You may have seen the blue emoticons on posters around the university, symbolising a range of feelings from sadness to stress, from happiness to hunger. These emoticons are part of the university’s new interactive Wellbeing website, which is aimed at helping both staff and students look after their wellbeing.
Users click on an emoticon that best suits their mood and the site asks follow-up questions for further assessment before offering advice on how best to cope with these feelings.
As well as emotions, students can also choose from issues relating to relationships, study, work, lifestyle and pregnancy to get information, advice and support. For help with studying, for example, the site offers tips for presentation and group work, revision, coursework, time management and dealing with exams.
Project manager Sharron Croft explains the idea behind the website: “We wanted to raise the Wellbeing agenda within the university because at the moment we’ve got lot of initiatives but they didn’t all come under one roof, so for example people didn’t realise that something on green transport issues and something on work life balance was necessarily a wellbeing issue.”
Initiatives under Wellbeing include the introduction of the bicycle sheds, the cycling programme, the Winter Ball and Healthy Campus Week.
“Wellbeing is anything that makes you feel happy or part of your general lifestyle,” Croft says. The university aims to support individuals to realise their potential whilst coping with the normal stresses of life and work.
The University of Lincoln teamed up with Leeds Metropolitan University who had already developed the wellbeing site, but changes are now being made to make it more relevant to Lincoln.
“You’ll notice as you go through it that there a lot of links to portal pages to initiatives that already exist,” Croft explains, which provides students with more guidance and support.
But Croft stresses that the Wellbeing programme isn’t about eradicating face-to-face communication:
“It’s a resource aimed to support people, it never takes away the role of HR for staff or Student Services for students, it’s just a port of call and it’s 24/7,” she says.
The Wellbeing programme is still in its early stages, but Croft is keen to develop it further: “I’m trying to generate another couple of ‘smilies’ that would be something around ‘I want a challenge’ and something around ‘I’m buzzing’, to put a bit more positivity into it, but again this may be something that students can help with,” she says.
Other ideas that Croft is also looking to add to the site include a search option, iPhone and Android apps and a calendar that shows the most stressful times for students such as house-hunting and deadlines.
The Wellbeing project is ongoing, and in order to help provide a service that students find will use and benefit from, Croft welcomes any feedback about the site and the project in general. If you have any comments or suggestions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.Tweet