Biidaaban Community Service-Learning (BCSL)

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In response to the ongoing pandemic, Nipissing University will continue to offer courses online and virtually for the Fall 2020 term. Our team is working with community partners and faculty to develop virtual and project-based Community Service-Learning activities, in substitution for in-person placements. At the present time, and until further notice, no in-person placements will be considered for Community Service-Learning. Please stay tuned for further updates. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Christine Benoit at (705) 358-1172 or at christb@nipissingu.ca

For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit our Nipissing University Updates on Coronavirus webpage

Biidaaban Community Service-Learning (BCSL) symbolizes the beginning of new partnerships designed to enhance the lives of students and communities.

Pronounced bee-daw-bun, Biidaaban is an Anishinaabe term, meaning: ‘the point at which the light touches the earth at the break of dawn.’

Community Service-Learning (CSL) is a form of Experiential Learning that addresses community needs. Faculty incorporate CSL opportunities in their course content for students to support community organisations in many ways. This interactive, reciprocal and community-engaged approach to education is followed by meaningful reflection to help consolidate notions learned in class and in community.

A reciprocal relationship between faculty, community partners and students is central to CSL. Keep reading to learn more about how our office can support everyone in the CSL process.

    Community Service-Learning Reciprocal Relationships Diagram

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    Creating a CSL experience

    CSL activities address specific community needs. For example: housing, food security, health, advocacy, education, etc. They align with community partner mandates, goals and objectives, and enhance. 

    To help build your CSL activity, ask yourself the following questions:

    • What are the goals and learning outcomes of my course?
    • Where, or how, could my students gain a greater understanding of these notions outside of the classroom?
    • What type of experiential learning do I want for my students?  
    • Which community partner(s) could be a good fit for my course?
    • How does this relate to the organisation's mandate?
    • What process will I require from my students to integrate placements? (interviews, training, etc.)
    • How many hours should I assign to this activity, 10 hours, 20 hours, 40 hours?
    • How will I assess student learning?
    • How will I connect their experiences to classroom theory? 
    • How do I want students recording or sharing their experiences?
    • How will this add to my course?
    • How will this benefit my students, community partner(s), Indigenous community, myself?
    • What reflective assignment will follow the experience?

    Once your activity has been developed, include the following in your syllabus:

    • CSL activity (marketing products, research, communication plan, outreach strategy, translation, fund raising ideas, etc.)
    • Name of community partner 
    • Corresponding reflective assignment (journal, year end presentation, essay, in-class discussion, etc.)
    • Grade (20 hours for 20%, 10 hours minimum for 5%, 40 hours for 60%, etc.)
    • Biidaaban Learning Series: BCSL offers a series of training workshops free of charge for students entering CSL placements at Nipissing University in FA/WI 20/21. The series of workshops will take place throughout the last week of September 2020 and include micro-aggression and anti-racism workshops, understanding non-profits 101, mental health first aid, suicide prevention workshops, first aid offered at a lower rate, and more.  
    • Timeline (due dates, deliverables, etc.)
    • Roles and responsibilities (Faculty, student or student team lead, community partner, CSL Officer, etc.)

    CSL can be an optional, or mandatory assignment for your students.

    The CSL Officer is available to meet with you for planning and brainstorming. We are also available to do in-class presentations to introduce CSL at the start of the term.

    Why incorporate CSL into my course?

    • Integrates student experiences into the classroom
    • Supports community
    • Creates connections between community partners, faculty and students
    • Students gain work experience
    • Students are more engaged in class
    • Pedagogy proven to enhance student experience and further learning
    • Ownership of learning lies with student
    • Students gain perspective
    • Students integrate classroom theory and experience
    • Creates a dynamic learning environment 
    • Opportunity for meaningful reflection 

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    Enji giigdoyang, the Office of indigenous Initiatives (OII), offers Faculty a number of administrative and logistical supports for the creation and delivery of a CSL experiential learning opportunity in the following ways:

    • Finding placement/volunteer opportunities for students
    • Liaising with community partners
    • Registering your students' CSL volunteer activities in the Record of Student Development (RSD) database
    • Ensuring students get their Police Vulnerable Sector Checks (PVSC), keeping track of them
    • Providing students with agreement forms to bring to their placement
    • Providing students with time sheets
    • Checking in with community partner to see how things are going
    • Aiding with travel plans, itineraries, and bookings (ex.: booking bus to Dokis First Nation) 
    • Getting students to complete online Health and Safety training
    • Room bookings
    • Smudge requests
    • Printing
    • In-class presentations
    • Conducting student interviews
    • Conducting student surveys
    • Attending in-class discussions and year end project presentations
    • Providing feedback

    Funding

    The Office of Indigenous Initiatives may be able to cover costs associated with CSL activities. Expenses include printing, travel, guest speakers, and materials. Priority and consideration will be granted to proposals where CSL project outcomes give back directly to community.

    Contact Christine Benoit at 474-3450 ext. 4586, chirstb@nipissingu.ca for more information.

     

     

    Training

    A number of training opportunities, which pertain to the CSL experience at hand, are offered exclusively to participating students and faculty. They are either subsidized or offered free of charge.

    Training may include:

    - Mental Health First Aid

    - First Aid and CPR training

    - Suicide prevention training (ASIST, SafeTalk, Tattered Teddies, Straight Talk)

    - Learning circles with Elders and Indigenous knowledge holders

    - Micro-aggression workshops

    - KAIROS' Blanket exercise

    - Anti-racism workshops

    - Tutoring workshops

    - Building rapport with youth workshops

    - Understanding non-profit organisations

    And more. 

    Faculty and students may suggest other training. Each requests must be submitted for approval by the Community Service-Learning Officer: christb@nipissingu.ca

    Certification

    Biidaaban Certificate of participation: Students who completed CSL projects or placements receive a certificate acknowledging their work in support of local community.

    Record of Student Development (RSD): These activities can also be added to your Record of Student Development.

    Some workshops provide their own certification, such as First Aid and CPR, ASIST, Mental Health First Aid, etc. 

    What types of volunteer activities can students do while on CSL placement?

    Students put theory into practice to gain a greater understanding of Indigenous community and the specific needs it presents by:  

    • Assisting with programming, projects or events
    • Creating meaningful programming to support clients and community
    • Managing social media and other communications
    • Attending community meetings/events, board meetings, volunteer meetings, etc. 
    • Researching grants and writing proposals
    • Assisting with fundraising 
    • Creating and updating print materials
    • Creating resources for community partners and the people they support
    • Updating websites 
    • Hands-on service delivery
    • Participating in outreach and public education 
    • Advocacy work
    • Etc.

    Connecting course content to community experiences

    This can occur through class discussion, sharing circles, check-ins, weekly journaling, blogging, or other methods of sharing.

    Faculty are responsible for initiating regular and ongoing discussion about student experiences to deduct meaning, relating it to course content. 

    The CSL experience allows students to connect classroom teachings to what they learn in community. Consider asking why they think certain things might be happening: social issues, lack of human resources, funding, need for volunteers, etc. using lived experience as the starting point for reflection.

    CSL activities must be in alignment with the community partner's mandate, goals and objectives. It must enhance their capacity. Think of your intentions for student learning. What are the goals of your course and how do they relate to the organisation's mandate?

    Community partners

    You may already have a community partner in mind, or you may want to connect with partners who are familiar with this program, having hosted students in the past.

    BCSL would like to thank the following North Bay, Nipissing First Nation, Dokis First Nation, Temagami First Nation, and surrounding area partners for supporting and providing Community Service-Learning opportunities to Nipissing University students:

    Reflective assignments

    Reflection is key to Community Service-Learning. Types of reflective assignments include: 

    • In-class discussion, discussion groups or debriefing
    • Journals
    • Essays
    • Collaborative projects
    • Oral presentations  
    • Portfolio
    • Group journal
    • Letter to self
    • Reflective interview
    • Artistic reflection
    • Etc.

    Student assessment

    Grades are associated at your discretion. They can be tied to placement attendance, participation in group discussion, reflective assignments, and more. Remember, you are grading the reflection and learning that comes from placement experience, not the placement itself.

    Student learning is a combination of notions explored in community and in class. Reflective assignments and responses allow students to integrate knowledge and illustrate learning. 

    Attendance: Students may be required to complete a certain amount of hours (10, 20, 40, etc.). A time sheet helps them keep track of hours. This time sheet can be provided by the CSL team and should be signed by a placement supervisor to confirm attendance.

    In what ways can a student support my organisation? 

    Students can support in a number of areas, and a number of ways.

    They bring knowledge and skills learned in university courses to organizations, increasing their capacity to meet community needs. Here are some possible areas of support:

     

    Communications

    Fundraising

    Assisting with programming 

    Social media planning and engagement

    Data entry

    Grant proposal writing

    Website maintenance

    Grant research and writing

    Event planning and logistics

    Creating and updating print materials

    Research

    Advocacy 

    Administrative support

    Technical support Online tutoring
    Outreach Create new digital platform Online marketing research
    Multimedia content creation Planning Creative services

     

    Students can support organisations in the following ways

    Virtual CSL placements (using Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams. etc.):

    • Attending staff or board meetings
    • Tutoring
    • Presenting research findings to organisation
    • Tech support
    • Palliative visits
    • Hosting a Facebook live event
    • Sharing Circles
    • Etc.

    Project-based CSL. Students complete projects submitted by community organisations during class time, either with the entire class, in small groups or individually.

    • Developing marketing tools 
    • Creating social media content
    • Developing community outreach strategies
    • Drafting and conducting surveys
    • Research
    • Etc.

