Lily Davidov and Robert Bergman, Rio Salado College
The Take A Break Activity project by Rio Salado College (RSC) is intended to create and implement a series of short, engaging activities that RSC’s online students can participate in to be made aware of stress management strategies and reduce stress for online learners. The impetus for the Take A Break Activity project evolved from an Honors in Action project developed by three RSC students who researched methods to reduce stress levels for students. Their research noted increased dropout rates for online students as compared to in-person students due to a variety of issues including, but not limited to, feelings of isolation and disconnectedness within an online environment. In researching methods to relieve stress for online students, they focused on taking short breaks and implementing play and/or art therapy.
While online learners face similar challenges to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions, like paying for college, testing anxiety, and the challenge to complete assignments on time, these can be compounded by issues such as internet connectivity, technological issues with equipment, loneliness, and isolation. Additionally, some learners come from backgrounds where self-care and care of mental health are ignored or frowned upon. This project will benefit RSC students by having short, guided, measurable mental health breaks that will allow them to retain more information within their courses, introduce stress management, build focus endurance, and increase self-efficacy and motivation. All of these attributes are critical to student success and well-being.