About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5953-5962
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain

WEB-BASED TOOLS TO OPTIMISE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE BY FACILITATING THE DEVELOPMENT OF WELLNESS FACTORS THAT AFFECT ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

A. Du Plessis

Stellenbosch University (SOUTH AFRICA)
Stellenbosch University (SU) adopted a wellness model that looks at wellness in terms of the physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, social and spiritual dimensions. A comprehensive literature study revealed that wellness related factors from all six dimensions (for example physical exercise, emotional intelligence, stress and worry, self-control, grit, hope, optimism, equanimity, character strengths and positivity) affect academic achievement. Academic support efforts at our institution are largely based on this model – it therefore also includes designing support programmes, both digital (internet-based) and traditional (person-to-person), to develop each of the six wellness dimensions and to address the needs associated with specific wellness related factors that affect academic achievement.

Research results from various international and local studies are listed in this paper to demonstrate the link between wellness and academic performance – the first part reports findings from studies that looked at the influence of wellness in the context of wellness models (like Hettler’s), including the results of our own prediction models, and the second part concentrates on findings regarding specific factors that affect academic achievement, like physical exercise, emotional intelligence, stress and worry, self-control, grit, hope, optimism, equanimity, character strengths and positive emotions. The profile of a “perfect” student, i.e. one who has the greatest chance of success, is compiled from this research and is described.

A collection of wellness surveys, websites and multimedia products were developed to support the development of wellness in general (Hettler’s model) and to address the needs associated with the specific wellness factors that affect academic performance (examples in the list provided above). These resources are available to both mentors (acting like life coaches) and students and can be used in both structured and unstructured programmes.

A number of these tools has been implemented (including an e-therapy implementation based on proven positive psychology interventions - it addresses many of these wellness factors), is being used in research and support programmes at SU and is available on the intranet to both students and mentors. Others are still in the development phase. These tools can be used independently by students, or their use can be facilitated by mentors. See http://www0.sun.ac.za/flourish/ecppwell.htm for examples of these tools.

The tools also include a tracking component and all interactions with students are recorded. Every user has a private and secure space on the intranet where a complete record of his interactions with the tools is recorded. Every user can therefore keep track of his/her profile and wellness (compiled from survey results), and monitor his/her own improvement efforts (utilisation of multimedia tools and e-therapy) by studying his/her individualised member’s page.

The university can also monitor the overall wellness and progress of students, and the Student and Academic Support division can further utilise this information to design specific and individualised interventions for each student. This is done by comparing the profile of each student with the profile of the “perfect” student and by selecting and consequently recommending appropriate interventions from both the traditional and digital options to the student.
@InProceedings{DUPLESSIS2012WEB,
author = {Du Plessis, A.},
title = {WEB-BASED TOOLS TO OPTIMISE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE BY FACILITATING THE DEVELOPMENT OF WELLNESS FACTORS THAT AFFECT ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT},
series = {4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN12 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-695-3491-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {5953-5962}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Du Plessis
TI - WEB-BASED TOOLS TO OPTIMISE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE BY FACILITATING THE DEVELOPMENT OF WELLNESS FACTORS THAT AFFECT ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
SN - 978-84-695-3491-5/2340-1117
PY - 2012
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2012
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN12 Proceedings
SP - 5953
EP - 5962
ER -
A. Du Plessis (2012) WEB-BASED TOOLS TO OPTIMISE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE BY FACILITATING THE DEVELOPMENT OF WELLNESS FACTORS THAT AFFECT ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, EDULEARN12 Proceedings, pp. 5953-5962.
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