Indigenization Guide: Promising Practices and Policies to Support Student Transformation

The following is an excerpt from Pulling Together: A Guide for Front-Line Staff, Student Services, and Advisors by Ian Cull, Robert L. A. Hancock, Stephanie McKeown, Michelle Pidgeon, and Adrienne Vedan.

Many post-secondary institutions have developed policies, procedures, and practices to Indigenize their institutions. We have compiled a list of key policies and procedures developed at institutions in BC and Canada. The list is organized into physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional supports. These examples simply illustrate some ways we can Indigenize the institution with policies, procedures, and practice, which vary from institution to institution as they are based on the local relationships and partnerships with Indigenous communities.

Physical

The following procedures and practices reflect how physical space and access within the institution accommodates Indigenous people. This includes how to work respectfully with Indigenous knowledge authorities and provides and supports culturally safe and relevant spaces for shared learning.

InstitutionPolicy/Procedure/Practice
University of LethbridgeProcedure: Sweat Lodge Ceremonial Procedures and Location Map[1]

The University of Lethbridge has developed procedures for Sweat Lodge ceremonies. They require that a staff member book the space 10 days prior to the event to allow time to obtain the required approval from the City of Lethbridge Fire Department. They also require that at least one staff member attend the ceremony. The booking form is the contract for service, liability, and safety. The website also provides clear policies and information about the lodge size and location.
University of VictoriaPractice: Payments to Indigenous payees[2]

At University of Victoria, the Accounting Department has developed a process in conjunction with the Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement to ensure that payments made to Indigenous payees are completed in a culturally sensitive way. There are procedures and guidelines in place and steps that staff need to take to facilitate this goal.
University of Northern British ColumbiaPolicy: Policy on Smudging and Other Ceremonial Use of Smoke [PDF][3]

This policy provides guidelines to facilitate Aboriginal traditional, ceremonial, and pedagogical events while adhering to the British Columbia Tobacco Control Act (RSBC 1996- Chapter 451) regulating smoking in workplaces and in post-secondary educational institution. The university must comply with the law.
Vancouver Island UniversityProcedure/Practice: Faculty Letter of Agreement for Elders-in-Residence[4]

This agreement recognizes and affirms the Vancouver Island University Elders-in-Residence as gifted faculty who provide a unique and highly regarded knowledge contribution to VIU and the VIU community. It gives specific procedures about how Elders are compensated for their knowledge.

Intellectual

The following policies and practices relate to the processes of student admission, transition, and completion. They also show the interconnections between departments and other institutions.

InstitutionPolicy/Procedure/Practice
University of British ColumbiaPolicy: Aboriginal Admission Policy[5]

UBC may consider applicants who do not meet the current competitive admission cut-off set by the individual faculties and schools, but who meet the University-wide academic minimum of 70% for first-year programs or the grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale for applicants applying from a recognized post-secondary institution. Applicants must also satisfy program pre-requisites set by the individual faculties and schools.
University of British Columbia and Langara CollegePractice: Aboriginal Transfer Program[6]

This practice ensures that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students who complete the program requirements at Langara College will be guaranteed admission with certain degree programs at UBC’s Vancouver Campus.
Simon Fraser UniversityPolicy: Aboriginal Undergraduate Admission Policy[7]

Simon Fraser University’s admission policy takes into consideration an Indigenous applicant’s educational history, cultural knowledge, work experience, educational goals, and other achievements. This information is reviewed by a three-member committee composed of participants from Indigenous student services, the specific faculty applied to, and University Admissions.
College of New CaledoniaPolicy: Aboriginal Education and Services [PDF][8]

The College of New Caledonia has had a policy in effect since 1999 that states the college “recognizes and supports First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in their goals of self-determination. CNC recognizes that the learning environment is enriched by diversity, and will specifically include Aboriginal cultures. CNC will actively work with Aboriginal people to identify and respond to their needs.”
University of LethbridgePolicy: Aboriginal Education[9]

The primary objective of the University of Lethbridge’s Aboriginal Education policy is to “re-invigorate, reaffirm, and strengthen the university’s historic commitment to Aboriginal peoples, re-establishing Aboriginal education as a core priority of the University…”
Camosun CollegePractice: Indigenous Limited Priority Admission process[10]

At Camosun College, the BC Human Rights Tribunal process for priority admissions to select programs. “… offers priority seating for qualified Indigenous students in Nursing, Practical Nursing, and Early Learning and Care. Five per cent of the seats are set aside for Indigenous students to help meet critical health and child care needs in urban and rural Indigenous communities.”

