The development of Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum was based on a two-part research study conducted by our team. The first part of the study involved performing an environmental scan to answer the question: What online academic success and mental health resources exist to support post-secondary students? Our team scanned the websites of 54 Ontario post-secondary institutions (colleges and universities) and assessed over 1,000 online resources based on their format, ease of access, compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and relevance to equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization (EDI-D). The environmental scan revealed that most online resources are available for free and comply with AODA requirements. However, most of the resources were difficult to locate, were rarely accessed, did not mention EDI-D, and were not available in French.
The second part of our study involved administering an online survey to explore the question: What are the experiences of post-secondary students, faculty, and staff with online resources that support academic success and mental health? In total, 215 students and 53 faculty and staff from 45 post-secondary institutions around the world participated in our survey. The online survey revealed that post-secondary students greatly value skill development and tend to seek out skill resources and training. Unfortunately, the survey also showed that educators and support staff struggle to embed skill development into the curriculum despite recognizing a link between skill development and mental health.
The results of this research study informed the content and development of Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum. The project’s overarching goal can be summarized as supporting educators to support students. Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum contains a comprehensive suite of accessible and inclusive educational content and resources that were created through an EDI-D lens to support educators to embed skill development and topic awareness directly into their curriculum. The content and resources can be applied across all institutions, programs, disciplines, and years of study. The resources can be adopted or adapted to different education contexts and all content is available under a creative commons license in both English and French.