Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal <p>SEHEJ is an international peer-reviewed journal supporting the work of the <a href="">RAISE network</a>. Thus the focus is on student engagement, the active participation of students and staff and students working in partnership. You can sign up as a reviewer, reader, or author on this site by creating an account, and contact the editorial board on </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> RAISE en-US Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2399-1836 Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:<br /><p>a. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a <a href="" target="_new">Creative Commons Attribution License</a> that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.</p><p>b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.</p><p>c. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See <a href="" target="_new">The Effect of Open Access</a>).</p> My Covid-19 Experience <p>The Covid – 19 pandemic changed a lot for me over the past year, there has been&nbsp; many life some changes for the good, others not so much. My personal academic experience at Sheffield Hallam University throughout the pandemic will be discussed in this paper. I never planned to cut my degree in the USA short, I was attending university in Texas on a sport scholarship for running, however in terms of my mental health and running having to leave the USA because of the pandemic had a positive impact on me. Starting undergraduate Psychology at university in year one again was demoralising, however it has been so different to university in America and even online I have found classes so much more informative and tutors easy to engage with. I joined the psychology peer advisor team and put my prior experience at university to good use, I already made the typical student mistakes so wanted to be able to help others struggling with juggling social life and university work. I feel like the zoom classes were great as it let you engage with students similar to you easier, for example those who had camera’s and microphones on in the seminars were very like-minded to myself and confident, so we instantly became friends. For many people the pandemic has had a mainly negative impact, with many students not happy about the university experience, for me it’s been a bit of a saving grace and let me get on the right track with my life again.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Mya Taylor Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 3 6 No Man is an Island: International PhD Students' Engagement during the Pandemic <p>The unforeseen global pandemic transformed the way people live and work since the beginning of 2020, and is likely to continue for the coming academic year. In Higher Education (HE) settings, it radically shifted how students learn, interact and engage with their universities. Although UK universities reacted effectively by converting teaching and learning online, the online educational experiences posed somewhat overwhelming challenges and even threats to student engagement. Yet, little is known about how students tackle these challenges, maintain and even increase their engagement. Such an understanding is particularly crucial for the large number of international students who stayed in the UK during the lockdown. Their already complex international journeys seem to have become even more physically and psychologically challenging following the forced transition to ‘Work From Home’ while being thousands of miles away from their home countries during this crisis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Based on our personal experience of completing PhD study in the UK during the pandemic, this co-written piece of student voice intends to share our first-hand experiences through the lens of student engagement. By reflecting on the changes that we experienced, our engagement and developmental pathways and how we ‘safeguard' our wellbeing, this paper firstly demonstrates the multifaceted challenges we confronted which strongly impacted our study and life at this extraordinary time. Through capturing several dimensions of engagement, i.e. interaction, community building, partnership and peer learning, we then present how we strive to proactively engage with our academic and social activities and cope with psychological stress despite the pragmatic challenges posed by the lockdown. Finally, we reflect on what different stakeholders, i.e., international students, supervisors and universities could learn from such a reflection and might consider facilitating student engagement and development in similar challenging circumstances.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Dangeni Rui He Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 7 12 “They should want to be internationally mobile” <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>This article critically reflects on the ways how the global pandemic has influenced the setting-up phase of the ‘trans-campus’, a digital Internationalisation at Home (IaH) project in teacher education at Europa-Universität Flensburg (Germany). The difficulties related to Covid-19 travel restrictions have exposed the limitations of institution-driven internationalisation as the persuasive ‘recruitment’ of a minority of students to perform a cosmopolitan ideal of transnational mobilities and intercultural exposure. Instead, general immobilisation has inspired us to re-conceptualise IaH as a bottom-up scheme that shifts focus to the ‘immobile’ <em>majority</em> of students, taking its starting point in the valorisation of domestic diversities. Our emerging ‘trans-campus’ for multimodal experimentation within the Initial Teacher Education curriculum explicitly addresses the vast majority of non-mobile domestic students to form digital communities of practice based on each student’s individual being in the world. Instead of ‘convincing’ students to go abroad, we create a platform that enables students to reflect on their experiences during school internships and interaction with peers. This gradually allows us to shift the pre-pandemic institutional discourse around internationalisation towards a concrete platform for proximity and dialogue through which we address students as partners in the renegotiation of horizontal belongings, not as performers of exclusive mobilities<span style="text-decoration: line-through;">.</span> A student-led perspective on ‘domestic internationalisation’ implies to step out of our own comfort zones as internationally educated staff and enable a non-prescriptive continuum between “the global citizen at home and the local citizen abroad” (Beelen et al., 2016, p. 169).</p> Johannes Bohle Holger Jahnke Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 13 27 Arts Leadership and Mentoring to address social and artistic isolation: a reflective case study. <p>Following several months of lockdown and online learning, collated anecdotal evidence suggested students were experiencing negative consequences of both social and artistic isolation. To address this, the dance department at the University of Lincoln created the extra-curricular Arts Leadership and Mentoring Programme (ALMP) in September 2020.</p> <p>The Arts Leadership and Mentoring Programme consisted of two strands -</p> <p>The Peer Mentoring Scheme offered individual student led mentoring opportunities for students enrolled in the Dance department. The programme sought to build the academic community between the undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and offered a mutually beneficial activity for both mentor and mentee. Students were required to actively engage with peers and staff to take responsibility and invest in their learning process.</p> <p>The Artist Development Scheme offered work-based learning opportunities to Postgraduate students in order to develop the discipline specific, and transferable skills necessary for a career as a dance/movement artist. The scheme gave an opportunity to enter into a two-way working relationship with academic staff, and to receive discipline specific mentoring in various roles by shadowing academic staff on research and professional practice projects.</p> <p>These activities were supplemented by weekly group meetings with academic tutors in an attempt to minimise feelings of social and artistic isolation reported by both staff and students. This reflective case study tracks the development, implementation and results of the programme, leaning on postgraduate student responses to reflect on the efficacy and future development possibilities. Over the past 6 months, students engaging in these initiatives have reported fewer feelings of isolation, stating that the opportunities to continue engaging with students and staff outside of curriculum teaching has maintained the community aspect of the course, allowing students to continue to feel connected and supported by each other.</p> <p>The next stage in the programme is to consider the transition of the Arts Leadership and Mentoring programme to face to face interaction, with a trial phase of face to face ‘Peers in Progress’; a peer feedback platform for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as paid internships for students and a more diverse range of opportunities.</p> Tessa Palfrey Kirsty Russell Kirstyn Michalczyk Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 28 35 Supporting Student Learning Community Through Study Streams <p>Despite its challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged universities to embrace new ways of engaging and supporting students. This paper explores how we have used one new platform, Twitch, as part of our student engagement activities.</p> <p>Twitch is an online streaming service, most notably used by streamers sharing video game content. Viewers can interact with the streamer, and one another, using a text chat function and the site therefore serves as “a platform for participatory cultures to engage with each other” (Brown &amp; Moberly 2021, p.54). The importance of community as a factor in student learning has long been acknowledged (Vesely et al. 2007; Shea et al. 2006); in a university which had traditionally created community primarily through in-person activities, COVID-19 presented a serious threat to the formation and maintenance of our learning communities. Since studies have stressed that the participatory nature of the platform, and the interaction that it encourages, creates third places which can develop and enhance notions of community (Hamilton et al. 2014), we felt that Twitch offered a vehicle for community-building activities. Thus, we introduced a programme of live study streams, hosted by academics and professional services staff, and open to all students, to support students outside of their specific modules. These streams have become an integral part of our student offering and proven popular with students. They have also provided an insight into how we can better support and engage with students living off-campus and commuting to university, who can feel like they miss out on community-building activities that take place in-person on campus.</p> <p>In this paper we reflect on the implementation, management, and impact of these streams; to capture a holistic view, the paper is co-authored by academic and professional services staff, and a student representative. While stressing the importance of learning community and the potential of services like Twitch to assist with its creation, we also seek to provide a practical guide which allows readers to replicate this model of engagement. This will include a series of tips about what has worked well and reflections on things we hope to improve in the future.&nbsp; We support our findings with reference to feedback from students in key surveys and streaming data provided by Twitch. Thus, the paper showcases an innovative approach to student engagement which is replicable beyond our institution and will continue to have relevance in the future.</p> Stephen Harrison Rebecca Griffiths Maddi Strugnell Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 36 44 Minecraft Education Edition Magma Challenge – Bridging the Online Induction Gap <p>The Covid-19 pandemic posed many challenges for Higher Education, not least how to induct students into the University environment remotely while ensuring they had the opportunity to meet peers, University staff and connect to their campus environment. With these aims in mind, the **** Minecraft Education Edition Working Group developed an online team building induction activity within a Minecraft Education Edition World. This allowed students to work with their peers to solve a task in the shape of the Minecraft Education Edition Magma Challenge in order to allow students to bond with their peers and their learning environment.