Máteh, Let’s See if I Did This Right (Course Profile)

Course Title Indigenous Women, Past and Present
Course Description Students will learn about Indigenous Women, past and present.  The course will begin by looking at historical roles of Indigenous women and move to important contributions made by Indigenous women today in various landscapes.

The purpose is to deepen identity and celebrate Indigenous women by learning about and connecting to their work and contributions, past and present.

The course will move similar to the Community of Inquiry Model (COI) in that facilitator and learners will collaborate and engage in discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and understanding(s) based on mutual interest. It will consist of:

  • Social presence, by identifying with a community
  • Teaching presence, facilitator directing and supporting cognitive and social processes
  • Cognitive presence, learners constructing their own meaning(s) through sustained reflection and discourse
Target Student Population This course is designed for a cohort of Indigenous women and Two Spirit individuals enrolled in a program that is similar to Ka-Ni-Kanichihk Inc.’s Honouring Gifts.
Course Format This course will be delivered utilizing Blended Learning that consists of synchronous face-to-face learning with lectures, technology aids, and discussion.

It will use of the learning management system, Canvas, to incorporate course materials and assessments, to be completed asynchronously.

Course Toolset and Assessment Strategies This online component of this course will be delivered using the LMS, Canvas. Asynchronously, learners will complete readings, watch short videos, participate in discussion, and link with various forms of social media as part of course instructional tools. Facilitator will provide online links to films like Buffy (NFB) by the National Film Board that learners can watch and respond to online asynchronously.

Face to-face classroom learning will consist of transmissive lecture style as a means for the facilitator to share and define important key terms and concepts in Indigenous History and Studies. Face-to-face learning will also entail readings, discussion, videos, research exercises, and student-centered learning activities such as writing responses and role play.

Formative assessment:

  • Writing responses (face-to-face and LMS)
  • Role play (face-to-face)
  • Spontaneous research activities (i.e., What is the Nation of Olympian, Brigette Lacquette?) (face-to-face)
  • Short quizzes (LMS)
  • Initiate and respond to discussion questions (face-to-face and LMS)
  • Share project planning in discussion and provide feedback (LMS)
  • Informal in-class discussion/participation observation (face-to-face)
  • Experiential learning (i.e., interview with two community members of choice) in which learners can conduct one interview in person and one using an online survey/questionnaire tool such as Free Online Surveys 

Summative assessment:

  • Final inquiry-based learning project based on learner interest; research, write, and present a biography about one Indigenous woman making connections, if any, to self
  • Peer feedback on biography presentation (guided rubric to be provided to learners)

Facilitator communication and feedback will be provided both face-to-face and using LMS. Facilitator will limit access to materials (modules) in LMS so that learners may progress as a cohort, but will work those who miss a face-to-face class due to personal/family obligations.

Course content This aim of this course is to provide an introductory survey course to students. It is by no means comprehensive. Students will gain awareness and knowledge of Indigenous women and their contributions, past and present.

Indigenous women have held vital roles in their respective communities since time immemorial and maintain such roles in today’s world. They are artists, activists, filmmakers, doctors, knowledge-keepers, scholars, athletes, politicians, and much more. At the same time, the 2019 National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls found that Indigenous females face a greater risk of experiencing violence in today’s society.

We will look at some of historical roles of Indigenous women as shared by Elders and Knowledge-Keepers including “Roles of Women” by Louis Bird (Omushkego).

We will also look at some contemporary contributions of Indigenous women from various Nations across Turtle Island in areas such as sports, education, science, politics (activism), entrepreneurship, and arts and culture.

Learners will look at the work of poet, Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake, 1800’s), and move to artist, Jackie Traverse (Anishinaabe, current). Online modules will be organized in eras and/or time periods, so that students will learn about women by time period; however, each era will covered face-to-face and online, so that students have an array of learning experiences.

Learning Objectives 1)    Discuss diverse historical roles of Indigenous women.

2)    List contemporary contributions of Indigenous women in today’s society.

3)    Name influential Indigenous women in home Nation (community).

4)    Construct a biographical overview of one Indigenous woman.

Considerations and Support This course is designed to be offered in partnership with an in-community learning facility/centre, which generally offers cultural and academic support to all learners including access to Elders, counsellors, and tutors (writing support).

There may be limitations in bandwidth due to this course being offered to communities that may be rural or remote. Most community learning centres offer computer and enhanced internet access to learners, but we will provide laptops and Wi-Fi adapters if and when needed for the duration of the course.

Attendance is a consideration for learners in this course as some students may be caregivers with family obligations, so facilitator will offer flexibility in asynchronous online learning materials, tools, and assessments.

Rationale Blended learning will offer learners opportunity to become better independent learners in a digital age, especially for those who may not have much experience with computers and internet (research). It will provide a balance between teacher instruction and computer-based learning giving learners more control over their own learning and hopefully optimizing their experiences with education.

Blended learning also recognizes that not all students learn in the same way or at the same pace, so it provides diverse ways of learning that may potentially meet the interest, and gift(s), of each student.

The course will progress similar to Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning, cognitivist learning theory, which entails students moving through levels of learning, from remembering to evaluating and creating knowledge. This process involves three domains of learning: 1) cognitive (thinking) 2) affective (feeling), and 3) psycho-motor (doing). Having said that, Indigenous systems of learning progress in levels as well.

Transmissive lecture style will be used as an initial face-to-face teaching method, so that facilitator may share and define important key terms in Indigenous History and Studies, which falls in line with objectivist theory in that it introduces students to concepts using memorization. This will provide foundation to student learning of course content.

Most of the assignments (assessment) in this course fall under constructivism theory in that it is believed that learners interpret the external world by assimilating information and relating it to their existing knowledge. They process that knowledge through synchronous face-to-face and asynchronous online discussions, both forms of social interaction, and develop personal meaning through oral and written reflection(s). Facilitator will also utilize short online quizzes as formative assessment, which is more in line with behaviorist (objectivist) theory; however, this useful for receiving and providing immediate feedback for terminology and concepts.

Collaborative learning in asynchronous discussion as learners share and plan for their final biography project. They will generate, organize, and converge ideas for this project, which is follows online collaborative theory and the three phases of knowledge construction.

Learners will choose and approach two community members; Indigenous women whose work and position they admire, and conduct two short, informal interviews while sharing with them the course content and purpose. Learners will create their own interview questionnaires based on course content, and discuss them with peers for feedback. This learning activity involves experiential learning, which is part of connectivism in that the facilitator provides initial opportunity, but learners are constructing their own network of women they admire and wish to learn more about. They are learning by doing, and will apply the knowledge gained in the course to their interviews.

The final biography project is inquiry-based learning in that the facilitator presents course content to all students, but they research and choose the person that they wish to learn more about. They will utilize face-to-face class discussions and asynchronous online discussions to share and plan for their final project. This final project will be shared in-class in a presentation where student will be provided with a guide rubric so that they may provide feedback to their peers.

The teaching method, or epistemology, for this course is that of social reform, which seeks change and social justice in society. The hope is that students will be inspired by the roles and work of Indigenous women, past and present, and become active change agents in whichever landscape they choose.

Image by mohamed_hassen (Pixabay)

One thought on “Máteh, Let’s See if I Did This Right (Course Profile)

  1. Hi Donna, this looks like a great course! There is such a wealth of knowledge that you are providing to your learners and re-searchers. I look forward to seeing your course shell on Canvas.

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