Four COPLAC campuses, with generous support from the Teagle Foundation, have partnered to expand the range of curricular offerings and explore the educational value of sharing online and hybrid courses in the area of Native American Studies.
The shared courses in Native American Studies come from a variety of academic departments and programs. The participating institutions have built a multi-campus community of faculty expertise and practice, developing and sharing courses that expand curricular options on each campus, and offering students the opportunity to study under faculty experts in Native American Studies from other COPLAC campuses.
In addition to the online course component, enrolled students on each of the four campuses are mentored by home campus faculty members. This combination of online instruction and "on the ground" face-to-face advisement constitutes the unique hybrid nature of the course experience.
Students are invited to contact their faculty advisors in Native American Studies to learn more about the distance courses scheduled for spring and summer 2018.
Indigenous Thought and Knowledge
This course introduces the student to both historical and contemporary forms of indigenous thought in North America. In particular, we will focus on the issues of “knowing differently” and of what indigenous thinkers call “the spiritual dimension” of their thought. Thoughtful reflection about knowledge and reality is common to all cultures. However, indigenous thought is no more homogeneous than other cultures; each engages in these reflections with different interests and a different set of assumptions about how to approach this material and what sorts of questions to ask. Likewise, the students in this course come from a variety of backgrounds and majors that reflect these differences. One of the goals of the course is to create a space for “inter-philosophy” dialogue: to allow people with different philosophies and worldviews to talk to each other. A related goal is to provide students an opportunity to engage with “word warriors”, those aboriginal people who “do the intellectual work of protecting and empowering indigenous ways of knowing” (Dale Turner, 2006) and “Socratic settlers”, those non-aboriginal people who practice “persistent dialogue” (John Ralston Saul, 1997). No specialized philosophical background is presupposed. So, students are asked and expected to listen thoughtfully to others with different perspectives, interests, and approaches while at the same time be prepared to share and discuss their own.