Simon Fraser University – Faculty of Education
MEd Post-Secondary, VCC Cohort
Selected Problems in Higher Education
Professor: Dr. Doug Mauger
Student: Kathryn Truant
November 28, 2020
I began documenting my participation in the Canvas Discussion Forums immediately after the first weekend of classes, and have continued to document throughout the course. The colour codes in Table 1have expanded to account for goals and expectations that I set for myself, based on the feedback that I received from my professor in ‘Part One’ of this assignment. Please refer to the Table Key below. My reference list is growing as well: ‘Part Two’ of this assignment, has afforded me the opportunity to resume documenting contributions. I spent more time between ‘Part One’ and ‘Part Two’ of this assignment focusing on my own professional practice.
The following are goals, expectations and questions that I am asking myself (and documenting). The list is incomplete and will continue to evolve. I have many unanswered questions and I trust that the answers will unfold as I progress through this Master’s program.
Goals and expectations for myself, my cohort, and my community:
Myself: How can I advance my own professional practice?
My Cohort: How can I support my classmates?
My Community: How can I advance and support my community?
My contributions and evidence of participation in my learning community became less Forum Discussion Focused and more Base Group, Professional Practice, and Community (at large) oriented.
What is my goal?
What is the focus my research (why am I here)?
Do I need to validate my issues?
How has this course and my evidenced participation informed me as a learner? A classmate (part of a learning community)? In my professional practice? In my community (at large)?
Has this course shed some light on what I want to do with my new perspectives on the entire program? Has it expanded my horizons? What am I doing here? Further, Len Pierre’s contributions to my Base Group and our cohort has had a profound effect on me (his contributions are documented in Table 1 and Appendix A).
Here are my top 5 tips & tricks for land acknowledgement:
- Develop a keen sense for when the acknowledgement should be done. If you find situations where it is not done and you feel the comfort to do so, address or ask why the host/lead has not done or completed territory protocol. Territory acknowledgements should be done at the beginning of every formal gathering: conferences, presentations, team meetings, webinars, and beginning of new courses.
- It’s okay to begin with a scripted acknowledgement – the progression and sweet spot of the acknowledgement will come when folks go “off script” and own or personalize their acknowledgement. I have seen folks internalize what this acknowledgment means to them as a settler, or as a small way one can contribute to TRC, or as a way one can make spaces culturally safe. Here is how I internalize my own personal acknowledgement: https://youtu.be/OORwYajFOuc
- Please don’t ask Indigenous people to do the acknowledgement. Only ask leaders/elders to open with prayers and welcomes, never the acknowledgement. This should always be done by the host or leader of the event.
- COVID best practice is if you are ever in a Zoom call/Skype meeting and ask your participants also do the acknowledge and contribute to the acknowledgement in the message box. This helps normalize the protocol and invites all participants to become aware of the traditional lands they are on if they never have yet.
- Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. It’s the beauty of learning. As an Indigenous educator, I travelled this province north to south, east to west, and have been in over 125 First Nations communities over the years. In every teaching-learning environment I always did the acknowledgement before the instruction began, and half the time I mispronounced names or said the wrong Nation. Participants would correct me (it was embarrassing as hell), I would apologize and thank the person for correcting me and teaching me. And those things you never really forget twice, lol. It’s part of practicing our own professional humility.
- I am an active member, leader, and contributor in my base group, and have been immersed in all base group activities. We meet weekly, and sometimes, biweekly.
- I have been less active in the Discussion Forum’s. Partly because I responded to every video/introduction, and the other base group forums. However, I have continued to be active in professionally and socially in the Coffee Shop Forum. During the pandemic, I think it is extremely important to respond promptly and in kind to Coffee Shop forum posts; I am feeling the isolation of COVID19, and I am sensitive to the fact that others in my cohort live alone and are even more isolated socially.
- I believe that I am a key member of this community in my contributions, and in my support of each individual member and base group of my cohort.
- I am an active and regular reader of the discussion forums. I have been more of a listener in the second part of this course. My classmates have a lot to share.
- I have read every single post in the discussion forum (outside of my own): Len’s post and video on land acknowledgement has had a profound and positive affect on my personal and professional perspective.
- I contributed additional posts in each of the STEEP Model’s categories (outside of my own base group), and in Coffee Shop.
- I respond to each post in my own (and my base group’s) discussion forum in a timely manner.
- I am extremely methodical in my approach to my learning (I need to have resources at my fingertips).
- I purposely did not include any ‘snippets’ of my own contributions in the Canvas forums in this assignment as evidence (I did in ‘Part One’), because they are documented in Canvas. I read or responded to all Canvas posts to date: there are a lot of posts!
- I have a professional blog with sections on dentistry and adult education for myself and for my students. I will be uploading my SFU contributions soon.
- This course has changed me. I am more open-minded, and have learned an immeasurable amount from my entire learning and professional community about their own perspectives.
References List (Resources and Links):
Bretag, R. (2011, May 14). Complacency; A leadership imperative. Education Week. Retrieved from
Contact North. (August 18). Engage your students in your online course: 20 proven ways! Contact North. Retrieved from
Contact North. (2015, July, 3). Video resources for teaching online and at a distance. Contact North. Retrieved from https://teachonline.ca/tools-trends/how-teach-online-student-success/video-resources-teaching-online-and-at-a-distance
Douglass Horsford, S., Scott, J. T., Anderson, G. L. (2018). The politics of education policy in an era of inequality: Possibilities for Democratic schooling. SFU Library Catalogue. Retrieved from
Phillips, D. J. P. (2014, April 14). How to avoid death by PowerPoint. Tedx. Retrieved from
Pierre, L. (2020, June 15). Territory acknowledgement protocol. Fraser Health. Retrieved from
Porter, T., Molina, D. C., Blackwell, L., Roberts, S., Quirk, A., Duckworth, A. L., Trzesniewski, K. (2020). Measuring mastery behaviors at scale: The persistence, effort, resilience and challenge-seeking task (PERC). Journal of Learning Analytics, 7(1), 5–18–5–18. https://doi.org/10.18608/jla.2020.71.2
The Canadian Encyclopedia. (2020). Curriculum Topics. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved from
Tomer, J. F. (2003). Personal capital and emotional intelligence: An increasingly important intangible source of economic growth. Eastern Economic Journal, 29(3), 453-470.