Spiritual

The following policies and practices support the cultural identity of Indigenous students. This may also include how to include Indigenous community resources and look at ways for Indigenous cultures to be welcomed into the institution.

InstitutionPolicy/Procedure/Practice
BC Institute of TechnologyPractice: Traditional Sweat Lodge Ceremonies[11]

BCIT holds monthly Sweat Lodge Ceremonies. Their website states, “The Indigenous Services department exclusively welcomes BCIT staff and students to join us in our sweat lodge ceremonies…NOTE: All participants are asked to refrain from drugs and alcohol four days before the ceremony. Questions? Please come in and ask at Indigenous Services.”
University of LethbridgePractice: Blackfoot and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Protocol Handbook[12]

University of Lethbridge has created a handbook that provides guidelines for faculty, staff, students, board, and senate members when incorporating Blackfoot and other First Nations Métis and Inuit (FNMI) cultures into activities or ceremonies on campus.
Lakehead UniversityPolicy: Indigenous and Aboriginal Cultural Ceremonies Policy[13]

Lakehead University in Ontario has created a policy to show that they respect and support the Aboriginal tradition of smudging that includes the use of four sacred medicines (sage, cedar, tobacco, and sweetgrass). Lakehead University recognizes and supports Aboriginal traditions practised on campus by Aboriginal students, faculty, and staff in classrooms, student gathering places, offices, cultural events, and meetings in various locations throughout the university.
Northwest Community CollegePolicy/Practice: First Nations Council[14]

Northwest Community College created a First Nations Council in 1996. The First Nations Council focuses on student advocacy, program promotion, curriculum design, cultural issues and content, program and education service evaluation and will assist Northwest Community College in improving its relationships with First Nations communities in the Northwest college region.
Camosun CollegePractice: Convocation Regalia[15]

Camosun College’s graduation policy recognizes traditional dress: “you are a member of an Indigenous nation, the military, or are from another country, you may choose to wear your regalia, uniform, or national dress in place of the traditional graduation gown.”

Emotional

These policies and promising practices explore the emotional and cultural supports available to Indigenous students throughout their educational journey.

InstitutionPolicy/Procedure/Practice
Justice Institute of BCPractice: Elders-in-Residence program[16]

The Justice Institute of BC has an Elders-in-Residence program. “Elders in Residence dedicate the majority of their time supporting and encouraging Aboriginal students and providing a cultural connection to them on their journey. They are also available to students, their families, and JIBC’s faculty and staff.”
Vancouver Island UniversityPractice: Elders Protocol[17]

VIU has an Elders-in-Residence program that recognizes the important role Elders play. “They provide counselling, support, and guidance to all students at VIU. You will often hear the students referring to the Elders as ‘Auntie’ or ‘Uncle,’ which is a sign of both affection and respect. Vancouver Island University Elders are active in a variety of areas encompassing student support, classroom instruction, teaching traditional protocols and cross-cultural sharing.”

