Starting class or lecture with a brief mindfulness or meditation exercise encourages students to make time to practice mindfulness in their daily routines as well. This can help students and instructors clearly and calmly engage in the course material. Resources Variants Fuel Decline in Student Mental Health Stress Reduction, Mindfulness & Relaxation Q&A: Meditation…
This resource is a filterable list of best practices to help your students become better learners and to promote a culture of wellbeing in your learning environment. All the ideas originate from your fellow instructors and have been positively received by students. These best practices are all guided by principles that we think are effective in helping our students be the best learners they can be: Teaching the whole student, normalizing help-seeking behaviors, asking for feedback, assisting students in clarifying their sense of purpose, and building a community where all feel they belong.
Not every idea will work for every class. Discover what works for you. We also hope you will contribute to the list if you have a new idea that showed promise! If you would like to discuss any practices on this list, or have ideas of your own, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Small group lunches with faculty/instructors from the department provide an opportunity for student/instructor connection, as well as peer to peer connection for students. Resources Activities/Discussion Topics Suggestions
Providing opportunities for students to socialize or connect with one another outside of their academic coursework helps facilitate connections for students and helps promote a sense of belonging. If faculty, instructors, and staff attend, it can be a nice way for students to get to know their departments better too. Resources Communication Template
The Do Less, Better tool was developed by Professor Mike Short in Course 22 and helps students track how many hours they spend on each class each week. If students are spending more time than a class is supposed to take, this tool can help the faculty adjust the workload, or help the students adjust…
Department-level in-person or virtual office hours allow students to get a variety of questions answered and also share concerns or feedback with departmental leadership. Resources Template Communications
Students have appreciated diverse alumni panels where they can hear from graduates in their major. The alumni panels can be hosted virtually or in-person. Alumni can be prompted to share some of their difficulties at MIT, as well as how they moved forward into graduate programs and/or careers. Students shared that alumni can help them…
The Academic Administrator(s) for the department can send along an introductory message to students to share a little bit about themselves and let students know that they are one of many resources. This helps students become familiar with departmental resources and lowers the barriers for students seeking support. Resources Sample Email
Developing a syllabus that sets a supportive tone with policies that encourage wellbeing can have a big impact on students. This presentation on syllabi outlines how small changes to your syllabus can make a difference for how students approach the class. Resources Sample syllabi statements
Students’ energy can become low as the semester goes on and they become more fatigued. Having a brain break activity can help students refocus on the task at hand and can improve productivity. This is something that can be incorporated mid-semester or implemented regularly into classes. Resources Sample activities
Professor Hughey uses a Google Form to streamline extension requests in 2.671. Steps Create a Google form, like the form used in 2.671, for students to request a short extension. Give students a deadline for requesting an extension (i.e., at least 24 hours prior to the time the assignment is due). Make sure this is…
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