Master of Education in Curriculum Studies: Outdoor Learning Across the Curriculum

30 credit-hours

Acadia’s new Master of Education in Curriculum Studies: Outdoor Learning Across the Curriculum will provide educators and leaders with the knowledge and skills necessary to take learning outside the classroom across the curriculum.

The focus of this program will be on upskilling teachers to have the skills, knowledges, attributes, and confidence to use outdoor environments as powerful sites for teaching and learning.  The outdoors is conceptualized broadly here to include everyday, local, nearby landscapes (like school grounds, community grounds, and urban settings) as well as more remote, wilderness places.  Outdoor learning can also include local community members, who can become powerful members of the learning community.  Through research-informed, transdisciplinary, and decolonization course frameworks, educators will be prepared to participate in the curriculum-redesigning, instruction, assessment, leadership, and policymaking necessary for learning to happen outside the classroom. This program does not focus on upskilling participants in how to teach technical outdoor skills (such as kayaking, canoeing, rock-climbing), but instead focuses on exploring the pedagogies and practices that best support teaching outside the classroom across a range of curriculum areas.

Teaching and learning in this graduate degree will happen as often as possible in outdoor places deemed best to support the learning outcomes. This will include school grounds, community grounds, field centres, and provincial/national parks.  Participants will also have an opportunity to participate in an extended practicum in Nova Scotia, such as outdoor education centres, provincial/national parks, and guided tour companies. Through a final Capstone Project, program participants will have the opportunity to explore a focus area or passion project in depth that is related to their individual professional goals.

Acadia University’s School of Education will be offering this new program starting in July 2023. This cohort-based program delivery will have an annual enrolment of 20 educators and leaders. There will be in-person residency requirements throughout the program, supplemented with synchronous and asynchronous modalities.

Course facilitation will potentially be an integration of in-person, synchronous and asynchronous modalities. Apart from the two required summer sessions onsite at Acadia, the decision on instructional modalities for the remainder of the program will be made after initial feedback from interested students, with the decision communicated clearly to all.

Foundational areas of focus will include:

  • Outdoor learning curriculum
  • Instructional pedagogies and practices
  • Cross curricular opportunities
  • Wild pedagogies and place based education
  • Safety and risk management and leadership
  • Decolonization and Indigenous Ways of Knowing
  • Experiential learning
  • Health, physical activity, well being and mental health
  • Inclusive education, social justice, and equity
Program Courses and Delivery Modalities

Program Courses - 2023 PT Cohort:

There will be in-person residency requirements throughout the program, supplemented with synchronous and asynchronous modalities.

Summer 2023

EDUC 5633 *

 

Curriculum Foundations *T

  • In-person: July 4-7 (week 1) + July 10-14 (week 2)
  • Graduate students must be available all day; some days will have field trips and therefore might extend to early evening depending on location and activity; possible overnight experience (to be confirmed]; AND;
  • Biweekly synchronous throughout summer (evenings)

Summer 2023

EDUC 5053 *

Topics: Curriculum Practice in Outdoor Learning Contexts *T

  • In-person: July 4-7 (week 1) + July 10-14 (week 2)
  • Graduate students must be available all day; some days will have field trips and therefore might extend to early evening depending on location and activity; possible overnight experience (to be confirmed]; AND;
  • Biweekly synchronous throughout summer (evenings)

Fall 2023

EDUC 5053 *

Topics: Indigenous Education in Outdoor Learning Contexts *T

  • Combination of in-person weekend(s) AND weekly or biweekly synchronous evening classes

Winter 2024

EDUC 5513 *

Research Design in Education *T

  • Weekly synchronous evening classes -3-hr x 12 weeks

Spring 2024

 

 

 

EDUC 5843

EDUC 5113 * OR

EDUC 5523 *

 

Instructional Design

Qualitative Research in Education *T            OR

Quantitative Research in Education *T

  • Combination of in-person weekend(s) AND weekly or biweekly synchronous evening classes

Summer 2024

 

EDUC 5143 *

 

Explorations (Outdoor Education Practicum) *T

  • TBA

Summer 2024

 

EDUC 5053

 

Topics: Leadership in Outdoor Learning Contexts

  • TBA

Fall 2024

 

