For a full week I had the great opportunity to participate in the 2021 MALAT Virtual Symposium where a series of speakers, professionals, academics and future graduates of this program shared their knowledge, experience and views on digital learning environments, networks and communities. As I try to keep an open mind, I constantly ask myself – what have I gotten myself into? – Although I have found the first three weeks of the MALAT program overwhelming, I have also found them rewarding in many ways.
As a landed immigrant, and having lived and worked in two different countries prior to Canada I immediately empathized with Amanda Coolidge’s words “my sense of belonging is really hard to pinpoint and describe” (Acoolidge, 2021, 05:13) and just like that! I was intrigued and wanted to hear more about her life and career journey. Coolidge’s presentation was about Open Education which she describes as “sharing, collaboration and breaking down barriers of accessing Education and knowledge” (Acoolidge, 2021, 08:01). I agreed on her idea of creating a sustainable environment for Education. With an out-of-control pandemic it has become evident that the delivery of Education needs to be more “open”. I was quite pleased with Amanda’s presentation and it was very satisfying to listen to someone as passionate as her about accessibility, affordability, and in providing students with everything they need to be successful (Acoolidge, 2021).
Fulfilled with enthusiasm from Amanda Coolidge’s presentation I decided to join live Earl Inarson’s presentation to learn about his Research Project How can we incorporate Indigenous Worldviews in the creation of online culturally safe learning environments? . I currently live, work and play in the land of Ktunaxa territory and became interested in Earl’s study even more after learning he grew up in Cranbrook and the Kootenay region where coincidentally is where I currently reside. For a couple of years, I worked at one of the most beautiful resorts, golf course and casino which back in the day used to be a residential school; despite its “bad” past it is now one of the most beautiful destinations the East Kootenay region has to offer. While working there, I learned about the Ktunaxa people, their culture and their hard upbringing. I found Earl’s research project to be relevant and informational, and found his personality to be very inspiring. “I want you to know that you can do this!” (Einarson, 2021, 31:46)
In conclusion, I found the 2021 MALAT Virtual Symposium as a great opportunity to see where we as a cohort are at and where we are headed, without losing sight that the journey is what really matters. Learning from others is something I find very valuable. Interacting with experts of the field, soon-to-be graduates and program coordinators has been so far meaningful and encouraging.
Coolidge, A. (2021, April 12). Open education: what it is; what it does and its amazing impact! [Virtual Symposium]. MALAT [Virtual Symposium]. Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC, Canada. https://ca.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback
Einarson, E. (2021, April 12). How can we incorporate Indigenous Worldviews in the creation of online culturally safe learning environments? MALAT [Virtual Symposium]. Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC, Canada. http://bit.ly/EarlMarkVS2021