An interactive resource written for OpenLearn by Dr Philippa Waterhouse from the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care has been shortlisted for a 2023 Learning on Screen award.
Nominated in the Online Education Resource category, At a crossroads: navigating work and/or family alongside study features a film following the story of Jaya, a mature student trying to juggle a degree with work and personal commitments. Across the course of 30 minutes, learners are also encouraged to reflect on their own experiences through a number of questions, whilst picking up tips on ways to cope with study pressures.
Dr Waterhouse, Senior Lecturer in Health and the interactive’s author, highlighted the importance of the film’s directors:
“A key challenge in making the film for the interactive was creating an individual story that spoke to a wide audience. The directors of the film (Sas Amoah and Haider Zafar) have really listened to what students have said to us to create a really engaging and relatable film.”
The interactive was created using anonymous feedback from real students as part of the Positive Digital Practices (PDP) project – a collaboration between the Open University, the University of Warwick and the University of Bradford. The project was formed in response to a lack of mental health resources for part-time, commuter and remote higher education (HE) students, all of whom can face a unique set of challenges.
One of the students who participated in the feedback said they felt “genuinely connected” to the film’s characters as well as a sense of emotional support. They also reported being better able to manage their time and prioritise.
Professor Kate Lister, Head of Academic Professional Development at Arden University and Positive Digital Practices Lead Researcher said:
“It’s been a pleasure and an honour to be involved in the creation of this wonderful interactive resource.Student mental wellbeing is such a crucial part of a successful study journey in higher education. Positive Digital Practices has been an important step in HE’s ongoing journey towards being more inclusive for our students.”
The Learning on Screen awards are run by the British Universities and Colleges Film and Video Council to showcase the best visual educational materials in film and television. They also have a remit to celebrate new filmmakers.
Winners will be announced at an in-person ceremony on Thursday 4 May at BFI Southbank in London.