  1. Sweat Lodge Ceremonial Procedures and Location Map: http://www.uleth.ca/policy/sweat-lodge-ceremonial-procedures-location-map 
  2. Payment to Indigenous payees: http://www.uvic.ca/vpfo/accounting/resources/indigenous-payment.php 
  3. Smudging and other ceremonial use of smoke: https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationfrontlineworkers/wp-content/uploads/sites/237/2018/06/Policy-on-Smudging-and-Other-Ceremonial-Use-of-Smoke.pdf 
  4. Faculty Letter of Agreement for Elders-in-Residence: https://www2.viu.ca/HumanResources/VIUFA/contents.asp 
  5. Aboriginal Admission Policy: http://www.calendar.ubc.ca/vancouver/index.cfm?tree=2,14,0,0 
  6. Aboriginal Transfer Program: http://transfer.aboriginal.ubc.ca/ 
  7. Aboriginal Undergraduate Admission Policy: http://www.sfu.ca/students/admission/admission-requirements/aboriginal-admission-policy.html 
  8. Aboriginal Education and Services: www.cnc.bc.ca/Assets/Exploring/Services/Aboriginal+Resource+Centre/Aboriginal+Education+and+Services+Policy.pdf 
  9. Aboriginal Education: http://www.uleth.ca/policy/aboriginal-education-policy 
  10. Indigenous Limited Priority Admission process: http://camosun.ca/learn/school/indigenous-education-community-connections/students/health-seats.html 
  11. Traditional Sweat Lodge Ceremonies: https://www.bcit.ca/indigenous/sweatlodgecerem.shtml 
  12. Blackfoot and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Protocol Handbook: http://www.uleth.ca/policy/blackfoot-and-first-nations-metis-and-inuit-protocol-handbook 
  13. Indigenous and Aboriginal Cultural Ceremonies Policy: https://www.lakeheadu.ca/faculty-and-staff/policies/human-resources/cultural-protocol-policy 
  14. First Nations Council: https://nwcc.bc.ca/about-us/explore-nwcc/first-nations-council 
  15. Convocation Regalia: http://camosun.ca/events/grad/before-grad.html 
  16. Elders-in-Residence program: http://www.jibc.ca/about-jibc/office-indigenization/elders-residence-program 
  17. Elders Protocol: https://aboriginal.viu.ca/elders-viu 

Learn more:

Celebrating Community Through a Multicultural Calendar

As we work toward creating a more inclusive environment for everyone in our community, we’re striving to build our awareness and understanding of the events and celebrations everyone observes. At BCcampus, we’ve created a multicultural calendar to share with our team that features a wide range of holidays, celebrations, and observations to help us honour the people we work with. It’s not about diversity; it’s about inclusion. 

Post by the BCcampus editorial team

Regardless of your ethnicity, culture, or beliefs, if you live in B.C., chances are you know the stories behind Christmas, Easter, Hallowe’en, and other notable holidays across the calendar. Although much of this is due to commercialization, plenty can be attributed to the fact that we were told these were culturally significant events for a predominantly white, Christian society. But that’s not the only community around us, so it’s imperative we build our awareness of significant events in other cultures to enable the people we work with to feel comfortable celebrating what and how they want.

“There are people at BCcampus who come from a non-dominant background in what’s now known as Canada,” shared Mary Burgess, executive director at BCcampus. “We want the people in our community to feel comfortable celebrating the dates and events that are important to them, so they can be their whole selves at home, at play, and at work.”

Appreciation, not Appropriation 

We aren’t doing this to have a token celebration for every day of the year or to participate in different holidays to integrate them as our own. It’s to show our colleagues we respect and honour their beliefs and to make it possible for them to feel comfortable sharing a glimpse into their lives. 

At BCcampus, we want to be a team who honours, respects, and appreciates one another. By learning how to understand the significance of celebrations outside of our own, we can grow as humans and as professionals, respecting and learning about one another as we develop.

“There’s always the risk that we’ll appear performative,” said Mary. “There isn’t a lot we can do about that, except to engage more deeply with these events. Instead of saying ‘happy Kwanza’ because it’s on the calendar, we need to know what Kwanza is — understand its roots and why it’s important to our colleagues who do celebrate it. There’s a risk we’re going to say or do something in celebration of a particular holiday wrong — we don’t know the right words to say ‘happy Diwali’ just yet — but it’s a mistake I’m willing to make, because it might result in a learning opportunity that leads to a more inclusive environment for all. We do our very best to be accurate and consultative in doing these things, but we’re going to get it wrong sometimes, and we’re ready to learn and do better.”

Inviting Post-Secondary Institutions to Appreciate with Us

Many post-secondary institutions across the province are already doing some form of cultural awareness. Equity, diversity, and inclusion isn’t a simple act that can be accomplished by checking boxes on a to-do list. It’s the foundation on which we can build a more inclusive society and post-secondary education system. 

You can use this as an opportunity to inform and teach, inviting members of your community to share why they celebrate, leading to a stronger understanding of the people learning and working on campus and around us.

Check with your various communities to see how they’d like to celebrate their important events at work or in class. Should you decorate for Diwali and, if so, how? What can you do to make your staff and students comfortable celebrating Ramadan or Hanukkah? Is Cinco de Mayo a real celebration or just an excuse to party? Asking the community will lead to stronger inclusivity — we can’t know their events better than they do. 

