Julia Poissant, Student Project Assistant for the In/Relation Project, shares recent project highlights since heading back into the new year.
Back in the fall, we completed two focus groups to learn more about the educational needs and interests of UBC international students learning about First Nations and Indigenous histories and contemporary realities: faculty and staff on October 16, 2018 and graduate students and TAs on October 30, 2018. We thank everyone who came out and are very grateful for the amazing depth of participation and perspectives that were shared with us. We are now processing the data and summarizing the key themes that emerged.
Another focus group for undergraduate students will be happening in February 2019, so if you know any international students or undergraduates interested in our project, please let them know to contact Liz Otero at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up! This is a great opportunity for students to have their voices influence research being conducted at UBC. No prior knowledge of First Nations and Indigenous studies is necessary to participate, just a willingness to share thoughts and opinions!
Resource Development News
On November 14, 2018 we presented on the IN/Relation project at Musqueam 101, the weekly community meal and speaker series that connects knowledge and information between Musqueam and UBC. January saw the official launch of the In/Relation blog, and we hope that you will continue to visit us for new content and real-time updates on the team’s activities. A blog post of our experience presenting at Musqueam 101 will be posted there soon!
In addition to the focus groups, we have been receiving feedback on Modules 1 and 2 during different class visits and meetings during term 1. We have also been moving forward to begin developing content for other learning modules. For instance, we presented on the project in FNIS 220, and the students did a review activity where they worked in groups to brainstorm content for a possible module on Indigenous cultural politics and representation.
We presented at First Year Educators Symposium, which provided opportunities to network and share research, experiences, and resources related to teaching, learning and community building with a focus on first-year students. We presented our first two modules to people in a variety of roles on campus and got some robust feedback, which we will synthesize for developing the facilitator guide. For example, facilitators will commonly feel a lack of authority in leading the discussions, so the guide will include notes to emphasize the need to start conversations and learning despite feeling uncomfortable, and that they are co-learners in these exercises also building their capacity in Indigenous learning.
Taking this opportunity to look back, we can really see just how far we’ve come, and we’re thankful for the contributions of every person who has taken the time to learn about our project and talk to us about their different perspectives on how to improve international student learning about Indigenous topics at UBC.