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Student belongingness in higher education: lessons for professors from the COVID-19 pandemic

Tice, D, Baumeister, R, Crawford, J ORCID: 0000-0002-2191-6216, Allen, K-A and Percy, A 2021 , 'Student belongingness in higher education: lessons for professors from the COVID-19 pandemic' , Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, vol. 18, no. 4 , pp. 1-14 , doi:

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‘To learn about X, observe what happens to the system when X is removed.’ What happens to the higher education student experience when, during a pandemic, so many of the avenues for building a sense of belonging are radically and fundamentally disrupted? How should we respond as individuals, a collective and a sector, to redress this? The national student survey data in Australia has highlighted a significant drop in learner engagement and their sense of belonging as a result of the pandemic. Indeed, the pandemic has been a significant point of anxiety for students, educators, and universities globally. We see the pandemic as a unique opportunity to critically examine belongingness among university students in a climate where their normal avenues to feel they belong need to establish a new kind of normal. In this article, we seek to articulate what can be learned from the pandemic experience about student belongingness and what instructors can do to improve it, even under difficult circumstances. We found opportunities to strengthen a students’ sense of belonging in online environments, when necessary, and how responses within the constraints of lockdown and emergency remote teaching can still support student success.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Tice, D and Baumeister, R and Crawford, J and Allen, K-A and Percy, A
Keywords: sense of belonging, emergency remote teaching, Zoom, impaired belongingness, online instruction, discussion groups
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice
Publisher: University of Wollongong Centre for Educational Development and Interactive Resources
ISSN: 1449-9789
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright 2021 the journal

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