SPEAKER: Welcome to
the Indigenous Policy and Administration program
at Carleton University. This is a tutorial
that will help you succeed in the
online courses that comprise the Indigenous Policy
and Administration program. You will have the
opportunity to meet some of the professors
in the program, as well as your
classmates, by attending the Summer Institute, which
is held on Carleton’s campus. Following these summer
courses, the rest of your courses
in the IPA program will be taught entirely online. Online learning can take
some time getting used to, but this tutorial
will provide you with some tips on how to
prepare for and succeed in the Indigenous Policy
and Administration program. First, let’s consider some
myths about online learning. Some people might tell you
that online courses are easier than regular
face-to-face courses because you don’t
have to go to class. The fact is, you
will have to work hard to keep up with online
lectures, activities, and assignments. There is also a
perception out there that online courses are lonely. This is not the case in the
courses in the Indigenous Policy and
Administration program. Your courses will involve a
high degree of interaction with other students and
with your instructors. You will regularly engage
in online discussions with other students and you
will have plenty of opportunity to communicate with
your instructors. Another myth about
online courses is that you won’t get much
feedback from your instructors. While it’s true that some
types of online courses offer few opportunities for
feedback, in your courses, you can expect to receive
personalized audio or written feedback on your assignments
from your instructors. Your instructors are
also available to talk on the phone, using online
services such as Big Blue Button, or in person if
you happen to be on campus. Finally, many people believe
that online courses are entirely flexible
and that there are no deadlines in online courses. This is not the
case in IPA courses. While online courses
offer some flexibility and allow you to choose
when you will study, your courses will also
feature regular deadlines. Let’s take a few minutes to
learn about some benefits of online learning. Although online learning
can be challenging, there are some great
benefits to learning online. While your online courses
are highly structured, they also allow a high
degree of flexibility. You can take your courses
when and where you want. If it’s convenient to do
your coursework on Tuesdays and Thursdays at
4:00 AM, that’s fine as long as it works
for you and allows you to keep up with the class. You should be able to follow
along with the courses while you travel as well. The online learning environment
allows your instructors to observe and monitor your
progress in the course. They’ll know when
you’re downloading readings or watching videos and
when you are falling behind. Finally, one of the greatest
benefits of online learning is the fact that
it will give you a chance to speak to a
wide variety of students. Students in the Indigenous
Policy and Administration program are often located
all over the country and many are taking this
program while working in their communities. As a result, you’ll
find that you get to hear a broader range of
perspectives and experiences than you might in
a regular class. This opportunity to hear a
huge variety of perspectives is one of the great
benefits of online learning. All of your courses
will be delivered through cuLearn, which is
Carleton’s online learning platform. Each course will
have its own page. One of the most
important things for you to do once you
begin a course will be to understand all
the different navigation elements of the course. Each course has a number
of important elements that you should be aware of. The Navigation bar on the
left of your course page shows the Table of Course
Content section, which will give you an idea of all the
content within the course page. On the Navigation bar, you can
see that the course content is divided into modules. Many of your courses
will be like this and this is one place that
you can see and navigate to the modules. For instance, you
can access materials for the different modules by
clicking on Module 1, 2, or 3. Like the table of
contents in a book, the tabs also show the
sequence of content and course progression. On the right side
of the course page, there are other useful tools. For instance, you’ll
see the Email tool, which will allow you to send
emails to your instructor or to your classmates. To send emails to
your instructor or classmates, click the
Compose New Email link. cuLearn will keep a record
of emails you have sent. You can view the
history of your emails by clicking on View History. In the Recent
Activities block, you will also find a record of
your activity in the course. Check and track recent
activities in the course by clicking Recent Activities. The course home page may be
a bit different from course to course. On a course home page,
you will find information about the course, including the
course outline, instructions for assignments, as well as
course news and announcements. The Welcome section of
the course home page provides an overview of the
main themes of the course. For example, this is
the home page for one of the courses in the Indigenous
Policy and Administration program. You’ll find the course
outline or the course syllabus on the course home page as well. The course outline or
syllabus will provide you with details on the course
content, course assignments, and due dates. The course outline will
also contain information about important course
policies, such as what to do if you have to
submit an assignment late or if you need accommodations
due to illness. Your instructors
will often send you updates about things
that are happening in the course or other
important information. Most instructors will use the
Course News and Announcements tool to send you new information
and important updates. You can click on Course
News and Announcements tool to see a record of
all announcements. Most courses will be organized
into weeks or modules. Each module might
last one or two weeks. You can use the Navigation bar
to move to different modules. Some courses will
use tabs, which will allow you to move
through different modules by clicking on the
appropriate tab. For example, I can move
from Module 1 to Module 7 just by clicking on the tab. Each module will include
a number of activities, such as lectures and
discussions or assignments. In this module, the