Do it for the right reasons – don’t just celebrate because it’s on the calendar. Find out what’s important to your community, and learn how they’d like their special occasions observed. 

What Celebrations and Observations are Important to You?

For our team at BCcampus, we’ve created a holiday and events calendar informed by the people we work with, but we recognize there are many holidays that we don’t know of or don’t have the lived-experience to fully understand, so we’d love to hear from you: what do you celebrate, and how can we help you enjoy the occasion?

Learn More:


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Meet the FLO Facilitator: Annie Prud’homme-Généreux

Over the years individuals from institutions and organizations across B.C. have taken Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) to the next level by participating in the Facilitator Development/Mentorship program and co-facilitating one or more FLO courses. If you are thinking about adopting FLO courses at your institution, these are the people who can help!

What got you started on this path to becoming a FLO facilitator and mentor?

Annie smiling

I have always found teaching and learning centres to be my natural home – where I could connect with my tribe, people passionate about education.

Returning to B.C. after some years away, I was delighted to discover BCcampus. Wow! What a fantastic organization. Not only does it spread and share wonderful pedagogical ideas, but it also gives instructors across the B.C. system (and beyond!) a chance to exchange ideas and practices beyond their institutional walls. I had found my new home.

I started attending many of the wonderful learning opportunities and soon found myself in one of the FLO courses. There, I worked on a module of an online course I am developing for Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to help faculty transition to online (i.e., transition from emergency online education to a more thoughtful and informed approach to online education). Helena, BCcampus’ Advisor, Learning + Teaching, suggested that my draft module could be helpful to other faculty and proposed it for a FLO Friday workshop. There, I continued to meet with fantastic and inspirational instructors around B.C., and I cannot wait to exchange with more of them.

Thank you Helena and BCcampus for giving me this opportunity!

What experience and expertise do you bring to this new support role of helping others to adopt and/or facilitate FLO courses?

I have been supporting faculty innovation and the implementation of evidence-informed classroom practices for over 15 years. 

I first started working with the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science 15 years ago. There, I facilitated the summer workshops, where faculty from across the world learned how to write case studies, wrote a case, and field tested it with undergraduate students. Each year, I facilitate workshops around the United States to help faculty implement evidence-informed practices in their classroom, with a focus on using case studies in the classroom and on implementing flipped approaches to learning. I have facilitated nearly 100 such training events and have shared my experimentations in nearly four dozen papers written for instructors, encouraging them to experiment in their classroom. I serve on the advisory board of several National Science Foundation–funded projects to train science faculty across the States on such approaches and have been working with the HHMI for the past five years, researching best pedagogies, facilitating workshops (in person and virtual) with faculty around the States, and now developing a course to assist faculty in transitioning to online learning. The HHMI is currently focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the science classroom.

I aim to combine my passion for education, knowledge of in-person and online course design, and experience with adult professional development to support instructors where they are and encourage them to experiment with new approaches and innovations. I am a strong believer in metacognition and giving instructors the opportunity to experience new approaches as learners and reflect on that experience.

How can people contact you?

On Academia: https://capilanou.academia.edu/AnniePrudhommeGenereux

and LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/annieprudhommegenereux


The feature image for this post (viewable in the BCcampus News section at the bottom of our homepage) is by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Meet the FLO Facilitator: Annie Prud’homme-Généreux

Over the years individuals from institutions and organizations across B.C. have taken Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) to the next level by participating in the Facilitator Development/Mentorship program and co-facilitating one or more FLO courses. If you are thinking about adopting FLO courses at your institution, these are the people who can help!

What got you started on this path to becoming a FLO facilitator and mentor?

Annie smiling

I have always found teaching and learning centres to be my natural home – where I could connect with my tribe, people passionate about education.

Returning to B.C. after some years away, I was delighted to discover BCcampus. Wow! What a fantastic organization. Not only does it spread and share wonderful pedagogical ideas, but it also gives instructors across the B.C. system (and beyond!) a chance to exchange ideas and practices beyond their institutional walls. I had found my new home.

