Vol. 35 No. 2 (2020)
Research Articles

Online Indigenous University Student Supports, Barriers, and Learning Preferences

Patrick D Walton
Thompson Rivers University
Bio
Robert Byrne
World Bank
Bio
Natalie Clark
Thompson Rivers University
Bio
Michelle Pidgeon
Simon Fraser University
Bio
Mike Arnouse
Thompson Rivers University
Bio
Kristen Hamilton
Thompson Rivers University
Bio
Published December 18, 2020

Abstract

Abstract: The research goals were to identify the key supports, barriers, and learning preferences related to the persistence of online Indigenous university students. Two Indigenous community meetings were held, 212 online Indigenous students were surveyed, 20 Indigenous students were interviewed, and a talking circle was held with six Indigenous university online students. The strongest converging factors related to persistence were (a) cultural; recommendations for more Indigenous faculty and culture on campus, (b) social; good relationships with faculty and students, positive social environment, time management, and motivation, (c) cognitive; literacy, mathematics, and computer skills, and (d) physical; financial support, affordable housing, family support, and non-academic support at university. Students preferred embedded media, graphics, virtual environments, and games over other online design elements. Email was the preferred method to communicate with faculty. Texting, using social media, and virtual environments were preferred to communicate with other students. Most students had extensive experience with texting, Facebook, and chat, but far less experience with blogs, Twitter, or Wikis. Students liked group work but assigning one mark for group projects worked against social cohesion. Most students reported having the skills needed to complete online courses, with the exception of time management. The findings support a wholistic Indigenous human model of university persistence that includes intersecting social, cognitive, physical, and cultural components.

Keywords: Indigenous, Aboriginal, persistence, university, online, Indigenous student experience, Canada 

 

Résumé: Les objectifs de la recherche étaient d'identifier les principaux soutiens, obstacles et préférences d'apprentissage en lien avec la persévérance des étudiants universitaires autochtones en ligne. Deux réunions au sein d'une communauté autochtone ont été organisées, 212 étudiants en ligne autochtones ont été interrogés, 20 étudiants ont été interviewés, et un cercle de discussion a été organisé avec six étudiants universitaires en ligne autochtones. Les facteurs convergents les plus fortement en lien avec la persévérance étaient (a) culturels : recommandations d'une présence accrue de professeurs et de culture autochtones sur le campus, (b) sociaux : bonnes relations avec les professeurs et les étudiants, environnement social positif, gestion du temps et motivation, (c) cognitifs : compétences en littératie, mathématiques et informatique, et (d) physiques : soutien financier, logement abordable, soutien familial et soutien non académique à l'université. Les étudiants ont préféré les médias intégrés, les graphiques, les environnements virtuels et les jeux à d'autres éléments de design de cours en ligne. Le courrier électronique était la méthode préférée pour communiquer avec le corps enseignant. Les textos, les médias sociaux et les environnements virtuels ont été privilégiés pour communiquer avec les autres étudiants. La plupart des étudiants avaient une grande expérience des textos, de Facebook et du chat, mais beaucoup moins des blogs, de Twitter ou des wikis. Les étudiants ont aimé le travail en groupe, mais l'attribution d'une note pour les projets de groupe est allée à l'encontre de la cohésion sociale. La plupart des étudiants a déclaré avoir les compétences nécessaires pour suivre des cours en ligne, à l'exception de la gestion du temps. Les résultats soutiennent un modèle humain autochtone holistique de persévérance universitaire qui comprend des éléments sociaux, cognitifs, physiques et culturels qui se croisent.

Mots-clés: autochtone, aborigine, persistence, université, en ligne, expérience des étudiants autochtones, Canada

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