Sask Polytech offers free, online course about Indigenous culture
- Kaitlynn Nordal | June 07, 2019
On the international stage Canada might seem like a good country that is dealing with its history of colonization and racism. However, if asked, most Canadians would say this is not true, and they do not know much about Indigenous history or culture.
To combat this Saskatchewan Polytechnic Institute created a second Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
They created a free MOOC to provide an introduction to the diverse Indigenous cultural groups within Saskatchewan. Participants will learn about colonization, reconciliation, Indigenous histories, and perspectives among other things.
“It aligned with our Indigenous Students Success Strategy,” said Jason Seright, Director of Indigenous Strategy. “Part of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action is to educate the population … It is something that was needed, and I think it is better for the province and better for our society as whole.”
The Introduction to Indigenous Studies MOOC is a one-credit course that will take roughly 15 hours to complete. It has been specially designed so participants can learn at their own pace from their laptop or mobile device. It is open to anyone ages 13 and up.
“There’s three specific learning objectives,” said Seright. “The first one is deepening and understanding of Indigenous Nations of Saskatchewan. The second is exploring how colonization has affected Indigenous peoples. Then the third one is engage in discussion about current issues and solutions in an empathetic and respectful manner moving forward.”
Larry Rosia, President and CEO said Indigenous students, are an important part of the Sask. Polytech community.
“We developed the Introduction to Indigenous Studies MOOC with our students in mind,” he said in a press release. “Our instructors requested information to develop their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous people’s worldviews and cultures to create inclusive learning spaces. This is one of the ways we are helping our instructors learn more about Saskatchewan’s Indigenous history.”
One of Sask. Polytech’s goals under their Indigenous Students Success Strategy is to have an Indigenous component to all programs by 2023. Since there is not enough Indigenous Studies instructors, this MOOC was developed to help achieve this goal.
“I think there has been a gap in our education system learning about Indigenous peoples, culture, and history,” said Seright. “When I talk, and Indigenous history comes up I often find myself in a position where I am educating and teaching others or passing on some knowledge. In most of those conversations other people would say ‘oh, I didn’t know that.’”
Seright said people need to be more aware as he finds there is a lack of information and a lack of education that has been done out there and it only makes sense to expand on that.
“To be able to provide a course that gives them that education, and knowledge it's going to eliminate that statement ‘I didn’t know that’. Now they do know it. Hopefully it will lead to a better understanding of some of the issues that face the Indigenous population and some of the reasons why it is facing them,” said Seright.
The MOOC is available April 26 to June 27, 2019. Registration can take place at any time before June 20.
If participants are unable to finish the course by the closing date, they can re-register and continue their studies from the same point in the following session.
Participants can register free of charge here.