University of Gothenburg
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Tre studenter sitter med datorer vid bord i park, två av dem titter mot kamrat som leende kommer mot dem
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Sustainable and accessible learning environments

The Faculty of Social Sciences is running a project called Sustainable and Accessible Learning environments (HTL). The project started in 2021 and will continue through 2022 The principal aim of the project is to develop environments that support and promote students’ mental health and learning. Another aim is to increase the accessibility of higher education for students with various backgrounds.

Video (3:25)
What is the HTL project?

Background 

Many young people today report feeling mentally unwell in various ways, and this includes higher education students. This can include anxiety, stress, low self-esteem and low mood. The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) among others has noted that managing students’ mental health will pose a bigger challenge for higher education institutions moving forward. The situation during the COVID-19 pandemic has shed further light on how students feeling in terms of their mental health.

In addition to the suffering caused, poor mental health can make it difficult for students to learn and cope with their studies. Poor mental health can also make it difficult for students to connect and work with others in their course. Creating health-promoting and inclusive learning environments is one step that higher education institutions can take to address this situation, especially if you ask the students themselves.  

Photo: Johan Wingborg
Photo: Natalie Greppi

Five sub-projects:

Student-centred flexibility (HyFlex)

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Three student around a table in a university café
Photo: Natalie Greppi

Student-centred flexibility is a development project which aims to investigate the possibilities for giving students the opportunity to choose their own pathway of learning through a course. The idea is that the course is designed in such a way that the student can choose class activities based on their own situations and in relation to the intended learning outcomes. 

The aim of the project is to revise an existing course and develop a new course based on the HyFlex (hybrid and flexible) course model.  This project is being carried out in cooperation with the EUTOPIA European University (EEU) alliance.

Contact

Gregg Bucken Knapp

Professor, School of Public Administration

Toolbox for sustainable student life

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Four students in two sofas opposing each other, in an open space with more students in the background
Photo: Natalie Greppi

An open online resource has been developed in this project. This web-based resource can be used by any staff member and others who want to work with student mental health and sustainability, focusing in particular on the study environment and inclusion. The students’ union provides a sounding board in this project. This project has been carried out as part of the Sharing culture for education, recruitment and knowledge creation (DURK) project at the Pedagogical Development and Interactive Learning (PIL) unit at the University of Gothenburg. 

Student life

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Students around a table in a restaurant with many people
Photo: Johan Wingborg

This project is about monitoring, documenting and drawing conclusions from how students experience their first five weeks as students. The students keep diaries about what they experience and learn about student life over a period of five weeks. The aim of this project is to work with the students to draw conclusions from the data generated (the students’ diary entries) and on how the structure and organisation of the Faculty and its departments – in a broad sense, the students’ learning environment – can be developed to support and promote the students’ mental health. 

This project is being funded by the University of Gothenburg from the additional funding received from the Swedish Government in spring 2021 to work with students’ mental health in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the second phase of the project, we will invite the same students to attend workshops in which their diary entries will be analysed in order to find solutions and develop concrete proposals for how the structure and organisation at the Faculty and its departments – which in a broad sense, constitutes the students’ learning environment – can be developed so as to prevent the development of psychological symptoms, poor mental health and low self-esteem.

In phase three, the solutions identified will be evaluated with a new group of students at a workshop. This project is being funded by the University of Gothenburg from the additional funding received from the Swedish Government in spring 2021 to work with students’ mental health in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project results will be presented during the spring semester 2022. 

Contact

Lena Örnberg,

Quality Control Coordinator, Faculty office

Literature review

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Four students at a round table in a library
Photo: Johan Wingborg

This project involves conducting a systematic review of the literature on efforts made in the higher education sector at a structural/organisational level to support and promote students’ mental health and/or prevent mental ill-health. The University Library is supporting this work. The project has been financed by funding from Student and Education Support at the University of Gothenburg.

Contact

Tina Olsson

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work

Teachers’ experiences of online teaching

-- COMPLETED SUB-PROJECT --

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Tea cup in front of a laptop, where a zoom meeting is ongoing
Photo: Chris Montgomery, Unsplash

In order to explore teachers’ experiences and how they managed the transition from campus-based teaching to online teaching, the project group conducted focus group interviews with teaching staff. The interviews were conducted one year after online teaching became a must for all of Sweden’s higher education institutions.

The main purpose of the interviews was to capture the lessons learned and progress made in relation to online teaching. The interviews were based on questions about how digital types of instruction can be used to improve the quality of teaching and how students’ experience of relatedness and inclusion can be supported and promoted.

Contact

Lena Örnberg,

Quality Control Coordinator, Faculty office

Organisation:

HTL is a project being carried out at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gothenburg during the calendar years 2021 and 2022. The project was commissioned by the Faculty Board. 

The project is governed by a steering committee:

Therése Skoog (project manager)
Malin Broberg (Dean)
Sylva Frisk (Associate Dean with responsibility for education matters)
Agnes Nurbo (Quality Coordinator at the Faculty Office)
Arne Wackenhut (teaching staff representative)
Arvid Danielsson (student representative appointed by the students’ union)

 

In association with

Student Healthcare, University of Gothenburg:
https://studentportal.gu.se/english/study-environment-and-rules/student-healthcare/

Unit for Pedagogical Development and Interactive Learning (PIL):
https://pil.gu.se/english

Section for Student and Educational Support:
https://medarbetarportalen.gu.se/utbildningsenheten/sektionen-student-utbildningsstod/?languageId=100001

University Library:
https://www.ub.gu.se/en

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