EDUC 5643 *

 

Major Theoretical Developments in Curriculum Studies *T

  • Combination of in-person weekend(s) AND weekly or biweekly synchronous evening classes

Winter 2025

 

EDUC 5053 *

 

Topics: Assessment in Outdoor Learning Contexts *T

  • Weekly synchronous evening classes -3-hr x 12 weeks

Spring / Summer 2025

 

EDUC 5053  OR

EDUC 5966 *

Topics: Capstone Project OR

Thesis (6 credit hours) *T

  • TBA

NOTE:  Students are responsible for contacting the teacher certification branch to determine if a program and constituent courses meet requirements for upgrades to licenses or new endorsations for a change in job designation. Please also be aware that it is the student's responsibility to monitor their own program and to ensure that will meet degree requirements.


Course Descriptions:

EDUC 5633 - Curriculum Foundations
What are the historical and current curriculum foundations that support outdoor learning?
This course is designed to examine the history and nature of curriculum and the basic principles of the curriculum making process in the context of outdoor learning.  In this course, curriculum as a field and as a practice is examined through foundational theoretical models. Recent innovations in outdoor learning serve as reference points through this course.

EDUC 5053 - Topics in Education: Curriculum Practice in Outdoor Learning Contexts
How do we apply the theoretical concepts from the previous course in our professional contexts?

This course highlights planning based on Curriculum Foundation as it relates to integration of subjects in authentic experiences in the outdoor learning context.

EDUC 5513 - Research Design in Education
How can we develop a critical research orientation to the scholarship of learning in outdoor contexts?
Course content encourages participants to develop a critical research orientation to their professional work while acquiring a facility for designing projects and analyzing current scholarship in outdoor learning.  For those students who wish to extend their research experience and to undertake an MEd thesis, the course will introduce both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

EDUC 5053 - Topics in Education: Indigenous Education
How do indigenous ways of knowing influence teaching and learning in outdoor settings?

This course will examine the historical and colonial history as a framework for understanding Indigenous views and value for outdoor learning. Students will explore the ways in which outdoor learning sites can be used to support Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and learning.

EDUC 5843 - Instructional Design
How do we situate the promise of outdoor learning in principles of effective  instructional design?

This course investigates current and emergent developments in instructional design pertinent to educators who want to teach outside the classroom. A major focus is the application of models to specific curricular areas in elementary and/or secondary schools as applied in outdoor contexts.

EDUC 5143 - Educational Explorations (Outdoor Education Practicum)
How can an extended outdoor journey support cross curricular learning?

This course will be offered through an extended practicum using local outdoor classrooms in Nova Scotia for teaching and learning, such as outdoor education centres (e.g., Morton Centre, Heckman’s Island; Bon Portage Island; Tancook Islands), provincial parks (e.g., Cape Chignecto) and national parks (e.g., Kejimkujik), guided outfitting companies (e.g., sea kayak touring companies).  Participants will explore cross curricular teaching opportunities that emerge when learning happens through journeying in community in remote settings. Details to be finalized based on cohort make up. Participants will be required to pay ancillary fees to cover the practicum costs but will only be charged the EDUC 5143 fee of $200 for the course itself.

EDUC 5053 - Topics in Education: Leadership in Outdoor Learning Contexts
How do educators manage and lead in outdoor learning contexts?
Learning in the outdoors has the potential to offer an inclusive environment for a broader range of learners. It does however presume careful planning, organizational skills and leadership strategies. This course will focus on both forming equitable learning settings as well as promoting efficient leadership skills.

EDUC 5643 - Major Theoretical Developments in Curriculum Studies
What are the current and emerging curriculum developments in outdoor learning?

This course focuses on current and emerging issues in the field of curriculum studies as they pertain to outdoor learning. Students are invited to critically examine the impact of emerging theories that influences curriculum development in schools, with a particular focus on outdoor contexts for curriculum delivery.

EDUC 5053 - Topics in Education: Assessment in Outdoor Learning Contexts
How do I assess student outcomes in outdoor contexts?

The course will focus on a range of formative and summative assessment techniques best suited for tracking student progress in authentic outdoor learning spaces.

