This part of the Toolkit encourages course teams and tutors to reflect and evaluate how Sense of Belonging is incorporated into their provision.
This tool is based on the Viewpoints card methodology (Ulster, 2012). This method allows users to examine an overarching topic by encouraging them to answer questions grouped by particular sub-topics. (For more information see Gibson (2016)).
In this case, the overarching topic is Sense of Belonging and the three sub-topics are:
- Space: deals with the online teaching space, including the VLE, how it is used and whether it has the functionality needed to support the creation of SoB.
- Identity: deals with the development in the individual and explores the ideas that each individual will have a different concept of SoB and builds in the need to respect this.
- Community: includes the nature of the learning community and how it is created and used.
The cards are also cross-cut into four domains partly reflecting the life cycle of a course as noted in the section called Practical Advice on Sense of Belonging. These stages are:
- Before (incorporating Before and Starting)
This gives a total of 10 cards, 9 covering Space, Identity and Community at each stage plus one card designed to provoke reflection on Assessment. Each card discusses the sub-topic in question at the relevant course stage with questions and prompts on the back of the cards for users to consider. The cards are provided here as editable PowerPoint or PDF file.
The flexibility of the cards means they are useful in a workshop setting. They can be printed off and used with a course team, programme team, subject discipline group etc. Users can focus on a group of cards based on the particular stage of the course life cycle or look at one sub-topic, based on their needs.
There is no right or wrong way to use the cards!
We have also included an action research case study from Edinburgh Napier University which looked at the meaning of Sense of Belonging to tutors and students in post-graduate education and dispute resolution courses.