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Indigenous Education

Social Change Makers: New Free Online Course Dives into Social Innovation

July 2, 2020

This July, Red River College’s School of Indigenous Education is launching a free online course all about creating social change.

“At RRC, we’re committed to advancing Indigenous achievement. One facet of this strategy is developing the learning opportunities Indigenous students desire and by creating the environment students need to succeed,” says Isabel Bright, Dean, School of Indigenous Education. “We are constantly trying to adapt, and this course provides a unique opportunity for remote learners in this new digital age. With this course being online, it really opens it up to potential students across the province. Social Innovation is a relatively new concept in post-secondary, so this is a great way for people to get an-depth understanding of this sector and see if it’s something they would like to pursue in a full-time program.”

Social Innovation Foundations runs July 20 to August 14, 2020, and does not have a set schedule, so students can log in when it works for them. The intensive 15 hours per week course can also be applied towards the Social Innovation and Community Development diploma program.

“During the pandemic, we have seen our Social Innovation and Community Development students take these new skills into their home communities to lead, organize and support the people in their communities. With this type of training, we’re really going to see an emergence of recent graduates become the change makers we need in our society,” continues Bright.

Social innovators explore social opportunities and use creativity to turn these opportunities into reality. Students will explore how new ideas are created, developed, and applied to promote change that can affect the world for the better. This course introduces students to social ideas in action, but also to the leaders impacting the social innovation sector.

Through activity-based projects, reading, videos, dialogue and discussion boards, students will look at social inequities, global issues, sustainability, and defining social problems.

“A big theme throughout the course is creativity. How do we creatively come up with solutions to common problems? We are going to be really digging into what research has been done into a specific challenge and discussing what has been tried before; has it worked? Has it not worked? What have we seen in our own communities that has worked really well,” says Instructor Mike Tutthill.

“When we talk about Social Innovation, we often talk about it being the forefront of Community Development. It’s the intersection of some of the principals we use in business and community development and really merging those two things together to get the best bang for our buck in terms of community investments so we’re doing programs that work.”

Tutthill says he hopes students to bring their own perspectives, issues that are important to them, and their lived experience to the classroom as well.

“There will be lots of chances to communicate together online. We’ll be sharing some of the challenges different communities are having and some of the great things they are seeing. Who are the people doing amazing things in their communities locally, nationally, and globally. Maybe it’s someone’s kokum.”

Tutthill says this course is for anyone who is interested in creating change. “Whether you want to create change from being an activist, running for office, working at your local community health centre doing programming, starting a business or maybe you’re interested in working with a group of people in your community to start a co-op.”

Although students registering are not required to be Indigenous, the course is offered through the School of Indigenous Education and there will be a focus on Indigenous innovators, issues, communities and Truth and Reconciliation.

“No matter who enters this program, we always hope that people will go out into the world and be able to think about how they will bring Indigenous ways of knowing into the decisions they are making and the programs they are doing.”

For more information, visit rrc.ca/indigenous/social-innovation-foundations

Limited space available.