Saturday, January 5, 2008

First Nations Pedagogy for Online Learning

There was a really quick turnaround time for the BCcampus Online Program Development Fund committee. I'm thrilled that Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and Kwantlen University College received funding for the joint project proposal: First Nations Pedagogy for Online Learning.

The project idea came about through my work with June Kaminski, a Kwantlen faculty member, online curriculum developer, artist, web developer, and UBC doctoral student. I'm sure I left a few items off of that list! June has been such an inspiration to me. The courses she developed and taught at NVIT, and the customization work she completed on our Moodle site, have really captured what we think about when we refer to addressing the needs of Aboriginal learners.

Here's the gist of the proposal: Online delivery of courses specifically targeting Aboriginal learners is relatively new in British Columbia and is on the increase. The question of what this means in terms of course design, instructional strategies, and building supportive learning communities, remains a challenge to many instructors. The First Nations Pedagogy resource site is the first step in addressing this issue, and our plan is to involve as many educators as possible in planning, developing content, and sustaining the site.

The project proposes to:
  1. research best practices in developing and implementing online learning opportunities for aboriginal learners,
  2. develop a resource website that will support these instructors and curriculum designers, and
  3. support dialogue and sharing of ideas across institutions and community stakeholders.
We are busy doing research, spreading the word about the project, and submitting proposals to upcoming conferences to get feedback on the initial design phase. Also, we have already scheduled a First Nations Pedagogy online seminar discussion at SCoPE, March 3 - 31, 2008, which will be facilitated by June. Oh, did I mention that June is also a great facilitator? :-)

It feels like the beginning of a great collaboration!

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