5 Responsibility

Guiding Questions

  • Does this course uphold, value and reflect Indigenous Knowledge and/or Indigenous Methodologies?
  • What responsibility does this course have in respecting and responding to the different types of learners in the course?
scrabble tiles spell out be the change
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash [website]

What Responsibility Means

Responsibility means that both the instructor and learner have a responsibility and requirement to uphold cultural, as well as personal/social, aspects of being. Acknowledging and embracing that your students are going to be entering this digital classroom from a variety of physical and mental spaces will encourage the instructor to draw from resources from a variety of backgrounds to support the learning in the course. Choosing materials authored by a diverse group of peoples will cast a broader sense of connection to your students and enhance their world-view of knowledge systems available.

The resources you integrate into your classroom should reflect the class demographic to encourage students to relate to the content on a personal level, but also bring light to other resources, perspectives and ideas which may be unfamiliar to them.

Embracing Diversity in the Classroom – The Tale of Two Teachers: Melissa Crum

The video above by Melissa Crum outlines the importance of celebrating diversity in your classroom and how diversity and unique backgrounds can lead to a richer learning experience.  Melissa Crum is an artist, education consultant and diversity practitioner working with educators in urban schools. Her video, The Tale of Two Teachers [website] reflects the challenges some educators may find in connecting with the diverse students in their classroom, either in person or online. This story outlines how educators can highlight diversity of culture, interests and personalities in their classroom and engage educators to think about who their students are to promote the highest level of learning and student success in their courses.

Tools to Support Responsibility in Online Learning

FirstVoices[website] is a website and a digital app (which can be downloaded on the First Voices website [website]) of web-based tools and services designed to support Indigenous language archiving, teaching and culture revitalization. This website is a digital dictionary and language bank for dialects including but not limited to SENĆOŦEN, Nuxalk, and Witsuwit’en. Each language or dialect on the website is a set of open-source software designed to record and promote Indigenous oral culture and revitalize the language of the people.

The video on the website, What Non-Indigenous Canadians Need to Know [website] is a discussion from Eddy Robinson, an educator on Indigenous issues in Canada. This video provides guidance on what not to ask as an educator working with a diverse group of students, and guides us now to ask the right questions to get to know our students. The focus of this video is on issues impacting Indigenous communities in Canada, but these ideas of getting to know your audience and students can be expanded and be applied to any student from any community or background.

Unreserved [website] is a podcast and CBC Unreserved homepage [website] for Canadian Indigenous community, culture, and conversation hosted by Falen Johnson [website] as part of the CBC media centre. Every year, Unreserved curates a Winter Reading List which features the top Indigenous authors in Canada for that year. This article showcases the top or favourite Indigenous authors for 2020 [website], but the Unreserved webpage [website] is updated every year as the new list comes out. These living documents such as top author lists are an excellent resource for bringing up to date, multi-lensed, culturally diverse and relevant literature or resources into your online classroom which represent the backgrounds and interests of your students.


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Facilitating online learning with the 5R's Copyright © 2021 by Joanna Lake and Hayley Atkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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