Applying Felten's Principles of SoTL Practice to Transform Informal Learning Spaces for Indigenous Students

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Felton’s (2013) Principles of good practice in SoTL were applied to a study with Indigenous students’ learning experiences in informal settings. The principles: Inquiry focused on student learning (P1); Grounded in context (P2); Methodologically sound (P3); Conducted in partnership with students (P4); and Going public (P5). P1: As a collaborative team of academic librarians and educators, we were curious “how do Indigenous students learn in informal spaces?” We set out to explore Indigenous undergraduate students’ experiences, preferences, and approaches to learning in informal spaces. P2: This SoTL inquiry was conducted at the University of Calgary, a research-intensive Canadian university, with a population of approximately 900 self-identified Indigenous students (2.7 % of the student population). Situated within our University’s Indigenous Strategy this commitment to transformation supports enhanced understanding of Indigenous students’ learning (Brown, 2019). P3: Methodologically sound: Participatory photography, including Photovoice and photo-elicitation methods, was selected as a research framework to explore with Indigenous students (Castleden et. al., 2008). As researchers and co-researchers, we learned together. Photovoice provided students the opportunity to actively engage by taking photos of spaces, documenting and reflecting on their learning and experiences. Photo-elicitation expanded on this with additional participants reflecting on how they learn in various spaces depicted in photos. P4: We intentionally recruited Indigenous students to be co-researchers and made this explicit (Cullinane & O'Sullivan, 2020). As partners we generated the research question, identified how we would work together, and planned the dissemination of our work. P5: The authors have presented at local, national, and international conferences, published two proceedings, and the open-access university platform. An e-book will be written and published by the researchers and student co-researchers. With the knowledge gained in this SoTL research we have data to implement the process of change at our university which advances the goals of the Indigenous strategy.
This is a PPT Presentation at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), November 4, 2022. Conference Location: Kelowna, BC, Canada
Indigenous Students, SoTL, Informal Learning Spaces