EDUC 5053 Topics in Education: Capstone Project
How can I combine all my learning in this degree to conduct a research-informed project?

This culminating capstone course is intended to bring together theory and practice covered across this degree.  Participants will be guided through collaboration and mentorship to complete a research informed action-research project relevant to their current interests, strengths, contexts, and professional practice in the area of outdoor learning.


FOR THESIS STUDENTS

EDUC 5113 Qualitative Research in Education
How can we prepare formally for outdoor education research?
This course will examine the traditions and paradigms of interpretive research in educational contexts. Practical, ethical, and theoretical issues will be shared through class readings, discussion, and practical application. Opportunities are provided for students to learn and practice a variety of interpretive research methods and strategies.

EDUC 5523 Quantitative Research in Education
How can we prepare formally for outdoor education research?

This course provides a background for the educator who must use statistics in research, evaluation, and planning. In this course, the fundamental statistical tools are reviewed and statistical methods applicable to educational problems are introduced.

Applications and Fees

Applications:

Close: January 31st, 2023

Applications consist of the following components:

https://www2.acadiau.ca/admissions/graduate-application.html

  • Application (online)
  • Letter of Intent (uploaded)
  • Resume (uploaded)
  • Two Reference Letters (one academic, one professional)
  • Official Transcripts (for all post-secondary studies; mailed)

Instructions for Letter of Intent for MEd-Curriculum: Outdoor Learning Across the Curriculum:

In addition to the general application procedures for graduate studies, the “letter of intent” is an important artefact that helps the reviewers of applications know and understand you, your background, your intentions, and your interest/motivation in this program.  It often helps reviewers differentiate among applications; they are especially important when there is tremendous demand for a program.

Please use the following prompts and questions to guide your letter of intent.  Please keep your letter of intent to a maximum of two pages.  You do not need to speak to each point; rather we suggest you write to the points that will be most helpful allowing us insight into your background, passions, curiosities, etc.

  • Describe your personal and professional experiences that position you to join this cohort with a focus on outdoor learning across the curriculum.
  • What recent community employment or education experiences demonstrate your commitment to outdoor learning across the curriculum in a range of contexts?
  • What do you hope to learn through your participation in this graduate program?
  • Cohort Graduate study in the area of Outdoor Learning Across the Curriculum is constructively challenging in both its content and learning process. In terms of your own professional growth: why this program and why now?

Info Session (Zoom Recording) from Oct 12, 2022:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/eJyfmE_0OV8hrPZ2j8EhUMUfo-yI8QDEKvWwdA1cNWY-5RKRzfh4oG3hHuZZzY2b._kIHUsEBbsDN0SHJ?startTime=1665601249000

Passcode: ?7MLKw*Z

 

Mailing Address:

Acadia University, Graduate Studies

18 University Ave, 214 Horton Hall, Box 70, Wolfville, NS, B4P 2R6

 

Fees:

  • Graduate application fee: $50.00
  • 30 credit-hour program at $1,237.50 per 3 credit-hours (subject to change)
  • EDUC 5143 ($200 for Acadia course plus fees and other costs for journey plus travel and equipment)
  • Ancillary fees will apply to some courses

Please visit our Graduate Admissions page to learn more about entry requirements.

If you have any questions about the application process for a graduate education program at Acadia, please contact our Graduate Studies Office, by emailing gradadmissions@acadiau.ca

NOTE:  Students are responsible for contacting the teacher certification branch to determine if a program and constituent courses meet requirements for upgrades to licenses or new endorsations for a change in job designation.

Contact Us
School of Education School of Education Open Acadia
Dr. Gregory MacKinnon Brenda Harris John Christopher
Graduate Coordinator
School of Education
Acadia University
Wolfville, NS, B4P 2R6
Graduate Education Course Manager
School of Education
Acadia University
Wolfville, NS, B4P 2R6
Manager, Credit Programs
Open Acadia
Acadia University
Wolfville, NS, B4P 2R6
graded@acadiau.ca   gradinfo@acadiau.ca

 


All students in the cohort must meet the academic requirements for admission to graduate studies in the School of Education at Acadia University. Please be aware that it is your responsibility to monitor your own program and to ensure that you have met degree requirements.