I started attending many of the wonderful learning opportunities and soon found myself in one of the FLO courses. There, I worked on a module of an online course I am developing for Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to help faculty transition to online (i.e., transition from emergency online education to a more thoughtful and informed approach to online education). Helena, BCcampus’ Advisor, Learning + Teaching, suggested that my draft module could be helpful to other faculty and proposed it for a FLO Friday workshop. There, I continued to meet with fantastic and inspirational instructors around B.C., and I cannot wait to exchange with more of them.

Thank you Helena and BCcampus for giving me this opportunity!

What experience and expertise do you bring to this new support role of helping others to adopt and/or facilitate FLO courses?

I have been supporting faculty innovation and the implementation of evidence-informed classroom practices for over 15 years. 

I first started working with the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science 15 years ago. There, I facilitated the summer workshops, where faculty from across the world learned how to write case studies, wrote a case, and field tested it with undergraduate students. Each year, I facilitate workshops around the United States to help faculty implement evidence-informed practices in their classroom, with a focus on using case studies in the classroom and on implementing flipped approaches to learning. I have facilitated nearly 100 such training events and have shared my experimentations in nearly four dozen papers written for instructors, encouraging them to experiment in their classroom. I serve on the advisory board of several National Science Foundation–funded projects to train science faculty across the States on such approaches and have been working with the HHMI for the past five years, researching best pedagogies, facilitating workshops (in person and virtual) with faculty around the States, and now developing a course to assist faculty in transitioning to online learning. The HHMI is currently focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the science classroom.

I aim to combine my passion for education, knowledge of in-person and online course design, and experience with adult professional development to support instructors where they are and encourage them to experiment with new approaches and innovations. I am a strong believer in metacognition and giving instructors the opportunity to experience new approaches as learners and reflect on that experience.

How can people contact you?

On Academia: https://capilanou.academia.edu/AnniePrudhommeGenereux

and LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/annieprudhommegenereux


The feature image for this post (viewable in the BCcampus News section at the bottom of our homepage) is by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

The BCcampus Book Club Starts in April 2021!

The BCcampus Book Club began two years ago as a way to connect with colleagues in the post-secondary sector on topics of professional interest in teaching and learning. The guidelines for the book club series are that it be open, informal, and fun — an easy way for participants to share ideas and strategies and take what we learn to practice.

Following up on the success of our 2019 offering centred around Small Teaching by James Lang, we will be diving into Small Teaching Online by Flower Darby this spring.

Are you still feeling unsure about your skills as an online facilitator of learning? This selection for our online book club might be just the confidence booster you need! Join the discussion and exploration of strategies and tools to hone your online-facilitation skills. The book club will be facilitated over nine weeks, mostly asynchronously, with three optional synchronous sessions. 

Register now! Don’t forget to check out Flower Darby’s website so you can source the book in time for the April 5th start date.


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BCcampus Open Education Print-on-Demand Guide: Familiarity and Values

An excerpt from the Print-on-Demand Guide, by Lauri Aesoph

In his 2012 article “The University Culture,” Joseph Simplicio writes about the “unique and cherished culture.… [that is] steeped in tradition” at universities. He says that these values are important to an institution’s viability because they create “stability and continuity” for its members.[1] These shared values and experiences, as well as familiarity with institutional practices and policies, create a bond between individual members of a post-secondary community.

Each post-secondary institution can come up with a list of ways that a campus-based printing service might access and incorporate its traditions and values. Here are some ideas:

  1. Showcase. Display printed open textbooks in the campus bookstore window to expand awareness.
  2. Normalize. Place open textbooks on bookstore shelves alongside other printed resources, such as commercial textbooks and course packs, to standardize open textbook use.
  3. Brand. Kwantlen Polytechnic University includes the KPU logo on the covers of open textbooks, such as Getting to Know Your International Students.
  4. Educate. Ask the campus copyright officer to compose a statement about open licences that can be added to open textbooks.
  5. Celebrate. Highlight open textbooks revised by the institution’s instructors. For example, Thompson Rivers University published an article when Renée Anderson adapted Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care to create Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care – Thompson Rivers University Edition. For more information, see this article called “TRU Makes Textbooks Free and Available Online.”

