A Recap of the 2020 – 2021 Academic Year
With the pilot year of our Blue Hen Wellbeing Community coming to a close, we wanted to share a brief look at just some of the amazing things that our students have learned and the skills they’ve developed as a result of being a part of the this virtual community experience. We covered all 9 Wellness Dimensions (Spiritual, Social, Emotional, Financial, Environmental, Creative, Physical, Intellectual and Career), as well as key topics such as academic wellbeing and stress management. We also included content developed directly by students for their peers in the community, including a podcast series about being well during the pandemic!
We learned about:
Making music using fruit (and technology), how to avoid burnout, expressing gratitude, sleep hygiene, budgeting, the relationship between nature and spirituality, how to reduce harm associated with substance use, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Canada, how Harry Potter helps develop reasoning and decision-making skills, actions you can take today to help the environment (like switching your default search engine to Ecosia), and how the Awá tribe of Brazil is fighting to preserve their hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Here are a few other major highlights:
- COVID-eos from the Career Center in every monthly module that covered topics such as: job searches, resume building, portfolio design, interview prep, networking and more.
- Opportunities to design condom wrappers, build video games and create custom LEGO models.
- Promotion of virtual events from both UD and non-UD affiliated sources including: socials, coffee hours, study sessions, theatre performances, documentary screenings, art shows and music performances.
- Access to loads of freebies including: graphic design software, books, video games, puzzles, wellness videos, and virtual on-demand workshops.
Community Description and Goals
The Blue Hen Wellbeing Community is a free, non-credit, self-paced and self-directed online learning space through the Canvas LMS platform for University of Delaware undergraduate and graduate students to explore wellness topics that interest them. Students can connect through discussion forums with peers engaged in the same learning modules, as well as through opportunities to attend twice-monthly Zoom events (virtual socials). The “menu meal” approach of bite-sized modules fits students’ online capacities and is in line with best practices regarding cognitive load during a pandemic. New modules are added monthly. Read the Blue Hen Wellbeing Community article on UDaily for an in-depth look at how this community is improving student wellbeing.
The goal of the community is to provide students with a virtual environment where they can holistically improve their wellbeing through three key areas of active participation:
- Using the De-Stress Videos module to practice stress management and self-care
- Finding a sense of belonging by connecting with their peers to develop a healthy support network, which is beneficial to mental health
- Exploring additional modules that address the 9 Wellness Dimensions to support healthier choices, laying the foundation for lifelong wellbeing
Students can enroll in this Canvas community by completing a Qualtrics sign up form: udel.edu/007581. Once they complete the form, they will be manually enrolled in the course within 7 days. At any time, students may choose to turn off notifications if they wish to take a break from the community. If a student no longer wishes to be a part of the community, they may request to be unenrolled by completing this Qualtrics form: udel.edu/007582.
Modules will be centered around the 9 Wellness Dimensions (featuring one dimension per month), but they will also address critical topics (ex. Stress management, safer sex, substance use, etc.), which will allow students to engage with the content that interests them the most or fits their self-identified needs at the time (ie. a student may select to only work on modules related to career wellness and environmental wellness). Students will be able to work their way through their self-selected modules at their own pace, and new modules will be offered throughout the semester. Older modules will remain active, enabling students to join the course at any point in the semester.
Activities (ie. “assignments”) within each module will include combinations of online resources and tools (ex. PathwayU from the Career Center) in a variety of formats (ex. Documentaries, podcasts, articles, etc.). Ideally, some activities will utilize the “paths” feature within Canvas, so that learning can be scaffolded, enabling students to be directed towards activities that will challenge them based on their level of competency with the topics (ex. Once a student completes the PathwayU assessment, then they’ll be directed to review their career and major matches as well as be given the option set up a career counseling appointment in Handshake).