Week 8: a week of wellbeing

This week was Moray House’s Health and Wellbeing week which prompted me to track my own wellbeing for my data visualisation. Given the uncertainties, isolation and move to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health and general wellbeing are now more important than ever (Grubic et al. 2020).

Week 8 visualisation
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I tried to include as many factors as possible which I thought are contributing to my wellbeing. Some of the data, for example the data for screen time, may not be accurate as my daughters sometimes use my phone to watch programmes or phone their grandparents on WhatsApp. Nonetheless, I still thought that the time I spend in front of a screen (which didn’t include screen time for work) was very high yet I couldn’t find the time to exercise.

While there are many offerings from schools and universities to support wellbeing, I was thinking about how teachers would use data in order to address the wellbeing of their students.

Teachers can play an active part in student wellbeing by considering ‘changes to syllabus, curriculum, and university culture itself’ (Bail et al. 2019, p.676). Bail et al. also point out that being approachable and presenting learning materials clearly, were important contributors for students’ wellbeing. There is therefore a direct link between teachers and wellbeing and having access to data may help to improve students’ happiness.

Being aware of privacy and surveillance issues can also be a factor in wellbeing. Students who feel that they are constantly being monitored, may feel anxious or more under pressure. Of course, data like this may include sensitive information and students might not want to share such personal details with their teachers. Teachers, on the other hand, need to understand how to handle and interpret data in order to make meaningful decisions. As surfaced in Raffaghelli & Stewart (2020), teachers should be equipped with data literacy skills that look beyond technical skills and address datafication in education.

References

Baik, C., Larcombe, W. & Brooker, A. (2019). How universities can enhance student mental wellbeing: the student perspective. Higher Education Research & Development, 38(4), 674-687, DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2019.1576596

Grubic, N., Badovinac, S. & Johri, A.M. (2020). Student mental health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: A call for further research and immediate solutions. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 66(5), 517-518. doi:10.1177/0020764020925108

Raffaghelli, J. E. & Stewart, B. (2020). Centering complexity in ‘educators’ data literacy’ to support future practices in faculty development: a systematic review of the literature. Teaching in Higher Education, 25(4), 435-455, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2019.1696301

1 thought on “Week 8: a week of wellbeing

  1. “Students who feel that they are constantly being monitored, may feel anxious or more under pressure” – yes, there is a real tension here between monitoring student well-being and worsening it through monitoring! You might want to think a little more about measuring student well-being as we move into the final block on ‘governing with data’. A lot of attention will be on student well-being and mental health in coming months, and educational leaders and policy professionals are likely to be seeking data to inform their decisions. International organizations like the OECD are already encouraging governments to focus on student well-being more, and a lot of educational technologies are appearing to support it too. Questions to ask about this, though, include ‘how is student well-being measured?’ ‘What consequences come from the measurement of well-being for management and policy purposes?’

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