Cohort Building interventions for stronger student communities, StudentShapers
This project set out to develop a toolkit consisting of several dozen activities to support cohort building within a university context. In this context, cohort was understood broadly to include all groups that share some common identity (e.g., research groups, year groups, module teams, modules cohorts, year cohorts, student societies). The idea of cohort building is to strengthen the groups ability to work together and feel connected.
What were the results; the main outputs?
The main output of the project is the Cohort Building Toolkit which can be found at www.cohortbuilding.com. The toolkit consists of 81 searchable activities that can support in-person or remote cohort building activities. Activities offer a simple explanation that has been tested for clarity and usefulness. These activities are intended to be used by both staff and students in various settings.
The toolkit has also been made such that it can add to the toolkit, e.g., through future StudentShaper projects to contribute additional activities and to extend theoretical and evaluative aspects of the toolkit.
How were the findings disseminated?
Dissemination has been supported through the website which is easy to access and searchable. A dissemination plan has also been developed to raise awareness throughout Imperial’s community and stakeholders which. include teaching and learning staff, DUGS , Student Union representatives, administrators overseeing the college’s networks and more. Additional dissemination beyond Imperial College is expected to happen first by informal channels and later perhaps more formally.
What are the longer term outcomes & benefits to student learning/student experience?
Belongingness, bonding, performance and general subjective wellbeing are all influenced by the ability of students to connect. While this is always a consideration, it has been amplified during the pandemic. This toolkit supports interpersonal connection development in a range of contexts. Students (and staff) will see greater connection to each other and the university as a result. This is thought to have an immediate impact in the short term but will likely lead to stronger ties for years to come as well.
How could these outcomes and benefits be valuable or translated to other parts of the College?
The toolkit is intentionally broad in scope and can be generalised to support any cohort building activities.
For further information, please contact: Dr Elena Dieckmann firstname.lastname@example.org