A Tale of Two Bridges

Campuses abound with energy, ideas and an endless supply of student engagement. On-site, students can walk out of their classes,  into a tentful of other students who are more than happy to engage them in discussions about global issues, campus politics, and current affairs. While our online students do create great communities in d2l, they are, for the most part, disconnected from everyday campus events.

Since learning about WordPress this week, I have been wondering whether this could be an effective way to bridge online students with on-campus events, which touch on issues that they are discussing in class.

For example, one of the classes I teach is Social Work with Indigenous Peoples. Orange Shirt Day, a day to commemorate those who survived, and did not survive the Residential School system, is coming up on September 30th.  While we are discussing this issue in class right now,  the students still have no way to participate in the on-campus Orange Shirt Day events which will take place at the Gathering Place, and on the Cowichan campus.

In response, I have started a WordPress site called Spoken Letters. In addition to videotaping portions of next weeks commemoration events, I will ask those students who wish to upload a spoken letter, image or short soundbyte video – as a message to survivors-to the site. In this case, the idea is not to have it as an assignment for marks, but rather as a voluntary contribution, for those who wish to engage and participate in the university-wide commemoration events. I am thinking that this may give students a chance to extend their in-class academic learning about the policies and impacts of residential schools in a way that connects them to the heart of survivors and the wider community-university engaged in this day’s important commemoration events.

Fiona

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