Provincial funding is paving the way for the development of a unique kinesiology course on exercise and sport in Indigenous health and wellness.
Dr. Sarah West, associate professor in the Department Biology at Trent University, is the project lead for an application that secured $83,000 from Ontario’s Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS) to facilitate the development of an open-access resource focused on Indigenous physical activity and health.
“To our knowledge, there isn’t a course focused on physical activity in Indigenous health that is a requirement for a Kinesiology degree in Ontario. This is a great opportunity to emphasize Trent’s reputation as a leader in Indigenous knowledge and education,” says Professor West.
Consultations on Course Content Creation
The funding will kickstart development of the course, bringing together a team of experts from Trent—including Dr. David Newhouse, director of the Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies, Dr. Fergal O’Hagan, associate dean (acting), Teaching and Learning, and Mitchell Huguenin, the indigenous pedagogy designer for the Trent Centre for Teaching and Learning—as well as other contributors with relevant knowledge and experiences.
“A course in Indigenous sport and exercise is overdue, so we wanted to make sure this course was developed correctly,” Prof. West says. “A big portion of the funding will be used to invest in the input of subject matter experts with Indigenous knowledge and expertise. We are hiring a team of contributors with diverse backgrounds—people from Indigenous Communities, scholars, individuals with lived experiences—who will be official co-designers of the course.”
Potential topics to be covered in the course include the history of exercise and sport in Indigenous peoples and communities, the traditional teachings of health and movement, sport and spirituality, changes and challenges, and sport and activity as a contemporary issue.
“We’re going into this process being very open to the evolution of content and what comes out, which is a unique process in development of course content and research efforts in general,” says Prof. West.
The project team also aims to hire two Indigenous Studies students to contribute to the development of this course.
Available online and on campus
Funded through the province’s Ministry of College and Universities and developed by eCampusOntario, the VLS aims to increase open-access resources (e.g. an online course, or other).
The main goal of this project is to make the course available as an open access resource through eCampusOntario, however, the designers also hope that the resource can form the basis of an official course at Trent that would fulfill the Indigenous course requirement.
The team will be developing the course over the next year, with the final module completed and uploaded to eCampusOntario by February 2023.
Indigenous Studies students interested in participating in the development of the course can email Prof. West at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about VLS-funded open access resources developed at Trent University.