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How satisfied are students with their course and should we care?

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Presentation on theme: "How satisfied are students with their course and should we care?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How satisfied are students with their course and should we care?

2 Stress and models of stress Stress can be the result of too much or too little arousal resulting in harm to mind and body (Schafer 1992, p. 14). Response model of Stress (Cannon, 1932, Seyle, 1974) Stimulus model (e.g. Holmes and Rahe, 1967) Dr C Gibbons2

3 3 The Transactional model of stress (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984) Demands Secondary appraisal Adaptive coping Maladaptive coping Affective outcomes: Distress Eustress Outcomes: satisfaction Perform. Health Primary Appraisal Benign, threat or challenge?

4 Primary appraisal/Sources of stress in students Student/Course specific sources of stress Personal sources of stress Teaching experienceFinancial concerns Assessment and feedbackWork-home interface Fear of failureIssues around managing apparent free time Adjusting to HEfuture concerns Organisation and management Social opportunities Workload Dr C Gibbons4

5 Outcomes/Effects of stress Individual effectsCourse specific effects Psychological healthCourse satisfaction Physical healthFeeling part of a learning community happinessIntellectual motivation Dr C Gibbons5

6 6 The Transactional model of stress (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984) Demands Secondary appraisal Adaptive coping Maladaptive coping Affective outcomes: Distress Eustress Outcomes: satisfaction Perform. Health Primary Appraisal Benign, threat or challenge?

7 Dr C Gibbons7 Yerkes-Dodson curve (1908)

8 Most measures of stress measure it in terms of degrees of distress. This ignores the possibility that such sources of stress might also act as potential for good stress/eustress as well as distress. Rating stressors as hassles and uplifts enables one to do this. Earlier research suggests measuring both is informative e.g. perceived stressors between those at risk v not at risk of developing a stress- related illness (Gibbons, 2009) Dr C Gibbons8

9 Method Questionnaire measuring sources of stress (items from NSS), key predictors (Secondary appraisal), and outcome measures (intellectual motivation and course satisfaction) Dr C Gibbons9

10 Primary appraisal: Sources of stress Teaching Assessment and feedback Academic support Organisation and management Learning resources Personal development Careers advice Course content and structure Social opportunities Course delivery Workload University support Work-home interface Secondary appraisal: Coping Context/situation related coping: University and peer support as an uplift Context control Coping – approach coping, avoidance, seeking support Dispositional influences on coping: Self-efficacy Personality [OCEAN] Demographics Outcome measures Feeling part of a learning community Intellectual motivation Course satisfaction Psychological well-being (GHQ) Dr C Gibbons10

11 Dr C Gibbons11

12 Discussion – intellectual motivation The more the work-home interface was rated as uplifting the higher were scores on intellectual motivation… The more social opportunities provided with the university were rated as a hassle the higher were scores on intellectual motivation… As openness increased intellectual motivation declined… The more learning resources were rated as uplifting the lower were scores in intellectual motivation… Dr C Gibbons12

13 Dr C Gibbons13

14 Discussion – course satisfaction The more teaching was rated as uplifting the higher were scores on course satisfaction. When course content and structure were rated as uplifting, satisfaction increased and declined when rated as a hassle. The more social opportunities were rated as a hassle the lower were scores on course satisfaction Dr C Gibbons14

15 Intellectual motivation and course satisfaction negatively correlated (rho = -.634)… The usual limitations associated with a survey approach have to be noted… Dr C Gibbons15

16 Recommendations Reviewing a course and/or rating a university through course satisfaction ratings provides an incomplete picture. Multiple measures need to be adopted. The prevalence of hassle ratings over uplifting ones and the absence of personality, self-efficacy and coping as strong predictors suggests the demands of the first year are perceived as disproportionately high. Therefore build on existing strategies to support students Dr C Gibbons16


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