be easily incorporated into educational practice. By inviting diverse students to participate within each of these initiatives, their cultural heritage is not only welcomed but also acknowledged explicitly. Attendees will leave with a practical toolkit to embed our Cultural Food Stories and Cultural Competence skills initiatives as part of their teaching and learning practice and devise associated activities that enhance professional development skills and better support all our students, regardless of background.

Dunbar, R.I.M. (2017) Breaking bread: the functions of social eating, Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 3: 198–211. DOI: 10.1007/s40750-017-0061-4
Tinto, V. (2017). Through the eyes of students. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 19(3), 254-269. DOI: 10.1177/1521025115621917.

13.35 – 14.00

Understanding arts-based methods for the virtual world of teaching

Selen Kars-Unluoglu and Burcu Guneri-Cangarli

University of the West of England

Arts-based methods which traditionally rely on engagement with material artefacts (e.g. LEGO® bricks, finger puppets, craft materials) have been on the rise in management learning and teaching. However, COVID-19 has challenged educators to adapt these methods to online teaching environments with an impact on learning development. This paper reports on the results of a piece of qualitative research that sought to deepen our understanding of the pedagogy of arts-methods with an aim to explore the effective transferability to online teaching environments. The research setting is a training programme delivered in partnership with two HE institutions (in the UK and Turkey) that introduced learners to arts-based teaching methods and supporting pedagogies by getting learners to experiment with taught techniques to develop their own practice as management educators. The programme was disrupted by COVID-19 forcing educators improvise ways to teach arts-based methods virtually. Drawing on participant observation of six teaching sessions, which employed arts-based teaching online, and 12 qualitative questionnaires and interviews conducted with the educators and learners in these sessions, this paper explores the lived experience of art-based teaching in the virtual world of teaching and learning. The analysis indicated a range of enablers and barriers both for the learners and educators. The enablers ranged from building trust and rapport to providing rich material (handouts and other collateral material) before and during the session. These allowed participants to acquire knowledge and reflect deeply. However, the technical limitations and the physical separation were also highlighted which posed challenges in terms of transference of activities to virtual setting, inability to “read the room” caused by the lack of micro-social interactions in these settings. These limitations got in the way of the “embodied” experience of learning which has implications for learner development. The paper concludes by surfacing questions and reflections into the future of arts-based methods for virtual world of learning development.

Student wellbeing and technostress: critical learning design factors

Debbie Holley and David Biggins

Bournemouth University

In Higher Education, student wellbeing is now the responsibility of all of us. During the pandemic, the pivot to online positioned technology as a panacea, and saw students being signposted to digital resources. With digital wellbeing taking on new dimensions, it is timely to consider how technostress impacts our students. This presentation reports on the results of a digital health and wellbeing survey (n=103), and we report on the surprising responses from 80 students to the survey question about technostress. Comments indicate students feel let down by teaching staff who struggle with the mediating tools of their online trade, technology, and show little empathy for those they teach. McDougall et al (2018) argue that human-centred approaches, prioritizing staff and students’ immediate and lifelong wellbeing, are key to success in developing policies for student wellbeing, rather than the mere use of digital tools.

The presentation focuses on the issues identified by students and shares their suggested solutions. Our findings indicate that the formulaic approaches offered by [academic] staff to students to ‘go there to be fixed’ will chime with learning developers championing student support as emancipatory practice. Our conclusions recommend an integrated model for framing student wellbeing underpinned with exceptional learning design, and considers the optimum on a continuum for the use of technological tools. Learning developers will be invited to reflect on their own experience of technostress during the pandemic, and share their considerations as to how to widen our understanding of this phenomena.

Supporting students with the transition to university in a Covid world: expectations and reality

Sonia Hood and Ed Powell

University of Reading

In the spring of 2021 concerns were being raised in the Teaching and Learning community at the University of Reading regarding the incoming cohort of students. With such disruption to their education would they be adequately prepared for university level study? What impact would this, in turn, have on support services, like Study Advice, and retention and progression rates? And what of our returning students? Are they adequately prepared for the academic challenges they will face at the next level of study? As a result, a University wide working group was established to research the issue and offer solutions to support students and staff with the 2021 transition of our new and returning students. This paper will report on the findings from focus groups with year 13 students and 6th form tutors, and questionnaire data gathered from our current students during the summer of 2021. It will highlight the perceived academic strengths and development areas from their various perspectives and their beliefs as to what issues they will face with transitioning to the next level. We will share our University response to this; how we supported students with their academic transition this academic year. Finally, we will report whether our predictions as to what students would present to Study Advice this year materialised; how we believe Covid will continue to affect students in the coming years; and how that in turn will affect demand levels and types of support we as a Learning Development service will offer.