</p> <p>Feedback from students indicated that undertaking the Minecraft Education Edition Magma Challenge helped them become more familiar with the University campus, develop their IT skills in preparation for study and bond with peers and staff on their programme of study. These are all aspects shown to be linked to the effective retention of students suggesting that the Minecraft Education Edition Magma Challenge is an effective manner in which to support progression and retention of new students.</p> <p>The Minecraft Education Edition Working Group reflected that the success of the project was dependent on staff engagement and those staff who immersed themselves more fully into the Challenge provided a better student experience than those that did not.</p> Helen Tidy Helen Carney Callum Anderson Alexander Wood Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 45 60 Editorial Rachel Forsyth Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 1 2 Peer-mentoring in a pandemic: an evaluation of a series of new departmental peer-mentor schemes created to support student belonging and transition during COVID-19 <p>The rapid move to predominately online learning engendered by the COVID-19 crisis created an urgent need for rethinking support mechanisms central to student engagement and transition, namely community-building and identity within the institution. One important support mechanism, practised and widely researched in a variety of pre-pandemic contexts (e.g. Hall and Jaugietis, 2011), is peer mentoring. This article describes the establishment of student peer mentor schemes in several departments of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health at Durham University in academic year 2020-21 and assesses their nature and effectiveness. Whilst the shift to online delivery of teaching was &nbsp;anxiety provoking, it also catalysed ongoing engagement efforts. Staff were conscious that peer mentor schemes could be vital in supporting new students - particularly those from marginalised backgrounds - whilst also offering continuing students another connection to the university by volunteering as mentors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article offers several novel approaches and insights. Firstly, we explore and integrate perspectives of staff and students (acting as mentors and mentees). In so doing, we co-create this research alongside students who have been integral to the development of the departmental schemes. Relatedly, our research emphasis is on identifying elements of the schemes that may not have worked well, with the practical aim of devising and implementing improvements. This is significant in a recent literature that tends to lack a clear (self-) critical edge. Secondly the mixed methodology, combining quantitative questionnaire data with qualitative focus group insights, is surprisingly under-utilised in research in this area. Third, this research relates, of course, to an unprecedentedly challenging context for staff and students alike in the higher education (HE) sector, engendered by the COVID-19 crisis. Naturally, the literature with this recent focus is limited in quantity and scope. We develop these critical points in the literature review section below. The third section considers research context, the fourth covers research design and our findings are reported in the fifth section. In the spirit of action research, the sixth section offers our guiding principles, developed in light of our findings, for those wishing to develop departmental peer mentor schemes (McAteer, 2013; McNiff, 2013; Elliott, 1991).</p> Megan Bruce Caroline Dodd-Reynolds Geetanjali Gangoli Lewis Mates Adrian Millican Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 61 82 Engaging Students and Researchers in Their Development during a Pandemic <p>Engaging students in the development of their academic literacies and researcher skills requires that Learning Developers (LDs) and Researcher Developers (RD) place a strong emphasis on active, dynamic, collaborative and interactive pedagogies (Boyle et al., 2019; Struan, 2021). The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic caused a radical, immediate shift in LD and RD pedagogical practice; LDs and RDs became increasingly central in the sector’s response to student engagement and community building.</p> <p>This paper analyses the response of the LD and RD departments within a Scottish Russell Group university. Utilising reflections and evaluation from almost twenty staff members across the two departments, the paper provides a systematic analysis of the implementation of emergency approaches to student and researcher development. The two departments are responsible for the academic and research development of all students – from pre-entry to postgraduate research – across the institution (roughly 35,000 students in total).</p> Andrew Struan Scott Ramsay Jennifer Boyle Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 83 99 Deepening partnership values to survive and thrive in the pandemic <p><strong>Abstract</strong></p> <p>In this paper we, a social work lecturer and undergraduate student, draw on The Higher Education Academy’s (2015) partnership values to reflect on how the coronavirus pandemic impacted on our student-staff partnership.&nbsp; The deepening sense of responsibility, plurality, reciprocity, inclusivity, honesty, trust courage, authenticity and empowerment enabled us to survive and thrive during a time of change and uncertainty.&nbsp; Focussing on the dissemination strand of our partnership work, we consider the threats imposed, and opportunities afforded to us, by university closure, lockdown, and social distancing measures.&nbsp; Our intentions to co-present our staff-student partnership work within the university were put on hold.&nbsp; However, as external events moved to online platforms, and our confidence and abilities grew, these became more accessible, taking us in directions we would not have considered otherwise.&nbsp; Whilst we recognise the challenges to some aspects of our work, we also acknowledge that the pandemic disrupted the traditional institutional hierarchies and boundaries that create distance between students and staff.&nbsp; This enabled more flexible ways of working to emerge, enhanced through technological advances and greater use of liminal spaces.&nbsp; We believe a continuation of these working practices has the potential to increase student engagement and widen participation in future, as well as strengthening the values on which student-staff partnerships depend.</p> Emma Reith-Hall Fiona Steane Copyright (c) 2023 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal 2023-09-05 2023-09-05 5 1 100 112