learning outcomes for the module are
listed, as well as some of the main
themes for the module. The module also includes a
list of tasks for the module, as well as important dates. There are also links to lecture
videos, course readings, and assignments
within the module. So everything you
need for that module is placed together in one spot. This module includes
a discussion activity. You can click on
the Discussion tool in order to participate
in the discussion. Here’s an example
from another course. You can see that
the instructor has included two videos,
a discussion activity, as well as an exercise. Again, all the resources
and instructions necessary to complete
the assigned tasks can be found in the
module, so you’ll find that the links, icons,
and tabs within the modules are really important. In some cases, all the
instructions for assignments are gathered into one folder. Clicking on this icon
will open the folder and you can see assignments
as well as rubrics. Rubrics are guides for
grading assignments that some of your
instructors might use. Looking at the rubric will give
you a good idea of what exactly the instructor is looking for
when grading your assignments, so understanding
the rubric will help you to understand the
expectations of the assignment. It’s a good idea to take
a look at the rubrics if they are provided. However, not all instructors
will use rubrics. In each of your courses, you’ll
need to submit assignments. You can see the assignments
in the Activities block. Click on the icon to
upload your assignments. Your instructors might
provide other instructions on what to submit
with your assignment or the specific format
they would like. Information about course
evaluation and grading is usually outlined in the
course syllabus or course outline. You can check your
grades by clicking on the Grades icon
in the Navigation bar on the right-hand
side of the page. Clicking on this
icon will take you to a summary of your grades
earned in the course. After you submit
your assignments, your instructors will
provide you with feedback. This can take the form of
written or audio feedback. Most instructors will
send you an email once the feedback is available. You can also check for feedback
by clicking on the Assignments icon on the left-hand
Navigation bar. The Library for Indigenous
Policy and Administration contains useful information
and resources that can help you with your studies. If you need help
navigating cuLearn, help is always available. You can always contact
your instructor or TAs. In addition, you can
contact cuLearn Support or Computing and Communications
Services for help. Online learning
can be challenging, but with the right
preparation, it will be a rewarding experience. Your success in online courses
will depend on a few factors. First, time management
is extremely important. You can expect to
spend at least five to seven hours per
week or more working on each of your online courses. Many of you will be working,
taking care of family, or fulfilling other
responsibilities while taking these courses. Finding a way to
balance your coursework with other commitments will
be key to your success. Second, in order to keep
up with course assignments and readings, it is
important that you work on your online
courses on a regular basis. Ideally, you will set aside time
during the same time each week in order to work on
your online courses. We recommend that you log into
your online courses at least three times a week
to participate in learning activities,
discussions, and to see if new
information has been added. Third, many of your courses
will have an online discussion component. Your active
participation is expected and will make the course more
interesting and enjoyable for both you and
your classmates. Fourth, communication
is very important. It’s important to stay in
touch with your instructor and to let them know if you
are experiencing difficulties, if you have questions,
or if you need to submit an assignment
late or are taken away from your studies
due to a family emergency or other issue. If for some reason you
are unable to complete your assignments on
time or participate in online discussions,
it’s important that you communicate
this to your instructor. Finally, at the
beginning of each course, your professors will
provide you with information on the expectations,
assignments, and grading for each course. It’s your responsibility
to make sure that you understand
what is expected and to ask questions if the
expectations are not clear. Even if you are well
organized and well prepared, there may still be times
during your studies when you feel overwhelmed. Balancing school, work, and
life can be challenging. Here is some advice
from previous students. KATHLEEN LAROQUE: Engaging with
the professors and the TAs, very helpful. Always willing to help out
and help you understand. Sharing with the students
and just making sure that I had the time to really
read through those things and understand them. I think that was, for
me, the challenges. So just reach out
to those people. It really helps. I enjoyed the diversity
of the program. And what that means is, there
were several diversifications. There was the ways of learning. So we were able to go to
communities and learn hands-on. We were able to share in
lectures with prominent lawyers like Val Napoleon. We were able to join in
the Institute for Ethics– the Research
Council– and we were able to engage
with other students at the very beginning
of the program, so that gave us a base. And so I really enjoyed
that part of it. The second part of
that diversification is, because it’s online,
we have many people from different places, so
you have many perspectives to be able to share
while you’re learning. And I suppose a
third diversification is the amount of material or all
of the learning that you did. So you were not just
touching on policy but you were touching
on financial management and how to manage communities
and law and just all of the different areas of study
that was really diversified in the whole program. MARCIE PORTELANCE:
So I definitely like the flexibility
of the online program– that you’re able to do your
assignments and readings when you needed or when
you wanted to and how it fit into your schedule. But also, I really found this
course different in the fact that you’re learning about
more current indigenous issues within Canada. So to me, that was the
most interesting aspect of the program. As opposed to other
