Can Education Reduce Prejudice? Results of Assessment in Face-to-Face and Online Interdisciplinary Courses in American Indian Studies
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 Courses, American Indian Studies
Assoc. Professor of Business, Department of Business and Economics, University of Wisconsin
Dr. Roger Wall
Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin