Can Education Reduce Prejudice? Results of Assessment in Face-to-Face and Online Interdisciplinary Courses in American Indian Studies

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Prior to the development of an American Indian Studies Program in the University of Wisconsin Colleges, four instructors at the University of Wisconsin - Fond du Lac campus linked their individual courses in Sociology, Political Science, History, and Business using a common case study on the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. Students, as well as the instructors, worked together face-to-face in interdisciplinary teams. A survey was used to assess student attitude both pre- and post-course. The results indicated that students left the course with a more positive and contemporary impression of American Indian Nations. Later, a new course, Introduction to American Indian Studies, was developed as part of the American Indian Studies Program by faculty and staff from Anthropology, Sociology, Business, Political Science, History, Geography, and Media Services. The course was taught online, with students participating in online discussion groups. A similar survey was used pre- and post-course to assess how student attitude changed. The results, that students also leave with a more positive and contemporary impression of American Indian Nations is encouraging. Instructors consider the specific aspects of an online course that contribute to positive change in student attitude. These include the interdisciplinary course structure, the design of student discussions, and the enhanced opportunity for student-instructor dialogue.


Keywords: Interdisciplinary Teams, Student Attitude Change, Online Course, American Indian Studies
Stream: First Nations, Indigenous Peoples
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Carolyn Polodna

Assoc. Professor of Business, Department of Business and Economics, University of Wisconsin
Fond du Lac, WI, USA

A graduate of University of Wisconsin - Whitewater with M.S. Accounting, a Certified Public Accountant, and an instructor for many years in the areas of general business, and of financial and managerial accounting. A classroom innovator integrating cooperative learning, active learning, and total quality learning into classroom methodology. Contributing member of interdisciplinary instructional teams developing and teaching courses in American Indian Studies, both face-to-face and online. Co-developer and instructor of a course in Multicultural Business.

Dr. Roger Wall

Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin
Fond du Lac, WI, USA

Ph.D. in International Politics/Political Science from the University of Stockholm, Sweden. Teaching and research in the fields of International and Comparative Politics and American government. Developer and instructor of a course in Politics of Minorities. Member of several interdisciplinary teams developing and teaching both face-to-face and online courses in American Indian Studies.

Ref: D08P0080