Biidaaban Community Service-Learning (BCSL) - Faculty

Enji giigdoyang, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (OII), offers Faculty a number of administrative and logistical supports for the creation and delivery of experiential learning opportunities for their students via the Biidaaban Community Service-Learning program.

What is Biidaaban Community Service-Learning (BCSL)?

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 is a form of experiential learning where students support community groups by attending a placement and integrate course teachings. Students are subsequently required to produce a reflective assignment.

Why incorporate BCSL into my course?

  • Brings a variety of real experiences into the classroom
  • Students are more engaged in class
  • Pedagogy proven to enhance student experience and further learning
  • Creates partnerships with community organizations
  • Ownership of learning lies with student
  • Students gain perspective
  • Projects support local community
  • Students integrate classroom theory and experience
  • Creates a dynamic learning environment 
  • Opportunity for meaningful reflection 

How do I get started?

  • Contact Christine Benoit, Biidaaban Community Service-Learning Officer, christb@nipisingu.ca / 705-474-3450 ext. 4586, or visit F215-D.
  • Add a BCSL component to your syllabus
  • Create a corresponding reflective assignment
  • Assign a corresponding grade

*If students are required to do anywhere from 10 and 40 hours of community placement/volunteering, they must attend MANDATORY training: the Biidaaban Volunteer Training Day.

Creating a BCSL experience

BCSL activities must address a specific community need. For example: housing, food security, health, advocacy, education, etc. 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 students?
  • What process will I require from my students to integrate placements? (interviews, training, etc.)
  • How many hours should I assign to this activity, 10, 20, 40?
  • 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?

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

Include the BCSL activity, as well as corresponding reflective assignment, and grade, in your course syllabus. *If students are required to do anywhere from 10 to 40 hours of placement/volunteering, be sure to also add the MANDATORY Biidaaban Volunteer Training Day (September 28th, 2019) to your syllabus.

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

The BCSL Officer is available to do an in-class presentation to introduce BCSL in the beginning of the term. They are also available to meet with you for planning and brainstorming. 

BCSL supports for Faculty

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

  • Reviewing proposed BCSL projects 
  • Finding placement/volunteer opportunities for students
  • Liaising with community partners
  • Registering your students' BCSL volunteer activities in the Record of Student Development (RSD) database
  • Ensuring students get their Police Vulnerable Sector Checks (PVSC), keeping track of them, and informing students of what community organisations require
  • 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
  • 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

Training

A number of training opportunities, which pertain to the BCSL experience at hand, are offered to participating students and faculty. They are either subsidised or offered free of charge. Examples include First Aid and CPR training, ASIST training, StraightTalk, SafeTalk, Tattered Teddies, Mental Health First Aid, and more.

Faculty and students may suggest other training. Each requests must be submitted for approval by the Biidaaban Community Service-Learning Officer. 

Reminder: Students participating in 10-40 hour BCSL activities must attend the MANDATORY Biidaaban Volunteer Training Day on Saturday, September 28th, 2019, from 9am to 4pm. This training opportunity MUST also appear in the course syllabus.  

Funding

In some instances, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives can cover costs associated with BCSL activities. For example: printing costs for teaching tools which would return to community, travel expenses for a classroom's field trip into community, materials for the creation of artwork in support of community, etc. Priority and consideration go to proposals where the BCSL project outcomes give back directly to community.

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

BCSL supports for students

Recognition

Students receive a Biidaaban Certificate of Participation, acknowledging their involvement in BCSL activities which support local community.

These activities are also added and recognised in the Record of Student Development (RSD) list of opportunities. Students can request to have this experience shown on their RSD.

Training

A number of training opportunities, which pertain to the BCSL experience at hand, are offered to participating students and faculty. They are either subsidised or offered free of charge. Examples include First Aid and CPR training, ASIST training, StraightTalk, SafeTalk, Tattered Teddies, Mental Health First Aid, and more.

Faculty and students may suggest other training. Each requests must be submitted for approval by the Biidaaban Community Service-Learning Officer. 

Students participating in 10-40 hour BCSL activities must attend the MANDATORY Biidaaban Volunteer Training Day on Saturday, September 28th, 2019, from 9am to 4pm. This training opportunity MUST also appear in the course syllabus.    

What types of volunteer activities can students do while on BCSL 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
  • 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 
  • Etc.

Connecting course content to community experiences

This can occur through in-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 BCSL 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. 

Use lived experience as the starting point for reflection.

BCSL activities must be in alignment with the community partner's mandate, goals and objectives. It must enhance their capacity to do their work. 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 find out who currently has a need for student support. Community partners supported by Biidaaban Community Service-Learning cater to local Indigenous community, either directly or indirectly. 

Contact Christine Benoit the Biidaaban Community Service-Leanring Officer to submit your idea, or to learn more. 

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 Biidaaban 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 the 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 BCSL team and should be signed by a placement supervisor to confirm attendance.

Contact us for more information:

Christine Benoit

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

April Gardiner

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