Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education: Massive Online Open Courseware (MOOC)

New offering of the course starts on January 24th, 2017.

Tell your colleagues and join us. Register on EdX site.


Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education course is about the need to disrupt and rethink personal and professional assumptions that we hold about Indigenous histories, cultures, and realities that very well may play out in classrooms and schools. Further, we need to reconcile the fundamental educational promise of equality of opportunity that has not yet been met for many of our Indigenous students.

Choosing reconciliation as a lens for rethinking policy and the practices of schooling acknowledges that there are contradictions in the current curriculum of schooling that impact the success of Indigenous leaners. Reconciliation in this course emphasizes changing structures and ideologies that create unequal educational outcomes for Indigenous learners in comparison to their non-Indigenous counterparts.

As educators, we need to be able to respond to educational reforms that prioritize improved educational outcomes for Indigenous children and youth. Further, all students should have opportunities to learn from Indigenous histories, traditions, and knowledges as part of a social justice education.

This course will enable educators to envision how Indigenous ways of knowing, content, perspectives, and pedagogies can be made part of classrooms, schools, and communities in ways that are thoughtful and respectful. This is an approach that more and more educators see as far more likely to ensure the success of Indigenous learners, which is important to their families and communities, but also to the future of Canada.


  • Explore personal and professional histories and assumptions in relationship to Indigenous peoples, histories, and worldviews.
  • Develop awareness and knowledge of the colonial histories and current realities of Indigenous peoples.
  • Engage with Indigenous worldviews and perspectives that contextualize and support your understanding of the theory and practices of Indigenous education.
  • Explore a range of educational experiences shared by educators and through teaching exemplars that support the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives and approaches to learning in schools and classrooms.
  • Develop strategies to engage Indigenous families and community members in classrooms and schools.
  • Engage in personal and professional discussions, online, with colleagues from a range of educational settings.


Over the course of the six weeks, we will move through a set of topics that focus on changing ideologies and the way we do things in schools. Each topic will begin with a short introduction, which provides key concepts that the topic is intended to develop and introduces participants to what they can anticipate in the topic. Other elements within each topic include:

  • A narration from Indigenous Elders or knowledge keepers, which will provide a cultural context for understanding ideas that will be developed in the topic.
  • Videos and materials intended to inform practice through research and experts in the field.
  • Teaching supports and strategies that draw on a range of resources that enhance our understanding of Indigenous education concepts for application in classrooms and schools.
  • Activities which are designed to help bring together and consolidate the new understandings that have emerged for you through each of the course’s topics.
  • Additional resources that include relevant materials that may have been mentioned in the topic or that seek to enhance your understanding of the topic.
  • Self-assessed completion checklists that will help you to reflect on your work in each topic and ensure you have completed tasks associated with each topic. These checklists are due by the end of the course and will be worth 15% of your final mark.
  • Concluding thoughts that summarize or extend conversations by participants that have taken place in discussion forums.

The topics are:

  1. Indigenous Education through the Lens of Reconciliation
  2. History of Indigenous Education
  3. Indigenous Education Frameworks
  4. Indigenous Pedagogies: Storytelling
  5. Indigenous Pedagogies: Learning from the Land
  6. Indigenous Family and Community Engagement

Informing about MOOC


  1. ETUG workshop (June 4, 2015)
  2. TEC Expo event (July 8, 2015)
  3. ETUG webinar (January 29, 2016) – Session recording



The first offering of Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education MOOC was in January 2015 and it had over 5000 enrollments with more than 2000 active students from 120 countries. The top three most represented countries were Canada, US and Australia. It had the highest number of students who received a certificate and the highest completion rate of all UBC created MOOCs.

The second offering of the MOOC started in September 2015. There were 3550 students enrolled in the course. Ultimately, this offering had very similar demographics and with the same results as the first time. The average age group was 30-35, which may confirm our goal to inform current educators about Indigenous education and useful teaching strategies when dealing with these complex issues.

Lessons Learned

The production of MOOC took far more resources (material, time and people) than we could have predicted. The challenge of this particular MOOC was the fact that it was created by the whole community of scholars, educators and support personnel, and collaboration across all parties takes a lot of energy and time. However, while this proved to be a challenge, it was also the strength of the course, as it included various perspectives and richness of diverse experiences.

Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education was not a course usually taken by university students who wanted to learn more about the subject area. The participants came from a wide range of professions and had different skills as online learners. Given the nature of the course, we paid particular attention to make participants feel comfortable by producing a welcome announcement and an orientation video.  The weekly activities and schedule of the tasks were also laid out clearly to facilitate student learning.

From a technical standpoint, we recognized that as a platform that was still evolving, edX lacked some functionality. Therefore, we customized the learning experience in our MOOC based on the constrains of the platform. At the same time, adding new features to the system was ongoing, and open communication with the edX development team was an extremely valuable side of this partnership.  EdX was not as robust as UBC’s Connect (Blackboard), but it has several unique features (e.g. peer evaluation) and a more modern look and feel.

Assignment submission was another challenge, as with any course offered internationally. Embedding a countdown timer was a great help to students and to the instructor. To promptly respond to student inquires, the course had two graduate students working as TAs and a few community TAs. They monitored the activities in the course, bringing the discussion issues to the attention of the instructor, who then engaged in providing input and clarifications.


Over the past 6 weeks my passion for change has been reignited and supplemented by this course. It happened to coincide with a designs series in my district geared at reconciliation through indigenous education. I have been fortunate to be a part of a group focused on adopting the First People’s Principles of learning , and implementing them in our classrooms. I utilized resources and engaged in dialogues based on the videos and strategies supplied in this course. I witnessed a shift in my ideologies and educational practices, realizing that acknowledging history is the first step. This is only the first step and I will continue to enhance my education by utilizing and understanding the power of dialogue within our local communities.

— bobrien57

Reconciliation must start within and extend out, weaving back and forth between the two. Systemic change is needed as much as change in thinking and consciousness. Educators must be at the forefront of this transformation.

Peace, S.M.


This course was inspired by conversations with DeDe Derose and Mark Edwards. At the time of our initial talks, DeDe DeRose was the first Superintendent of Aboriginal Achievement for the Ministry of Education with the province of British Columbia. She has since returned to work in the Kamloops School District and has been championing this MOOC as an important professional development resource for all educators. Mark Edwards, Assistant Dean of Professional Development and Community Engagement at UBC, was drawn in to our enthusiasm by the need to support educators, and others, to advance Indigenous education in schools and communities. This eventually led to engaging Aboriginal community educators to ensure that this MOOC was relevant to the field. I am grateful for the time they gave to guide us here at UBC in the development. The Elders, knowledge holders, and educators who contributed their wisdom and experiences create a significant experience for all those taking the MOOC. Special thanks to Sharon Hu, whose excitement for this endeavour kept the momentum of this project going through to the finish, and to Ian Linkletter for his meticulous attention to the many details of the project. And there have certainly been others whom we acknowledge below that contributed to the success of this MOOC, Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education.Chi miigwech (big thank you) to all of you.


IndEdu200x contains contributions by the following people:

Dr. Jo-ann Archibald

Kaleb Child

Larry Grant

Peggy Janicki

Dr. Verna Kirkness

Virginia Morgan

Dr. Cynthia Nichol

Gerry Oleman

Dr. Jean Phillips

Shane Pointe

Roberta Pryce

Dr. Andrew Schofield

Advisory Group

DeDe DeRose, Kamloops School District

Diane Jubinville, District Aboriginal Principal, Delta School District

Gail Stromquist, Aboriginal Education, British Columbia Teacher’s Federation

Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, Associate Dean of Indigenous Education, UBC

Starleigh Grass, First Nations Education Steering Committee

Don Fiddler, District Aboriginal Principal, Vancouver School Board

Development Staff

Team Lead: Natasha Boskic

Multimedia Producer: Sharon Hu

Video Production: UBC Studios

Tech Lead: Ian Linkletter

Graphic Designer: Bill Pickard

Quality Assurance: Andrea Gonzalez

Quality Assurance: Eleanor Hoskins

Quality Assurance: Austin Lee

Special thanks to:

Saeed Dyanatkar

Mark Edwards

Will Engle

Mairin Kerr

Gregor Kiczales

Sarah Lockman

Beni Loti

Barry Magrill

Heather McGregor

Jeff Miller

Jason Myers

Nicole Ronan

Derek White

Jenny Wong

Beaty Biodiversity Museum, UBC

Museum of Anthropology, UBC