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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning

 

Introduction

These webpages provide guidance on the use of content notes (sometimes known as 'content warnings' or 'trigger warnings') in a university context.

The guidance is based on research conducted by student co-researchers Emrys Travis and Emma Carey, as part of a project initiated by the University's Access and Participation Plan, to investigate the awarding and retention gap for students with mental health conditions. The project was funded by the 2020 University Diversity Fund

Our initial research suggested that the provision of content notes has a significant positive impact on attainment, academic engagement and wellbeing for students with mental health conditions, particularly PTSD. The majority of Faculties and Departments contacted during our research did not report any current policy on the use of content notes, but were enthusiastic about the possibility of centralised guidance being made available.

This guidance, which has been developed in consultation with disabled student groups, therefore aims to support staff in providing content notes as a standard part of their teaching practice, and address some of the questions that arose from staff during our research. It is also intended to help inform the creation of content note provision policy within Faculties and Departments.

We would particularly welcome examples of effective use of content notes from students or staff: please get in touch.

 

Contents

 

Authors

Emma Carey

Portrait photo of Emma Carey

Emma Carey is a PhD student at Newnham College, studying the effects of psychological trauma on mental health, and works as a research assistant within the Department of Psychiatry.

Emrys Travis

Portrait photo of Emrys Travis

Emrys Travis is a Master's student in Comparative Literature & Cultures at St John's College, and was Disabled Students' Officer 2018-19.

This project was funded by the University Diversity Fund and supported by the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning. To find out more, read Emma's and Emrys' Teaching & Learning Newsletter article.