Campus Pride

A post-secondary institution’s website often includes a page describing its history, values, mission, and how they serve their students and the community surrounding them. Below are examples from 47 public and private colleges, institutes, and universities across British Columbia.[2]


  1. Joseph Simplicio, “The University Culture,” Education 133, no. 2 (Winter 2012): 336–9, https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-313160605/the-university-culture. 
  2. To avoid overcrowding this textbox, these links have been excluded from the print version of this book. To view a particular institution’s values page, enter “[institution name] values” into an internet search engine. 

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Learn more:

BCcampus OER Is Now Discoverable in Pressbooks Directory

Post by Leigh Kinch-Pedrosa, Head of Marketing & Communications, Pressbooks

Clint Lalonde, open education project manager for BCcampus, writes, “Discoverability of open textbooks has always been a challenge, and Pressbooks Directory will make a huge difference in making OER (open educational resources) findable by others. One of our goals at BCcampus is to make our materials as widely available as possible because every adoption or adaptation built upon a BCcampus book makes the initial investment in the development of that book that much more impactful.” It is for the purposes Clint outlines — discoverability and increasing the usefulness of each resource — that BCcampus and Pressbooks are so excited to announce the inclusion of BCcampus open textbooks in the new Pressbooks Directory.

Vital Sign Measurement Across the Lifespan Opentext book cover. Features an artistic rendering of a heart inside of a human ribcage.

The Directory works by indexing public books created on PressbooksEDU networks and allowing users to search great open resources that can be accessed for free. However, the initial release of Pressbooks Directory couldn’t support the inclusion of self-hosted networks (like those operated by BCcampus) because many of them were not using the newest Pressbooks version, which includes vital updates that allow the Directory to index books. BCcampus has been so innovative with its use of Pressbooks and its books are of such high quality that it was important for the Pressbooks team to have BCcampus books included. Steel Wagstaff, educational product manager at Pressbooks, worked closely with the folks at BCcampus to make the necessary updates. Similar collaborations were successful with other open-source networks, including Open Education Alberta, University of Hawaii, Ryerson University, and Plymouth State University. 

The history of BCcampus and Pressbooks goes back to the early days of PressbooksEDU when BCcampus was looking for a platform on which to create OER, and Pressbooks was excited to start working in the educational publishing space. BCcampus was among the first OER publishing projects to adopt Pressbooks, and its staff made significant contributions to improve Pressbooks’ ability to support open textbook publishing. As BCcampus has grown into one of open education’s leading organizations, Pressbooks has provided the platform on which BCcampus built its open-textbook publishing program. Both parties have continued to collaborate, resulting in improvements to the Pressbooks platform and the advancement of each organization’s mission.

BCcampus Open Education Accessibility Toolkit 2nd edition Opentext book cover. Features graphic of blue dots in bottom third of  cover.

Hugh McGuire, Pressbooks founder and CEO, writes about the continuing partnership: “BCcampus was the first major OER project to adopt Pressbooks, way back in 2012, and since then they have been building a fantastic catalog of high quality OER on Pressbooks. Recently, BCcampus has been focusing on the exciting project of building robust collections of interactive H5P content into selected OER — turning Pressbooks books into powerful open courseware. The resources available in the BCcampus Pressbooks catalog represent almost decade of leadership in OER, and we’re thrilled that it’s now in the Pressbooks Directory so that it’s easier for anyone to find these resources and easy for Pressbooks users to clone BCcampus content in order to adapt, modify, and improve. Thanks to the entire team at BCcampus.”

Today, users can find BCcampus open textbooks alongside thousands of other public books in the Pressbooks Directory. Books included in the Directory, depending on the license and the author’s export choices, can be accessed and downloaded in multiple formats for free or cloned into a Pressbooks network, where they can be remixed and redistributed easily and efficiently. As such, this partnership promotes the 5Rs in tangible ways. More books + more discoverability = greater access. 

Pulling Together Foundations guide book cover. It features an indigenous artist's rendering of a canoe with 7 people in it paddling together. A large yellow sun with a face is behind them.

“We think having BCcampus books included in the Pressbooks Directory benefits everyone by making a stronger open ecosystem,” Clint writes, “and I know we will benefit from being able to find other Pressbooks projects in the Directory to use as starting points for future development projects.” Everyone involved in this collaboration shares Clint’s enthusiasm and hopes for the future. It is with great pleasure that we offer Pressbooks Directory and BCcampus OER to the wide world of open education. 

