Students Rating of Indigenizing a Quantitative Geography Course

June 27, 2019

Course indigenization represents one approach to spark student interest and engagement that can ultimately translate into learning gains. In the Spring 2019 term, 46 students of the GEOG251 Quantitative Geography course taught by Dr. Shiv Balram were introduced to one in-depth case study from an indigenous Canadian context. The case study was used to anchor all the concepts learned in the course thereby allowing students to apply their quantitative and spatial thinking to address a real-world problem issue.

In order to test the effectiveness of this pedagogical approach, a quasi-experimental survey design was implemented. Students rated a series of questions of which two (questions 6 and 10) are reported here. For question 6, students rated their understanding of the statistics research workflow process before and after the in-depth case study was introduced (n = 29, z = -2.094, p = 0.036). For question 10, students rated their understanding of factors affecting Canadian indigenous communities before and after the in-depth case study was introduced (n = 29, z = -4.121, p = 0.000). The results are statistically significant at a 95% confidence level and are shown graphically with error bars in the figure.

The results provide evidence to suggest that students can experience significant gains in understanding course concepts when these concepts are paired with in-depth indigenous case studies. Further, the case studies provide a means for students to better be aware of and understand the factors affecting indigenous communities in Canada.