ERIC Number: ED455056
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-May
Reference Count: N/A
The Learning Circle: A New Model of BSW Education for Alberta's Rural, Remote, and Aboriginal Communities.
Zapf, M. K.; Bastien, B.; Bodor, R.; Carriere, J.; Pelech, W.
In 1998, a consortium including the University of Calgary (Alberta) and representatives from social service agencies and Native organizations developed a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) model for delivery in rural, remote, and Aboriginal communities. The model called for innovative course content that was culturally and geographically relevant to Metis and First Nations peoples; was aligned with traditional philosophies and knowledge systems; was flexible in time, place, and mode; and integrated the best of distance education technology with face-to-face opportunities. The conventional program structure was changed to a predominately nonhierarchical structure--the "Learning Circle." Core content was organized into four main theme areas that comprised the outer ring of the Learning Circle. Students could take them in any order. Optional courses, the inner ring, could be taken at any time in the program. The four theme courses, related projects, and optional courses would be completed before the practicum, at the center of the Learning Circle, was begun. Instruction was begun in January 2000 with 73 students at 6 sites. Lessons learned include an expanded meaning of "access" that encompasses cultural relevance, the need for realistic time frames for initial program development, the discovery of community-level confusion about requirements for degree completion, the need for a flexible definition of "full-time student," and the need to move slowly in integrating distance education technology. (TD)
Descriptors: Access to Education, American Indian Education, Canada Natives, College Programs, Community Involvement, Culturally Relevant Education, Distance Education, Foreign Countries, Geographic Isolation, Higher Education, Partnerships in Education, Program Descriptions, Program Development, Rural Education, Social Work
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada