Assessing Student Perceptions of Indigenous Science Co-educators, Interest in STEM, and Identity as a Scientist: A Pilot Study

By Sarah Omar Alkholy, Fidji Gendron, Tanya Dahms and Maria Pontes Ferreira.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: November 5, 2015 $US5.00

There are noted ethnic differences in student receptivity, learning strategies, and performance outcomes in online courses/programs. Minorities in STEM benefit from having cultural mentors and a science identity unconflicted with ethnic identity. Western Science and Indigenous Science (WS and IS) instructors in an online STEM course could provide cultural support/relevance for minority students, and facilitate learning for all students. We assess the relationship of WS and IS educators in a STEM online course with students' science identity, STEM interest, and learning outcomes, and also examine ethnic differences. Student and instructor perceptions of pedagogical approaches are explored. The online STEM course was offered at mainstream and tribal universities in Spring 2013. Pre- and post-course surveys were administered to participating students (White and non-White). Predictor variables are established with regression and group differences determined by ANOVA. Qualitative methodologies elucidate student and instructor perceptions of pedagogy effectiveness. We expect ethnicity, science identity, and STEM interest to predict learning outcomes. We expect WS and IS educators to mediate student learning outcomes and ethnic differences. We expect students and instructors to laud pedagogical integration of WS and IS. These findings can impact science education policy, research, and pedagogy toward increasing minority persistence in STEM, while benefiting all students.

Keywords: Indigenous Science, Western Science, Pedagogy

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 7, Issue 3-4, October 2015, pp.41-51. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: November 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 506.924KB)).

Dr. Sarah Omar Alkholy

Instructor, Umm al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia

Dr. Fidji Gendron

Assistant Professor, Science, The First Nations University of Canada, Regina, SK, Canada

Dr. Tanya Dahms

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Dr. Maria Pontes Ferreira

Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition & Food Science, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA