In #SAcdn, Articles

by Patty Hambler, Director, Health Promotion & Education, Student Development & Services, The University of British Columbia

In Student Affairs, conference attendance often becomes synonymous with professional development. Networking with your peers from across the country at CACUSS, or across North America at NASPA or ACUHO-I can be a great learning opportunity. However, travelling for PD is not always feasible or practical. Budget constraints, family commitments, and scheduling conflicts can restrict your ability to attend conferences regularly.

Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, I believe that conference learning can’t meet all of your PD needs. Attending conferences tends to be great for being introduced to new concepts or approaches in your field and for reinvigorating your passion for your work. Learning and practicing new skills or deeply engaging in an exploration of a specific topic may require a different type of learning than can occur in the conference setting.

Other than conferences, local and regional gatherings, extended learning courses at your home institution, or even pursuing a Master’s Degree or PhD are potential options, depending on your learning goals, amount of time (and energy), and your PD budget. Online learning, and in particular, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are a particularly budget-friendly option that offer additional benefits such as flexibility and access to experts from across the country (or the world).

Here are some MOOC and online learning options you might consider as part of your PD plan:

Course Title & Description Related CACUSS CompetenciesRegistration Details
Reconciliation through Indigenous Education (MOOC)
This course will help you envision how Indigenous histories, perspectives, worldviews, and approaches to learning can be made part of the work we do in classrooms, organizations, communities, and our everyday experiences in ways that are thoughtful and respectful. In this course, reconciliation emphasizes changing institutional structures, practices, and policies, as well as personal and professional ideologies to create environments that are committed to strengthening our relationships with Indigenous peoples.
Indigenous cultural awarenessCost: Free; option to pay $50 USD for a verified certificate
Next Offering: April 1, 2019
Length: 6 weeks
Platform: EdX
Find out more
Gender and Sexuality: Applications in Society (MOOC)
Navigating through the complexities of Gender & Sexuality is a necessity in our world, now more than ever. Engage with globally renowned scholars from top Canadian universities to learn concepts and practices that advance respect and human rights. This course will teach you to better understand and apply knowledge about gender and sexuality -- a critical first step in addressing social, economic and cultural inequalities.
Equity, diversity and inclusionCost: Free; option to pay $50 for a verified certificate
Next Offering: TBA (you can view the archived course)
Length: 6 weeks
Platform: EdX
Find out more
University of Manitoba Certificate in University and College Administration (Online certificate program)
The CUCA program aims to:
Provide an understanding of university and college cultures and governance
Provide a background so that participants can function as part of the academic/administrative team
Provide an understanding of student roles, needs and accessibility issues
Emphasize the role of accurate and concise communication skills for administrators provide an understanding of some of the group dynamics of the workplace
Core Courses are most closely related to the Post-secondary acumen competency; electives cover a wide range of topics including advising, writing, leadership and strategic planning.Cost: $560 per course
Next Offering: Ongoing
Length: 25 hours per course; 8 courses (200 hours) to complete the entire certificate
Platform: UM Learn - University of Manitoba's Learning Management System
Find out more
Applying and Leading Assessment in Student Affairs (MOOC)
This course explores core concepts of assessment coordination, providing resources and consideration in your Student Affairs practice. The curriculum provides participants the opportunity to:
• Review concepts that contribute to sound, sustainable assessment practice.
• Explore the development of foundational assessment components including planning, articulating goals and outcomes, and providing feedback.
• Identify strategies for guiding assessment efforts across multiple functional areas and teams.
• Discover ways to translate data to a story of student success with a plan for action.
Strategic planning, research and assessmentCost: Free
Next Offering: TBA
Length: 8 weeks
Platform: Canvas
Find out more
San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety Training – Core ICS (online course)
This program is designed to enhance self-awareness, and strengthen the skills of those who work both directly and indirectly with Indigenous people. The goal of the Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) training is to develop understanding and promote positive partnerships between service providers and Indigenous people. The course participants examine culture, stereotyping, and the consequences and legacies of colonization. Participants will learn about terminology; diversity; aspects of colonial history such as Indian residential schools and Indian Hospitals and a time line of historical events.
Indigenous cultural awareness

Core ICS is intended for non-health professionals, including those in the education field. There are also accredited courses for those who work in health and mental health.
Cost: $300 for Core ICS
Next Offering: Ongoing
Length: 6 weeks
Platform: Custom
Find out more

This is only a sampling of online courses and MOOCs that may be of interest to Student Affairs professionals in Canada. If you know of others, please share them in the comments!

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment