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The University of Oklahoma revives Native American curriculum through Janux

The University of Oklahoma has announced it is offering Native Peoples of Oklahoma, a course on the cultural traditions and current conditions of the Native American tribes who reside in Okla. The course will be offered at no cost this spring semester to anyone with Internet access through Janux, an online interactive learning community at OU.

“Native Peoples of Oklahoma was once a highly sought after and highly attended course at OU,” said Dr. Daniel Swan, a professor of anthropology at OU and curator of ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. “This semester, we’re reviving it and offering it to anyone who’s interested in American Indian culture. We think we have created the best course overview of Oklahoma American Indians available by bringing in our most renowned faculty experts and resources in the field.”

Originally, the course was taught for more than a decade by Dr. Robert Fields, a member of the Pawnee Nation and a professor of anthropology, until his retirement. Now, Swan and Dr. Joshua Nelson, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and assistant professor of English focusing on American Indian literature and film, said they feel there is no better time than now to see this course make a comeback. 

“With a population of more than 300,000 Native Americans from 37 different tribes, Oklahoma is home to more American Indian tribal headquarters than any other state,” Swan said. “More than 8 percent of Oklahoma’s population is of American Indian or Alaska Native descent, so to offer this course helps further education and awareness for Oklahoma’s Native American tribes.”

With Swan and Nelson as professors, students will have access to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, the largest university-affiliated museum of its kind in the nation with the largest collection of Native American language curriculum and teaching materials in the world.

“These resources give students access to the best possible information and knowledge on these subjects,” Nelson said. “More Native American languages are taught for college credit at OU than any other university in the world, and OU is ranked among the preeminent institutions in the nation for the study of American Indian literature. Now, through Janux, we’re able to see this course offered to anyone in the world.”

Janux, along with OU’s Native American faculty and resources, is reintroducing the course and opening it up to students anywhere. Now, students can learn about Oklahoma’s deep Native American roots and also learn the roles that indigenous people in Oklahoma have played in national and global contexts. The 16-week course begins Jan. 13. For more information, visit http://janux.ou.edu.

Janux is a new interactive learning community created by the University of Oklahoma. It connects learners and teachers through high-quality courses. Built in partnership with Oklahoma technology leader NextThought, Janux pioneers the field of social learning and is the first of its kind in open courseware. Students are able to use interactive learning tools and collaborate with other students and professors in real time. Videos, tests, quizzes and other learning resources are integrated in on online space. For more information, visit Janux.OU.edu.

NextThought is a technology company that offers an integrated approach to education. NextThought’s platform enables rich social interaction inside courseware and educational materials, including videos, assessment and text. The company also provides video production and content development services. Founded in 2011, NextThought works with a number of leading universities and professional education organizations around the world. For more information, visit www.NextThought.com.

Created by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree-granting research university serving the educational, cultural, economic and health-care needs of the state, region and nation. The Norman campus serves as home to all of the university’s academic programs except health-related fields. The OU Health Sciences Center, which is located in Oklahoma City, is one of only four comprehensive academic health centers in the nation with seven professional colleges. Both the Norman and Health Sciences Center colleges offer programs at the Schusterman Center, the site of OU-Tulsa. OU enrolls more than 31,000 students, has more than 2,600 full-time faculty members, and has 20 colleges offering 165 majors at the baccalaureate level, 157 majors at the master’s level, 80 majors at the doctoral level, 29 majors at the doctoral professional level, and 28 graduate certificates. The university’s annual operating budget is $1.7 billion. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution.