Berger Inquiry Interactive Media site

TitleBerger Inquiry Interactive Media site
Faculty/College/UnitAllard School of Law
Duration1 Year
Project Summary

A number of UBC Faculties offer courses dealing with environmental issues, Aboriginal rights and northern development. The Berger Inquiry is an important case study that allows us to understand how these issues interconnect. This project aimed at creating a unique 5-part overview lecture series, as well as an integrated “kit” of interactive media that can be used online by students and instructors of different Faculties across the university. Currently, many courses are imparted in lecture which does not allow students to explore the original speeches or the newspaper clippings from the Berger inquiry, which give historical context. By placing the lecture and the resources online, students were able to explore the Inquiry materials at length and at their own pace. Online materials included original speeches, newspaper clippings, documentary files, and interviews with individuals from the UBC and legal communities who participated in the inquiry.

Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2013/2014
Year 1: Project TypeLarge TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorMichael Jackson
Year 1: Funded Amount58,165
Year 1: Team Members

Michael Jackson, Professor Faculty of Law
Gordon Christie, Professor, Faculty of Law
Amy Perreault, Strategist, Aboriginal Initiatives, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
Drew Ann Wake, Community Partner

Project ReportReport-2013-FL-Jackson-WEB.pdf
Project Outcomes

Products & achievements: Twelve scrapbooks with participants of the Berger Inquiry were placed online in April 2014. Segments of archival audio and video were attached to the scrapbooks. In total eighteen interviews in video (12 minutes each) were shot and edited: six interviews; eight additional interviews with Inquiry participants not residing in Vancouver; four externally funded interviews shot and edited (Senators and MPs from Ottawa).

Intended outcomes/themes:

  1. Student engagement - To build an engaging interactive, media rich resource that would promote student willingness to engage with project materials for an extended period of time.
  2. Student awareness and preparedness to tackle Aboriginal issues – To raise awareness of political and economic issues facing Aboriginal communities and foster a change in perspectives and attitudes towards Indigenous Rights. Also, to create a resource that would prepare students to grapple with Indigenous issues when they reached the classroom.
  3. Facilitate teaching of Aboriginal issues - Ensure that faculty who do not typically engage or are relatively in-experienced in Aboriginal issues would feel comfortable teaching this content as a result of the bridge build with the resources developed and their respective disciplinary contexts.

Evaluation approach:

  1. Analysis of existing data (analytics) – Log data was analysed to explore patterns of resource usage.
  2. Student feedback - Students at five universities including UBC, were asked to use the website prior to attending class. In class they engaged in three debates and wrote their negotiated conclusions in essay form. An analysis of their responses and reflections provided the foundation for the evaluation of the project. Also, students were verbally asked about their experiences working with the materials after the sessions, and their comments and feedback recorded as field notes.
  3. Faculty experiences – The establishment of relationships based on trust between faculty and project team members, which allowed the acceptance of the resources into their classrooms. Conversations with faculty around their experiences teaching Aboriginal issues using the resources.

Findings:  Student participation in pre-class materials increased significantly when videos were assigned versus assigning prior reading only. Students who worked with the preliminary version of the website (no-video) spent much less time reviewing pre-class materials. After the videos were implemented students spent four times more time preparing for the class. Students in disciplines where video is rarely used really appreciated this opportunity to learn because it broke up the monotony of long readings (Faculty of Law). According to students, distilled large amounts of rich information succinctly in the voices of Indigenous peoples, which is something they rarely experience.

Student participation increased during in-class discussions as level of understanding around Aboriginal perspectives grew. In-class, students were confident to share their opinions and were comfortable with the process of debating and characterizing the authentic Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives represented in the materials. This is noteworthy, as learning about Indigenous issues is typically accompanied by silence. Student writing also denoted better understanding and comfort around Indigenous issues, as well as their connections to other course materials.

The project team was able to witness instructor agency with the materials and content through the implementation of the project. This was evidenced by instructors’ willingness and ability to draw on specific examples from their disciplines in relation to issues the materials raised both historically and with contemporary examples.

Dissemination: Formal talks and classes: UBC, University of Victoria (in-class testing of project materials and presentation at Land Claims conference), University of Northern BC, Ottawa University, University of Toronto, Aurora College in Inuvik and Fort Smith (NWT), Yukon College in Whitehorse (YT), Mount Royal University, and Dalhousie University (NS).


Under Western Skies Conference- Calgary, September 8, 2014

Centre A- Exhibit and evening talk- Thunder in Our Voices: Considering the Communication Techniques Emerging from the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry Experience October 17th, 2014.

Classroom Climate Series session presentation: Uncovering Indigenous Stories at this “Place of Mind”: Bridging the Digital World and Place at UBC November 19th, 2014.


"Whose Voices" (2015). The Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship. Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group.

Sustainability: The team will work on bridging the resources that have been developed into classrooms at UBC as well as other institutions where the materials have been piloted. The resources are structured in a way to have a ripple effect impact both in student learning as well as Instructor capacity. Consultations are in progress with faculty to integrate developed project materials into existing curriculum in order to implement cross-disciplinary connections. In addition, the resources will be showcased at a number of Aboriginal Initiatives events offered through CTLT and findings presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Vancouver March 29 – April 2 (2016).