Consent Matters: Boundaries, Respect and Positive Intervention
Following recent media coverage about the Consent Matters course from Epigeum, please see below a clarification of the purpose and content of the course, alongside student and industry feedback.
The Consent Matters: Boundaries, Respect and Positive Intervention training course was developed by Epigeum with Dr Alan Berkowitz, a leading international expert on positive intervention, and Brook, the UK’s leading sexual health and wellbeing charity. Epigeum, part of Oxford University Press, collaborated with more than 20 advisory panel members and reviewers, including experts on law, psychology, gender studies, student unions and support services from the UK and Australia, as well as a team of students who gave feedback throughout the course’s development. The University of Newcastle, Australia was a member of the advisory group and helped ensure the course was suitable for Australian students. Charles Stuart University provided review input as part of the process.
Consent Matters does far more than explore consent. The course has modules on healthy relationships, positive (bystander) intervention skills, and how best to seek support for yourself or a friend if you experience sexual assault or violence. Crucially, the course exists to educate, equip and empower students to identify and call out inappropriate behavior on campus. The modules give strategies, advice and example scenarios to help students look out for each other and themselves.
Implementation as part of a wider strategy
Epigeum works with our university partners to integrate the course into wider university programmes to combat sexual misconduct through course implementation and customisation. Consent Matters is designed to be used in a blended approach, in conjunction with workshops and peer-to-peer training events – it is rarely used as a standalone resource. We now have over 30 universities and student residences in Australia using the course, with many reporting excellent results. Some universities have chosen to make the course mandatory for residential students, others for the whole student body.
Student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we estimate the course has been completed by upwards of 15,000 students worldwide. We continually undertake research with universities to gather feedback from students, which will be used in future editions of the course. Of those students we have surveyed so far*:
- 93% of students said their impression of the course was positive or very positive
- 85% of students said the course was effective or very effective at improving their understanding of the subject.
- 68% of students said the course was relevant or very relevant to their needs
*Survey completed by 288 students as of 31/1/18
Some of the feedback we’ve received from students:
“Education is one of the biggest weapons we have to tackle sexual violence, especially at University. It’s such a big issue, the main question is why not? Why wouldn’t you?”
“I was incredibly happy to see that there was a compulsory course on Consent, and even more so to see how thorough and helpful it was.”
“This course is very clear, understandable, and very informative on consent and how important communication is between people about it. I have learned a couple of things that I didn’t know before; of which I will keep with me forever.”
“I thought it was great, I enjoyed it and I absorbed so much knowledge that makes me feel more confident.”
“This was great – well done! I am 23, I wish someone had told me these things when I was an undergrad.”
Consent Matters recently won Gold in ‘Excellence in the Design of Learning Content’ for the UK Commercial sector category of the Learning Technologies Awards 2017. The judges praised the robust research process and high quality of the learning materials, which engages its audiences to ‘not only invest time in this learning but to continue those conversations into daily life.’
Education for positive cultural change
Epigeum is committed to supporting our university partners in their efforts to affect positive cultural change through our educative programmes on sexual consent and responding to disclosures of sexual violence. We will continue to develop these courses in collaboration with the community, and to work with our customers to help them implement them as part of a wider strategy to tackle sexual violence.
Epigeum is dedicated to developing the highest-quality online learning resources through the collaboration of leading experts, universities, and our in-house instructional design specialists. Epigeum online training courses make a difference to the careers of faculty and students around the world. Founded at Imperial College London, Epigeum has been part of Oxford University Press since 2015.
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