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Uná Meehan, who designed the event, felt it was really important that academics remained connected with students and reassured everyone that we are all in this together as we navigate this new chapter in history.

The Faculty of Education and Children’s Services hosted the virtual event through software where individuals could see each other from their own homes, as face-to-face teaching at the University has been temporarily suspended due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The sessions included fitness activities, such as yoga, as well as mindfulness and wellbeing workshops led by the University’s Student Futures team. Associate Professor James Holt gave practical advice on how to find the calm within your own four walls and career advice was offered through a session on interview techniques led by a head teacher. A partnership school also shared best practice in delivering quality online teaching.

Hundreds of students participated in the interactive sessions and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. One student, for example, stated how much their confidence had grown by participating in both the online lighting and photography workshop.

Uná Meehan, Programme Leader and Acting Director of Partnerships, said: “In these challenging times it’s more important than ever that the Faculty is able to come together as a community and support each other.

“This was the first time that colleagues and external partners had done anything like this in our brave new digital world. It was a tremendous success with hundreds of students participating in interactive sessions. The emails messages and tweets have been overwhelmingly positive and we hope to run these more regularly.”

For example, Sian O’Hanlon, a Secondary PGCE student, said: “The wellbeing day was a fantastic opportunity to learn from others and was a chance for everyone to come together and share our thoughts and ideas. At a time of uncertainty, it has really helped me and I began this week with a spring in my step. The University offered a diverse mix of workshops throughout the day, meaning there was something for everyone: yoga; singing; interview tips and mindfulness workshops. The effort and organisation by everyone involved was faultless and signified the community spirit of the University.”

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services, Associate Professor David Cumberland, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to bring together staff and students in an innovative and exciting way. All involved benefitted greatly and we hope to run more in the future. Thank you to all who took part and engaged.”


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