Explore more titles in the directory:


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BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education: Andrea Niosi

This month’s BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education goes to Instructor Andrea Niosi, Faculty of Entrepreneurial Leadership, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). Andrea has become a leader in open education at KPU and beyond. She gives presentations about open pedagogy, has participated in local and international fellowship opportunities, mentors others in open education and open pedagogy, advises on the development of zero-textbook-cost programs in marketing and entrepreneurial leadership at KPU, and has authored multiple open education resources.

Nominated by Melissa Ashman, Instructor, Applied Communications, KPU School of Business

Andrea Niosi smiling

Andrea participated in KPU’s SDG Open Pedagogy Fellowship in 2020, where she collaborated with faculty from Montgomery College and Maricopa Community College to create three renewable assignments. These assignments allow students to reimagine marketing by creating new narratives that accurately reflect the diversity and complexity of consumers past and present.

She supported 34 fourth-year marketing students in creating an open education resource (OER) called the Open Guide to IMC (integrated marketing communications). Students curated open content, created original content, developed H5P content, and paid close attention to approaching the guide through an antiracism lens.

In addition, Andrea was a mentor in the UNESCO Open Education for a Better World program, gave workshops on open pedagogy, and presented to faculty at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. She presented at the Open Education 2020 Conference with two KPU students on developing the Open Guide to IMC. She is an active member of the BCcampus Business ZTC Advisory Group and a curriculum developer for the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at KPU.

Also See:

Previous Honourees: 

Jennifer KirkeyRajiv JhangianiCindy UnderhillMichael PaskeviciusMaja KrzicGrant PotterIrwin DeVriesTara RobertsonChristina HendricksTannis MorganInba KehoeDiane PurveyErin Fields, Arley CruthersChad FlinnAran ArmutluTerry BergWill EngleFlorence DaddeyBrenda SmithLindsay TrippMary ShierBrad BellDebra FlewellingMichelle HarrisonSally VindenAli de HaanSara Humphreys, and Jim Maxwell-Campagna


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Toward a Better Understanding of Micro-credentials

Post by Ross McKerlich, Project Manager, Micro-Credentials, and Helena Prins, Advisor, Learning and Teaching, at BCcampus

Definitions can be hard to find when it comes to recent innovations. Micro-credentials are no different, but it is important to build an understanding so you can discover applications for them. One way to build a definition is to start small, or basic, and add defining characteristics. 

Basic Definition

What are micro-credentials in basic terms? The word has two root words – “micro,” meaning small, and “credential,” meaning a qualification. This results in a basic definition:

A micro-credential is a small qualification.

This definition is true, but it somewhat mutes the potential impact of micro-credentials. Adding characteristics to the basic definition brings scope. 

Characteristic One: Focused Qualification

One primary characteristic is that micro-credentials often result from industry and post-secondary institutions working together to meet an industry need. They have a specific focus. The learner can apply knowledge quickly and hopefully gain meaningful employment.

A micro-credential is a small, focused qualification the learner can quickly apply in an area of industry need.

Characteristic Two: Competency Based

A second primary characteristic is that micro-credentials are competency based, so the learning is about knowledge, skills, and ability, which is a bit different from traditional knowledge-based qualifications. Competencies are assessed and endorsed by the institution that offers the micro-credential.

A micro-credential is a small, focused, competency-based qualification the learner can quickly apply in an area of industry need.

With this rough, unofficial definition in mind, who are the stakeholders to be considered? What are other use cases for micro-credentials? What has been done elsewhere that we could learn from? How can we ensure equity-focused micro-credentials? 

To explore some of these questions and more, keep an eye on our newsletter to join upcoming events and discussions around this hot topic! Here is one event happening soon:

  • Micro-credentials in the B.C. Context. March 1–12. A self-paced course with two special web conferences. Register here.

The feature image for this post (viewable in the BCcampus News section at the bottom of our homepage) is by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Indigenization Guide: Myths that Impact Indigenous Student Experience

The following is an excerpt from Pulling Together: A Guide for Front-Line Staff, Student Services, and Advisors by Ian Cull, Robert L. A. Hancock, Stephanie McKeown, Michelle Pidgeon, and Adrienne Vedan.

