Building wellbeing and connectedness in the Open University Associate Lecturers teaching at a distance through online creative expressions

Bhandari, Renu (2022). Building wellbeing and connectedness in the Open University Associate Lecturers teaching at a distance through online creative expressions. In: WELS Staff Tutor conference, 22 Nov 2022, The Open University, UK [Online].

Abstract

The key aim of this project was to involve all Associate lecturers (ALs) in Access with creative arts and boost their wellbeing through connectedness and positive sense of self through expressions in creative arts. After gaining required ethical approvals and consent, an online space “Hues” (Open Studio) was set up to encourage all Als to engage in a creative expression that is non-academic and relaxing and builds on their sense of belonging and connectedness in the Access team. The ALs had to complete a self-devised questionnaire about their reflections and the value this online portal added to their sense of connectedness and wellbeing. The results were analysed through quantitative and qualitative analysis of the four galleries and their uploads along with the survey questionnaire. The four key themes emerged were- connectedness, away from work feeling, Happiness, enjoyment, and positive feelings and opening to new places, ideas, and shares. The results were analysed in line with available studies on sense of belonging, connectedness, and well-being. This project highlights the importance of online safe spaces for creating an inclusive platform for Associate lecturers. The stress of teaching and supporting the students at a distance can be easily overcome by designing online spaces like Hues to engage Associate lecturers in activities that are non-academic, creative, and allow building a sense of community, connectedness, and positive emotions like happiness.

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