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ER Arabella Cox HD Web.mp4 (162.82 MB)

Positive Digital Practices: Video - Arabella Cox (student)

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posted on 2023-11-30, 11:38 authored by Leigh DownesLeigh Downes

Arabella is a mature part-time criminology distance student at The Open University who initially struggled with her diagnosis of bipolar depression. In this short video Arabella shares her experience of withdrawing from a course on mental health after she was triggered by some of the content. She talks about how she returned to study criminology, her insights into being triggered, and what she has learned from her study of sensitive content.

This video was produced by the emotional resilience work package as part of the Positive Learner Identities strand of the Positive Digital Practices project (2021-2023).

The Positive Digital Practices project adopted a participatory knowledge-exchange approach to scale up, embed and sustain positive practices that support mental wellbeing for part-time, commuter and distance learning students.

Taking a holistic approach to wellbeing, and drawing on student lived experience and effective knowledge-exchange partnerships between The Open University, University of Warwick and Bradford University and sector bodies Student Minds, Jisc and UMHAN, this project worked with students as partners to co-create resources and initiatives that scaled up positive practices, embedding them across the all three HEIs, and pilot them more broadly in higher education via the sector-body partners.

  • The Open University led on Positive learner identities, focusing on emotional awareness, encouraging help seeking behaviour, recognising achievements and valuing learning opportunities.
  • University of Bradford led on Positive digital communities, supporting students’ sense of belonging and purpose, informal peer support and meaningful connections that do not rely on a campus environment.
  • University of Warwick led on Positive pedagogies, establishing inclusive, compassionate practices in technology-enhanced learning that support mental wellbeing.
  • Student Minds led on student engagement in the project, facilitating a student panel to steer and guide the project.
  • Jisc led on sector-wide engagement, drawing on their established cross-disciplinary networks in technology-enhanced learning.
  • UMHAN led on engagement of mental health professionals, bringing expertise from 400 mental health advisors and mentors from 130 institutions.

Further information about the project is available here: Project - Positive Digital Practices (


Office for Students (mental health funding competition 2021, using innovation and intersectional approaches)


Collaborated with

  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)


  • Public document

Authorship group

  • Academic - Central
  • Associate Lecturers
  • Students

Institutional priority category

  • Students’ Learning Experiences
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Employability and Career Progression
  • Achieving Study Goals


  • Integration of Student Voice
  • Mental Health
  • Reducing Inequalities
  • Student Co-creation
  • Student Experience

Subject discipline

  • Social Sciences and Global Studies


  • England
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales

Project ID

AMS 1648474

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