university courses, where it’s more focused
on history or the past. A lot of the courses focus on
the present, if not the future. KATHLEEN LAROQUE:
Going to community. Going to [INAUDIBLE]. I had never been there. Learning what they’re doing. That was very highlight for me. I think, actually,
they’re helpful. It’s great to be able
to come into the class and share with
students in that way, but when you’re thinking about
if you’re working and family, it’s actually a good
way to be able to allot your time because you
know the readings you have for that week. You know the
questions that you’re going to be looking at at
the beginning of the week. So you can really formulate
your time around that and so I found that helpful. MARCIE PORTELANCE: It
is very challenging, and my preference is
to learn in class, so taking a course or a
program that was 90% online was a bit scary to me. But I found that by
working through it and just going slowly,
everything’s there. So if you want to
move ahead, you can, or if you kind of want
to slow down, you can. So I found that
to be interesting, but that being said,
in my last semester, I took one course in
class just for my own– for time management. I was able to easily
come to school as opposed to take two courses online. KATHLEEN LAROQUE: I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I mean, you just– you do it, right? It’s something I wanted to do. The material is very interesting
so I just made time for it. I don’t know, I just
plugged through. Kind of a blur, like we
were discussing earlier. Determination, I guess. That I wanted to
get through this. I wanted to have this under
my belt to go forward. MARCIE PORTELANCE: Since,
for the past six years, I’ve done university part
time– that’s how I got my BA– so it was something that I was
just already accustomed to. But that being said,
definitely having a support system in place. So my support system
was actually my husband. So he took on many roles. He took on cooking and cleaning
and taking care of the kids in the home setting
but he also took on– he was my editor and my
adviser and my support. And at nights when I felt
like, at some points, oh, this is just too
hard, I can’t do this, he was there to always
say, you can do it. And by taking things slowly
and one day at a time– everything is temporary, right? So it all comes to an end. And that’s it. So definitely having a support
system and keeping your kids– making them understand
how important it is to just carve out
time to do homework. So if that means giving
up certain things, then that’s just
what you have to do. So for example, I used
to always tell myself– so I quit watching TV
when I was in the program. I actually love watching TV. I used to tell myself, I
can watch that show any time but I really have to get
this assignment done. So, for a year, I
did not watch any TV. KATHLEEN LAROQUE: It’s
difficult in the other respect that you’re not engaging with
other students all the time, but because of the
way the program is set up so that you meet the
other people in the program at the beginning of the program,
you’re able to form alliances and you can share
some of the readings, share some of your perspective
with those other students and kind of just gauge that
you’re understanding what you’re hoping to understand. So I think the setup of it
helped in that challenge, because for me, some of the
readings were quite scholarly. And I needed to take
out the dictionary and just bounce
off somebody else that I understood what was
really being said in that. So I think that was challenging,
but helpful that we made that alliance at the beginning. MARCIE PORTELANCE: So
definitely understanding why– like, reminding yourself
why you’re in the program. Because life happens, things
get hard, school gets hard, but if you can ground
yourself and remind yourself why you took this program– or any program,
for that matter– it gives you the
strength to continue. And knowing that, in
12 weeks or 2 weeks, it will be all finished is– you just have to keep
your eye on the end game and that’s kind of
what gets you through. And sometimes you get
through and you’re like, I don’t even know how I did
that, but you make it through. I built friendships
with a few other people in the first two weeks of the
course in the Summer Institute. And so they were my, I
guess, academic peer support. So we would share that
information on Facebook, like, oh, we’re having a
trouble with this assignment, so we kind of all just worked
together to get it done. But yeah, definitely having that
in place makes you successful. My advice to students is
just to continue and remember why you applied
for this program, and by moving forward and
keeping your eye on the end game and graduating is what’s
going to make you successful. And just remember that you
didn’t make it here by chance. You made it here because
of your will and your drive to be part of this program
because not just anyone could get into this program. SPEAKER: When taking
online courses, you will spend a
lot of time using your computer and the internet. In order to complete
these courses, you will need access to a
reliable internet connection. If you do not have reliable,
high-speed internet at home, you should locate a place such
as a library or your workplace where you can access
reliable internet. Remember that many
public internet access points are somewhat unreliable. It’s your responsibility
to make sure that you have a reliable
internet connection that will allow you to fully
participate in your courses. Beyond having access
to the internet, you will need to be
familiar with the functions of your computer. In some courses,
you might be asked to create video presentations or
engage with other new software. You do not need any
special equipment for this. A webcam will be useful
but not necessary. Most computers and laptops today
come with built-in webcams. Being familiar
with your computer will help you
complete assignments. You may be asked to use
programs that are unfamiliar. Be assured that you will always
be provided with instruction on how to use these
tools, but it’s important that you come with a
willingness to learn and it’s your responsibility
to ask for help when something is not clear. This concludes our
tutorial introducing you to the online features
of the Indigenous Policy and Administration program. If you have any questions,
please get in touch with your instructors. Your instructors are looking
forward to getting to know you and are ready to help you
succeed in this program.