Coventry (UK), April 2019 - Coventry University has partnered with Marshall E-Learning, a specialist consultancy for diversity and equality learning, to provide a new online module on Student Bystander Training for higher education institutions across the UK.
The aim of the online Student Bystander Training module is to foster safe, positive university and college campuses where all students feel able to achieve their very best educationally and also enjoy their university experience.
The online module raises awareness of what harassment and hate incidents are and how students can intervene when it’s safe to do so. The module has been made available for free online so that all students can have access to it in a way that they couldn’t possibly have with the much more time intensive face-to-face bystander training.
Dr Jane Osmond, Research Fellow at Coventry University, argues that the release of this module comes at a much needed time, as more higher education students experience increased harassment of different kinds
"In a climate of rising hate incidents, this module empowers students to recognise when they can make a difference through being an active bystander, and it also helps them advocate for themselves.
"Active bystander intervention can often prevent incidents escalating – for example, 'banter' that involves sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and religious insults can build over time, and, at best lead to a hostile environment for others. At worst it can lead to physical assault.
"Thus, micro-aggressions such as these can be part of a continuum: people who go on to commit crimes may not have been challenged previously, often because people are too afraid, too embarrassed, or simply don’t notice what is happening. This module will help students to identify such incidents and make an informed decision on whether to act including judging if it is safe to do so."
David Marshall, founder and managing director of Marshall E-Learning, explains how the new course helps students become an active bystander.
"As members of university communities, students are expected to behave well: discrimination, intolerance, and violence have no place on campus. This module helps students to become active bystanders, facilitate recognition of hate incidents and harassment, and offers strategies to aid intervention when it is safe to do so.
"By making the course freely available online, we hope it will raise awareness and get students thinking about their own experiences and what they see is happening around them."
The Student Bystander Training module was developed by Coventry University as a result of funding from HEFCE Catalyst and the University of Warwick, and has been adapted from the Intervention Initiative materials produced by the University of West England.
Higher Education institutions and universities can use the resource or develop their own bespoke version with Marshall E-Learning.