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A screenshot of Georgia Tech's student success resources in the LMS

Georgia Tech created a tab on students’ LMS to connect them with helpful resources at the university.

Georgia Tech

To meet students’ mental health needs, colleges and universities are bolstering their wellness supports, but few students engage with or know about these resources.

A July 2023 survey by Tyton Partners found 54 percent of students were aware of mental health counseling at their institution, compared to 91 percent of campus employees who said the service was offered. Institutions with a single online portal for resource access were more likely to believe students have equal access, awareness and utilization of their services, highlighting the importance of placing resources in a single location.

Rather than creating a new portal, some institutions are working in their existing learning management system to embed wellness, academic success and community support resources in one place. Inside Higher Ed found four themes of support sites.

Campus Services 

Georgia Tech students and staff created an aggregate Canvas site in fall 2022 to unite resources from across campus to make information available and visible in a frequently trafficked location. The work was led by the College of Engineering’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.

Listed resources include emergency financial support, the Office of Minority Educational Development, the LGBTQIA Resource Center, the Veterans Resource Center, transfer student support, undergraduate research, mental health supports and more.

When conceiving of the design, council members interviewed students, faculty and staff to identify which resources were most critical.

Mental Health Resources  

Texas A&M’s student government association created a mental health resource button on Canvas to connect students to peer mentoring and counseling services, which inspired student leaders at the University of Kentucky and Auburn University to build their own versions.

Kentucky’s SGA partnered with the Office for Student Success to create a page in Canvas that highlights student wellness resources and services. The page launched this January, and students can find links to get help via Talkspace (an online text and video therapy platform that connects students to mental health clinicians) or TRACS (short for Triage, Referral, Assistance and Crisis Support).

At Auburn, student leaders collaborated with Auburn Cares (the student care team), the Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, and Student Counseling and Psychological Services to get the initiative launched in fall 2023 on their own Canvas site. The page highlights CAPS contact information and guidance on how to deal with mental health emergencies.

Sex Education  

The Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) lab at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, created a Canvas page in fall 2023 to provide sexual health education to learners, who can get information in an easy and anonymous way.

The page features 10 modules with topics from “What Is Sex?” to “Pornography” and “Sex Toys,” providing comprehensive and interesting information for students. The familiar format makes it simple for students to engage with the materials, and having it live on Canvas means students can revisit the modules as many times as they’d like, as reported by Cal Poly’s student paper, The Mustang News.

Students can also submit anonymous questions to the SRH team online in the question tab to create a forum for topics that are not touched on in the modules themselves. Cal Poly students started and maintain the pages, working alongside SRH staff.

College Success Tips

Incoming neuroscience students at DePaul University are automatically added to a course on the institution’s LMS, D2L, which has different modules on how to succeed in college.

In the course site, launched in fall 2023, upper-level students deliver short videos that contain academic support tips and encouragement for their peers. The site also highlights how students can navigate their social lives at the institution, engage in the local area and find support resources. Faculty and staff hope to scale the initiative to have additional resources for students as they progress in their academic careers.

Does your institution use the LMS to provide a virtual one-stop for student support resources? Tell us about it.

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