Last update: August 19, 2021

Overview

As students work to achieve their academic goals during a time of hybrid learning, they are also balancing multiple challenges and priorities, all of which impact their capacity to learn and thrive. Opportunities to support all students’ wellbeing can be embedded in your learning environment proactively—you can explore strategies for embedding wellbeing in your online and/or in-person course design.

Academics

Students are worried about failing, completing the term, graduation requirements, and other specific course/program uncertainties. It may be difficult to concentrate, stay motivated, and focus. There are many factors that increase the challenges students will be facing as they try and navigate through their academic work.

Accessibility

Students with disabilities or ongoing health conditions may have additional needs that require different degrees and levels of support in this new environment. Please be mindful, and reach out to the Centre for Accessibility as a resource.

General uncertainty

Students are worried and scared for their families, inability to make plans and about their futures. Some are completely isolated from family and friends which increase stress and worry. International students may have added stress due to visa concerns, lack of funding, and isolation from family. Students are struggling with a lack of purpose during this time.

Finances

Students and their families are concerned about covering tuition fees, cost of books and supplies, rent, and food. For some families, income has been significantly impacted. Students may have difficulty getting a summer job to cover their expenses or provide for their families. Due to this pandemic, financial concerns create extensive challenges.

Living environments

Students may be in environments and relational dynamics that are unsafe, abusive, and/or invalidating. Being in this space can negatively impact their well-being and their ability to be fully present in learning spaces. The physical spaces at home may also be challenging and restrictive. Students may not have access to quiet spaces to study or participate in online classes. They may also be juggling several roles at home (student, partner, parent, etc.) or caring for other family members or young children.

Mental Health and Wellness

There is a true sense of grief, sadness, and loss throughout our community. Mental health concerns (depression, anxiety, substance use, suicidal ideation, etc.) are causing significant challenges in being able to perform academic and personal duties.

Guide for teaching instructors

Set expectations at the beginning

  • Communicate with your students clearly and regularly. 
  • Let them know that you care about their health and wellbeing, particularly during the strange time we are in.
  • Highlight resources that are available to them. 
  • Inform them that they can connect with you if they need to.

Acknowledge the whole student

  • Take the time to acknowledge that we are all in an unusual situation.
  • Recognize that everyone is impacted in different ways, yourself included.
  • Everyone has had to respond to the evolving situation and this can be challenging.
  • Like you, students are navigating different roles and responsibilities and are adapting to a hybrid learning environment and/or a return to in-person learning.
  • Convey your awareness that students are facing a variety of challenges and encourage them to practice self-care.

Check-in and tell them you care

  • Do a quick survey or poll throughout the course to take the temperature of the class. 
  • If you're concerned about a student's progress, connect with them. Follow Early Alert protocol if necessary.
  • Assure students that you and the UBC community are there to support their experiences as students.

Share a personal account

  • It is okay to share personal accounts and students may feel more connected with you when you humanize the situation.
  • Examples of personal accounts could include:
    • Navigating the social interactions that come along with returning to in-person campus activities
    • The uncertainty of the ever evolving pandemic and reports in the media
    • Being worried about friends and family in other parts of the country/world