Indigenous students are not always in culturally safe spaces on campus. The concept of cultural safety recognizes that we need to be aware of and challenge unequal power relations at all levels: individual, family, community, and society. The reality is that many Indigenous students experience racial microaggressions daily and this ongoing harm creates feelings of isolation and unwelcomeness. A racial microaggression is a “subtle behaviour that [conveys] hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to persons of marginalized groups” (Shotton, 2017, p. 33). Negative messages are based on myths and stereotypes. Below are a few common misconceptions to dispel as you work with Indigenous students and build your allyship.

Indigenous students get 100 percent free education

Not all Indigenous students receive funding. There is a federal funding program called the Post-Secondary Student Support program,[1] but only status First Nations and Inuit post-secondary students are eligible for funding under this program. This program is underfunded, with little budgetary increase since the mid-1990s. This causes First Nations and Inuit-designated organizations, who administer the annual allotted funds to their membership, to ration who, how, and what is funded. For example, some eligible students will have just their books and supplies paid for while others will get their tuition if they enrol full-time. Some programs may not be eligible for funding, including any continuing education programs and some online programs. For those students who must relocate to attend college or university, costs such as housing, day care, and transportation, are often not covered. Métis and non-status First Nations students are not eligible for Post-Secondary Student Support funding, so they must seek student aid, scholarships, and bursaries. Métis students can also apply to Métis Nation BC for post-secondary funding through its Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program,[2] which is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada. Moreover, BC First Nations who have signed modern treaty agreements (for example, Nisga’a First Nation, Maa-nulth First Nations, Tsawwassen First Nation, Tla’min First Nation) no longer have access to the Post-Secondary Support Program and may or may not be able to provide post-secondary funding to their members. For more information about funding programs for Indigenous students, please see Appendix B.

Indigenous students are “underprepared”

Not Quite. Many Indigenous students are the first generation of learners to attend a post-secondary institution, so they may not know the processes involved in enrolment, transition, and graduation. Some students may need academic support to transition to the post-secondary classroom (for example, they may require tutors or academic support for numeracy, literacy, and technology); however, many will come fully prepared academically.

Students of mixed ancestry are Métis

Not all “mixed blood” people are MétisThe Métis are members of an Indigenous nation with roots in the North American fur trade. While some of their ancestors are European, the salient characteristic of Métis identity is based on shared histories, cultural practices, and community life. A person is Métis because they are descended from Métis ancestors and recognized by Métis relatives and communities, not because they are of mixed ancestry (Hancock, 2017). For further information, please see the Métis Bibliography [PDF],[3] a supplement developed for the Indigenization Project.

If you’ve met one Indigenous student, you’ve met them all

Not true. Indigenous Peoples’ experiences cannot be homogenized; therefore, each student must be understood in relationship to their cultural identity, diverse spiritual practices, and experiences. For example, not all Indigenous people come from poverty, suffer from violence, or have lived on reserve. Understanding students’ socio-political circumstances is helpful in your role as an ally and service provider as is understanding the effects of colonization, residential schools, and other complex systemic issues facing Indigenous Peoples. However, we should not assume all students come from the same circumstance and that Indigenous people are all harmed.

Indigenous students are “spiritual”

Indigenous students are culturally diverse. Not all Indigenous people have the same spiritual practices. For example, not all Indigenous Peoples take part in smudging ceremonies or pow wows (these are primarily practiced on the prairies), and not all Indigenous people participate in feasts and potlatches (these traditions are practiced by Indigenous Peoples on the Northwest Coast). Spiritual practices are influenced by worldviews, language, and practices. Also, the effects of colonization, such as residential schools, mean some Indigenous students also practice faith-based religions either alongside or separate from their traditional cultural practices. Spirituality must be thought of as diverse as Indigenous Peoples themselves and we can’t make assumptions about what role spirituality plays in an Indigenous person’s life without knowing the individual.


  1. Post-Secondary Student Support program: https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100033682/1100100033683 
  2. Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program: https://www.mnbc.ca/directory/view/342-ministry-of-employment-training 
  3. Métis Bibliography: http://solr.bccampus.ca:8001/bcc/file/c0a932f4-8d79-4d3d-a5d4-3f8c128c0236/1/FINAL%20Metis%20Bibliography%20for%20Indigenization%20Guides%202017.pdf 

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