An investigation of the impact of hybrid working on hybrid practitioners

Nicola Grayson

University of Manchester

In this paper I will share my experience of hybrid working as a Learning Developer and an academic across two different institutions. I will explore how the boundary space Learning Development occupies served to support me in my academic role by granting a unique dual perspective in relation to teaching, support, assessment and the development of strategic learning interventions (see Fitzgerald, Ferlie, McGivern & Buchanan (2013) on hybrid positions as ‘boundary spanners’). It is well recognised that Learning Development occupies an ambiguous ‘third space’ that is difficult to specifically define within the structures of most Higher Education Institutions (Whitchurch, 2015). As a result, Learning Developers and those who identify as ‘blended professionals’ have difficulty defining our role and communicating our worth within the academy. We belong because of our unique perspective and insights, yet we do not belong because our profession has no set entry routes or requirements, no fixed and recognised position, and no set paradigms, I will argue that this is where we, as a community gain our power. However, this power is somewhat restricted, Baron (2020) argues that the border space we often occupy is a contested, feminised space (see also Logsdon, Mars and Tomkins (2017)) and this is irrefutably echoed by my own experience. I will share my story and present the early findings of a research project which investigates the impact that hybrid roles have on the individuals who occupy them and on the wider LD community.


Baron, V. (2020). Negotiating the Invisible Maze as an Academic Professional. In A. Burns and S. Eaton (Eds), Women Negotiating Life in the Academy: A Canadian Perspective. Singapore: Springer Singapore. doi:10.1007/978-981-15-3114-9

Fitzgerald, L. Ferlie, E., McGivern, G. & Buchanan, D. (2013). Distributed leadership patterns and service improvement: Evidence and argument from English healthcare. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(1), 227-239. qua.2012.10.012

Logsdon, A., Mars, A. Tompkins, H. (2017). Claiming expertise from betwixt and between: Digital humanities librarians, emotional labor, and genre theory. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 24(2-4) 155-170. doi: 10.1080/10691316.2017.1326862

Early experiences in Learning Development at a new technological university

Marian Hurley and Deirdre Casey

Munster Technological University

In our talk, we will outline early findings and reflections on the value, potential and impact of an embedded approach to Learning Development at a new university. Since 2020-21, we have been designing and piloting learning development interventions at Munster Technological University. The early stages of our project have been informed by student feedback gathered through one-to-one writing support tutorials at our Academic Learning Centre and by lecturer feedback and input on development needs. From these, it has emerged that writing development is currently a core shared priority.

Drawing on two writing development case studies, we will outline our early findings regarding the tailoring of writing development resources and interventions in disciplinary context. These will be illustrated using the parallel case studies of our work on technical writing and on writing for the Humanities and Social Sciences. We will share key insights we have gained from the design, delivery and review of writing development workshops as we have refined our approach from an “open-to-all” model to an embedded model which has seen us deliver interventions within the disciplinary lecture theatre, focusing on relevance, validity and impact. We will also discuss our co-design approach to learning development, highlighting what can be learned and generalised from our initial experiences of creating interventions with discipline lecturers. Referring again to our case studies, we will illustrate the potential for learning development both to shape and to be shaped by disciplinary norms and practices.

WORKSHOPS (60 minutes)

Grow Your Academic Resilience

Claire Olson, Helen Briscoe, and Maisie Prior

Edge Hill University

Grow Your Academic Resilience is a 60-minute interactive workshop aimed at equipping Edge Hill University students with practical tools to nurture their academic resilience. Academic Resilience can be defined as the ability of students to deal with academic challenges and setbacks (Martin & Marsh, 2008). The session helps students recognise the qualities of a ‘growth’ as opposed to ‘fixed’ mindset (Dweck, 2006), and supports them to feel confident in dealing constructively with feedback. Students are encouraged to identify strengths they already possess and consider the skills they need to achieve their academic goals.

Research demonstrates that resilience is an attribute that positively impacts upon student wellbeing, engagement, and academic achievement (Turner, Scott-Young & Holdsworth, 2017). Consequently, we believe Universities play a key role in developing the resilience of students, therefore introducing students to this concept at the earliest opportunity is paramount. Feedback from students and academics to date has been positive and we are aiming to grow the number of sessions we deliver.

Our objective at ALDinHE 2022 is to deliver an adapted session and elicit feedback from our peers for future development. Participants will take part in a 45-minute version of the original workshop as if they were university students, completing the same activities. Alongside this, commentary will be provided on how and why the session has been constructed, discussing the nature of the activities. Finally, workshop participants will be given 15 minutes to share their experiences and offer any constructive suggestions they may have. A series of bespoke materials have been created, and will be shared with participants, alongside presentation notes.


DWECK, C. S., 2006. Mindset: The new psychology of success. How we can learn to fulfil our potential. New York: Random House.

MARTIN, A. J. and MARSH, H. W., 2008. Academic buoyancy: Towards an understanding of students’ everyday academic resilience. Journal of School Psychology. 46 (1), pp. 53-83.

TURNER, M., SCOTT-YOUNG, C. M. and HOLDSWORTH, S., 2017. Promoting wellbeing at university: the role of resilience for students of the built environment, Construction Management and Economics. 35 (11-12), pp. 707-718.

Session plan:

Activity 1: Fixed vs. Growth mindset quiz

Activity 2: Grow your academic resilience (bespoke worksheet)

Activity 3: Your feedback plan

The session addresses the following Learning Outcomes:

• Understanding what it means to be academically resilient

• Recognising a ‘growth’ mindset

• Discovering practical tools to nurture your resilience • Dealing confidently with feedback

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