Aarhus Universitets segl

Academic Reflection Rooms

Research has shown that the process of transitioning to a new academic or social environment can present a range of challenges for students. To address this, the Academic Reflection Rooms (ARR) project offers a conceptual framework to help university students navigate these transitions. 

ARR aims to improve students' academic competencies and overall well-being by exploring the challenges they face as learners, analysing the root causes, and developing effective strategies to overcome them. ARR is put into practice through meetings throughout the semester and provides a space for students to discuss their academic pursuits and learning strategies and engage in constructive dialogue. ARR can be incorporated into existing curricula or offered as supplementary sessions after regular classes. The course instructor or student educators can facilitate ARR, with student educators collaborating closely with the course instructor to ensure alignment with academic instruction.

While the success of ARR is dependent on close coordination with instructors and mentors, previous experiences have demonstrated its effectiveness. However, further research is needed to explore the implications, challenges, benefits, and potential outcomes of participating in ARR from various perspectives, including those of students, instructors, lecturers, and institutions.


The purpose of this research study is to explore the academic challenges faced by both students and lecturers during the students' transition to university and how discussions around these challenges can aid the students' social and academic integration. The study aims to investigate how identifying and reflecting on these challenges and creating solutions with the help of peers can support students in their university transition. 

The research methodology includes both qualitative and quantitative data collection. The quantitative data will be gathered through three separate SurveyXact questionnaires for students, student lecturers, and lecturers. The questionnaires will include questions comparable across all respondent groups, focusing on answers on a five-point Likert scale, as well as qualitative questions that allow for free-form text responses. 

In addition to the quantitative data, the study will also incorporate qualitative data through interviews with project participants, including students and student lecturers.


The project contributes significantly to an enhanced comprehension of the complexities involved in transitions within higher education (HE). It presents a proactive and systematic approach to mitigating the challenges encountered by students amidst their transition into novel academic and social milieux. 

By providing a structured framework enabling students to meticulously scrutinize their academic impediments, dissect their underlying causes, and formulate effective strategies for surmounting them, ARR aims not only to strengthen academic proficiency but also to foster well-being, self-efficacy, and a sense of belonging. A comprehensive investigation into these parameters and their consequential effects constitutes the primary objective of the research project.

Furthermore, the research study aspires to accumulate knowledge that can both engender and substantiate subsequent practical initiatives in this domain.

Read more

  • Ahn, Mi Young, and Howard H. Davis. 2020. ‘Four Domains of Students’ Sense of Belonging to University’. Studies in Higher Education 45 (3): 622–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2018.1564902.
  • Briggs, Ann, Jill Clark, and I. Hall. 2012. ‘Building Bridges: Understanding Student Transition to University’. Quality in Higher Education 18 (April): 3–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/13538322.2011.614468.
  • Cameron, Rose B., and Candice A. Rideout. 2022. ‘“It’s Been a Challenge Finding New Ways to Learn”: First-Year Students’ Perceptions of Adapting to Learning in a University Environment’. Studies in Higher Education 47 (3): 668–82. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2020.1783525.
  • Christie, Hazel, Lyn Tett, Vivienne E. Cree, Jenny Hounsell, and Velda McCune. 2008. ‘“A Real Rollercoaster of Confidence and Emotions”: Learning to Be a University Student’. Studies in Higher Education 33 (5): 567–81. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070802373040.
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  • Pace, David. 2017. The Decoding the Disciplines Paradigm: Seven Steps to Increased Student Learning. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Tinto, Vincent. 2012. ‘Enhancing Student Success: Taking the Classroom Success Seriously’. The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education 3 (1): 1–8. https://doi.org/10.5204/intjfyhe.v3i1.119.