    How do I submit a project or virtual placement opportunity?

    To submit an opportunity or if you have any questions, contact Christine Benoit at 705-474-3450 ext. 4586 or email christb@nipissingu.ca.

    Timeline

    10 to 20 hours from September to November 2020 and/or 10 to 20 hours from January to March 2021.

    We develop a schedule that works for all parties, including students, faculty and community partners.

    On average, students can provide approximately 1-4 hours of service per week, either through virtual placement, by spending time in class working on a project for the organisation, or often a combination of both. 

    Need a student for a single event?

    Submit event details to Christine Benoit at 705-474-3450 ext. 4586 or email christb@nipissingu.ca. We will attempt to find a student who meets your requirements. 

     

     

    Community Partners

    Training

    A number of training opportunities, which pertain to the CSL experience at hand, are offered exclusively to participating students and faculty. They are either subsidized or offered free of charge.

    Training may include:

    - Mental Health First Aid

    - First Aid and CPR training

    - Suicide prevention training (ASIST, SafeTalk, Tattered Teddies, Straight Talk)

    - Learning circles with Elders and Indigenous knowledge holders

    - Micro-aggression workshops

    - KAIROS' Blanket exercise

    - Anti-racism workshops

    - Tutoring workshops

    - Building rapport with youth workshops

    - Understanding non-profit organisations

    And more. 

    Faculty and students may suggest other training. Each requests must be submitted for approval by the Community Service-Learning Officer: christb@nipissingu.ca

    Certification

    - Biidaaban Certificate of participation: Students who completed CSL projects or placements receive a certificate acknowledging their work in support of local community.

    - Record of Student Development (RSD): These activities can also be added to your Record of Student Development.

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    Common concerns about remote or virtual CSL experiences

    "Will my virtual CSL experience be as valuable as an in-person one?"

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    Since many students have had limited access to work since the start of the pandemic, a virtual placement or CSL project is as close as students can get to hands on, real-life experience. This experience could land you a new reference, a community connection, new perspectives. CSL allows students to gain access and insights into organisations like no other. 

    Additionally, many organisations have satellite offices, partners in other cities, clients in other territories and countries. Learning to work and connect with people from a distance will prepare you for a future career.

    "I was hoping to network with partners but am now unsure of how to build those relationships."

    A huge part of the CSL experience is building relationships and networking with supervisors, colleagues, volunteers and clients. There will be opportunities to connect with folks via virtual team meetings, email, phone, and through your work. Positive interactions, be they virtual or in-person, do not go unnoticed. If you participate and contribute ideas, knowledge and positive energy to the CSL project, your investment will pay off. Think about ways that you can use networks like Zoom to help build relationships

    "Without in person supervision, how will I know what is expected of me?" 

    The CSL project will be planned and reviewed ahead of time, and be presented to you in class, prior to starting your virtual placement, or CSL project. A timeline, list of roles and responsibilities, agreement forms, training, and a student handbook will also be provided. Setting clear expectations is the responsibility of the community partner and faculty. If something is not clear, it is your responsibility to ask for clarification. If you do have questions, ask yourself if you know how to reach out to your community partner representative, team members, classmates, and teacher?   

    Managing change 

    Change can be stressful. Self-care, communication and flexibility will be your best assets. Every effort will be made by the BCSL team, your teacher and community organisations to inform you of any possible changes and next steps as far ahead of time as possible. A lot of students have lost jobs, and opportunities in the future seem increasingly uncertain. Your supportive role, working collaboratively and productively on projects that aid community as a whole, is valuable. Always remember that you are not alone. 

    Questions about your placement

    Still have questions about your placement? We are happy to help! Contact us:

    Christine Benoit

    Community Service-Learning Officer
    Enji giigdoyang, Office of Indigenous Initiatives
    Nipissing University
    F215-D
    (705) 474-3450 Ext. 4586
    christb@nipissingu.ca

    Carrie Demers

    Student Placement Coordinator
    Enji giigdoyang, Office of Indigenous Initiatives
    Nipissing University
    F215-C
    (705) 474-3450 Ext. 4684
    carriede@nipissingu.ca

    Contact us:

    Christine Benoit

    Community Service-Learning Officer
    Enji giigdoyang, Office of Indigenous Initiatives
    Nipissing University
    F215-D
    (705) 474-3450 Ext. 4586
    christb@nipissingu.ca

    Carrie Demers

    Student Placement Coordinator
    Enji giigdoyang, Office of Indigenous Initiatives
    Nipissing University
    F215-C
    (705) 474-3450 Ext. 4684
    carriede@nipissingu.ca

    Biidaaban works in alignment with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, North Bay’s Urban Aboriginal Strategy, and the Office of Indigenous Initiative’s Strategic Plan to support local Indigenous community in meaningful ways.