Trent University's Dr. Kristy Buccieri has been advocating for an end to homelessness since her early days as a student when she volunteered at a youth drop-in centre. Her passion for this issue has only grown with time, leading her to develop an innovative approach to educating a new generation of students about homelessness.
Earlier this month at a ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee, Professor Buccieri (Otonabee College fellow) and her colleagues took home the award for Excellence in Online and Blended Learning Innovation from the Online Learning Consortium.
Their award-winning project is a free, online educational resource that Prof. Buccieri describes as a “talking textbook.” Called Understanding Homelessness in Canada: From the Street to the Classroom, it features video interviews with researchers across the country discussing homelessness through the lens of various academic disciplines, ranging from Canadian and Indigenous Studies to Health Sciences. The online resource also includes interactive activities and original artwork by people with lived homelessness experience.
According to Prof. Buccieri, it is crucial to examine the pressing issue of homelessness through an interdisciplinary lens.
“We really wanted students to understand that homelessness is not a standalone topic – that no matter what field they go into, they're going to encounter people who have lived experience of homelessness,” she says.“It is critically important that students enter their careers from an informed place, so that they avoid the common stereotypes that exclude these individuals.”
An award-winning collaborative effort
Prof. Buccieri credits the success of the project to the diverse team she worked with, which included people with lived experience of homelessness. Also part of the core research team was Dr. Cyndi Gilmer, director of the Department of Social Work and associate professor in the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing.
Online learning expertise from Trent Online also benefited the project. Stephanie Ferguson, e-learning designer at Trent Online says the online resource was designed to appeal to people looking for a diverse learning experience. The content can be accessed on the web, as an e-book, and as a podcast.
“Some people really enjoy the interactive activities, some are more drawn to watching the videos, while others may prefer listening to the podcast,” she says. “Presenting the content in so many different formats allows people to choose the formats in which they learn best.”
The project was supported by multimedia expertise by Trent Online’s James Bailey and Josh Andrews. Interact with the award-winning resource here.
The team from Trent was able to attend in person thanks to support from the Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Enhancement Fund and Teaching and Learning at Trent. Read more about the Online Learning Consortium’s 2023 Awards of Excellence.