Final Project, ED 650

Distance Delivery of Student Services

Executive Summary:

Bristol Bay Campus, in fulfillment of Title III grant objectives, is charged with delivering Student Services to the four main hubs in the Bristol Bay region. This proposal is for the purchase, setup, distribution, and usage of iPads in two remote villages: New Stuyahok and Togiak. They will serve as our pilot sites. The iPads will be configured with files, bookmarks, and applications which support Student Services functions (e.g., course applications, financial aid, career and academic advising, etc.), as well as resources that help student retention and program completion. Established audio conference communication protocols will be used to guide and communicate with the iPad users. While this pilot is focused on Student Services, there is potential for similarly configured devices to be used for instructional purposes.


Bristol Bay Campus (BBC) is a rural campus located in Dillingham, Alaska. The school is under the umbrella of University of Alaska – Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development. It specializes in applied science and vocational programs. Most courses are offered online. BBC’s service region extends from Bristol Bay to the Aleutian-Pribilof region covering more than 100,000 square miles.


Online learning is increasing, and for locations with reliable, fast internet it is both a strategic and tactical move that all educators need to be making. However, in rural southwest Alaska internet is constrained both in bandwidth and by cost. Nevertheless, given the vastness of our geographic service area and the sparseness of our population density, educators have to take distance delivery seriously. Likewise, we need to explore delivering Student Services to remote locations throughout our regions. Moreover, we have Title III grant objectives that this project addresses. Specifically, the goals include deployment of technology and the recruitment of cohorts in hub communities. An essential aim of Title III grant projects is that the plans are sustainable after the grant is fulfilled. iPads are particularly useful because they are portable and can be operated online or be set up with files and used offline. Since the students are required to interact with online interfaces like Google Apps, UA Online, and BlackBoard this versatility is essential. One of the grant objectives speaks to using technology in the rural communities. Facebook analytics shows that our customers predominately use mobile devices to interact with our online content. Accordingly, iPads are a small reach from smartphones. We anticipate the use of these devices, because of their ubiquity, will be transparent and require little instruction. Exploring distance delivery strategies such as deploying iPads and using existing audio conference lines to coach and advise remote learners on student service topics is more viable than flying personnel to remote locations. Moreover, it avoids – or at least offers – an alternative to slow and expensive internet.


Ally, M., Balaji, V., Abdelbaki, A., & Cheng, R. (2017). Use of Tablet Computers to Improve Access to Education in a Remote Location. Journal Of Learning For Development, 4(2), 221-228.

Ally et al. touch on issues relevant to us here in Southwest Alaska. Their project was conducted in Swat, Pakistan. Like us, they needed to expose learners to devices and technology. However, unlike us, internet access was non-existent. They used an Aptus server to support the tablets. These servers simulate an online experience and provide access to open educational resources. The devices are cheap at $100 – $150. Learners can use phones, tablets, or computers in conjunction with it and become familiar with tools and skills relevant to the broader online environment.

The Aptus model is a concept that occurred to me when I was visiting St. Paul, Pribilof Islands. Their internet service is through cellular service. However, in the town, a fiber optic network has been constructed, so the local area network is quite good. Indeed, one of the pastimes is playing console games. It may be worth exploring  what kind of learning resources we could set up and deliver locally through their local network

Saorin, J. L., Torre, J. L., Martín, N., & Carbonell, C. (2013). Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 93(3rd World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership), 1569-1573. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.083

Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets is several years old. However,  like the first article, it is focused on specific technology. In this case, the study examines the use of applications in service of building students teamwork skills. The class, the authors, concentrated on was a college entry-level engineering course. The projects student groups selected varied widely, but, the instructors standardized the tools and the methods they used to manage and monitor the groups.

Cloud ComputingManaging The ClassworkStudents Collaborative WorkTablet Access To A Computer

Google Drive


Teacher Tool
Teacher Assistant
Teacher Aide Pro
Visual GradeBook


New Notes
Notes Plus
Note Taker HD


Team Viewer
Jump Desktop
RDP remote desktop

This article offered some very concrete solutions for configuring a tablet for group work. The remote login app provided a fruitful solution which may have application in our rural sites.

Managing iPads Inventory:

Part of this proposal is to review and learn about configuring, controlling access to settings and proxy server settings, as well as pushing applications and updates to the devices. We will explore the requirements of bulk purchasing, licensing of iPad applications, and the setup of customized printing based on each Center’s network and printers. Tools and plans for mobile device management (e.g., Apple Device Enrollment Program, Apple Configurator) offer device enrollment, configuration, setup, and assignment. Also, a plan for routine system and file updates will be implemented. 

The main thrust of this initiative is focused on delivering Student Services, particularly Career and Academic Advising, to the rural areas and Centers of BBC’s catchment area. A secondary benefit is that the project will serve as a pilot for learning both the back office aspect of mobile device management and the front end use. As our learning curve accelerates, BBC will expand its delivery of instruction using iPads.

Selecting applications for the iPad will be an essential task. We will need to review specific applications developed for the University of Alaska Fairbanks such as UAF Mobile and MappostUAF. Broadening the search applications like BlackBoard Collaborate Mobile and Careers360 will need to be evaluated. A systematic search for applications will be conducted. Since both IOS and Android operating systems are represented in our analytics, we will have to limit our selections to apps that function on both devices. Screen captures of routine online interactions, UA Online, and BlackBoard, will be created, saved in pdf format, and then saved to the devices. Video or audio files used as tutorial resources will likewise need to be selected or designed and loaded. Browsers will need a standard set of both academic and student service resources.

Each location will need a secure place to store the devices and a method for checking them in and out. Cases to protect the tablets and additional power adapters need to be researched and provided with the iPads.  Both stand-alone Bluetooth keyboards and integrated keyboard cases need to be investigated as keyboards significantly increase the utility of tablets.


In the original project charter, it was proposed that five iPads be configured for each location.  A Career and Academic Advisor would use the existing and relatively reliable audio-conference system to call and chat with cohort members and to coach use of the iPads and the relevant resources.

Our service area includes two distinctly different kinds of communities: remote villages as already discussed, and larger more accessible and better-serviced communities (Dillingham, King Salmon, and Unalaska).  It is conceivable that two tablet configurations might be needed, but we already anticipate technical difficulty with setting up and maintaining iPads. Consequently, at this time the focus will be on a single configuration aimed at remote communities.

This fall BBC administrators made site visits to New Stuyahok and Togiak. BBC has operated Centers in these villages for many years. BBC has a new Director and several new staff members, so these site visits were mostly reconnaissance. Both communities struggle with expensive, slow, and unreliable phone and internet service. Likewise, there seem to be similar patterns in the market niches:  traditional secondary school students, high school dropouts due to significant high school dropout rates, and adult/vocation learners. There are many differences between the communities as well, and a single recipe for Center operations is not recommended.

After the initial proposal, two opportunities have been uncovered. First, the school district that manages schools in both communities has sophisticated teleconference equipment available in each. This equipment is underutilized and frequently available. We are in preliminary discussions on ways to collaborate and to deliver Career and Academic Advising through this medium. It seems reasonable that mentoring through tablet devices might be more comfortable with a video display of the facilitator. Some experimentation might be conducted comparing the experience with the audio-conference technology with the teleconference.

The discovery of the Aptus Server has also impacted the direction of this project. Conversations with University of Alaska Fairbanks’ eLearning program and Office of Information and Technology (OIT) indicate interest and direction for such an initiative. In effect, this is a local area wireless network that can be used to deliver educational materials to local mobile devices. It might be said to simulate the internet in a limited way. An Aptus server could combine nicely with the iPad deployment and create a more productive environment. The value of this configuration extends outside of the classroom to the ubiquitous smartphones in the community. Along with resources like Khan Academy videos and Wikipedia articles, the server comes with WordPress and Moodle installations. A setting for interactive distance education is created, and that likely opens up many doors for instruction in both Career and Academic Advising and the delivery of college course content.

If Aptus Servers are deployed, then the iPads can be used as connected devices. Being able to deliver Moodle, for example, means that a very different approach to content and device management can be taken. The tablets can be left configured for factory default, and the custom content can be stored on the server instead.


Because we are talking about cohorts of five or smaller, and because we are struggling with slow and unreliable internet at the remote locations, it seems reasonable to create a paper and pencil questionnaire about customer satisfaction with the devices and the content. These could be mailed or faxed back to BBC main campus and then input into a Google Form for reporting. Where the aim is to approach this as a pilot with subsequent additional rollouts, we anticipate ironing out the bugs and unintended consequences before scaling up. Another aspect of evaluation speaks to grant objectives. These include:

Objective 1.3.2 Establish student cohorts in each of the four regional hubs and provide one annual cohort retreat per hub. (Bristol Bay region)

In the case of objective 2.1.1, the technology supports student, advisor and instructor interaction not just annually, but frequently. And, Regular and effective communications are key aspects for successful cohorts.

Objective 2.1.1 Increase student access to cutting-edge technologies that will open up new career pathways through technology upgrades to the main campus and three village learning centers. (Bristol Bay region)

While iPads and the technology discussed here are not exactly cutting edge, the configurations proposed are innovative as place-specific solutions. Perhaps a way forward is to be cognizant of the need to address topics like eye-controlled technology, designer antibiotics, ingestible robots, smart clothing, and the like and to build that into coursework.

Objective 2.2.2 Increase the utilization of telepresence room and other technologies by 10 percent each year in educational delivery, student support, conferences, workshops, and community events. (Bristol Bay region)

Working with Southwest Regional School District to utilize their teleconference equipment in each village school speaks directly to this grant objective. It remains to craft a curriculum and tactics for presentation appropriate for the medium. 


The discovery of the Aptus Server has opened up some exciting and interesting ways to develop what was a bland approach to a problem. As well negotiating with Southwest Regional School District to use their teleconference equipment to coaching and advising adds significantly to the potential for success in deploying and using iPads for distance delivery of student services. Conversations with UAF OIT and eLearning need to be had yet so that the server is secure and configured according to UAF guidelines. Nonetheless in concept this approach seems viable for rural southwestern Alaska villages.


Ally, M., Balaji, V., Abdelbaki, A., & Cheng, R. (2017). Use of Tablet Computers to Improve Access to Education in a Remote Location. Journal Of Learning For Development, 4(2), 221-228.

Saorin, J. L., Torre, J. L., Martín, N., & Carbonell, C. (2013). Education Working Group Management using Digital Tablets. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 93(3rd World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership), 1569-1573. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.083


Research Proposal, ED 601

What are the type, level, and volume of — Alaska Native participation — in online learning and online learning communities? What are the constraints or conversely the propellants for participation: access, gender, skill, and preference? To clarify, I am not asking about Alaska Native participation in formal online schooling or workplace training. Rather, I am asking about organic, self-motivated participation in online learning and online learning communities and therefore our first task is a series of definitions.

Online access, ethnicity, bioregion, and gender will all be seen as important details in answering these questions. Likewise, it is necessary to refine an understanding of both “online learning” and “online learning communities.” However, starting from an emic perspective, this question shifts radically, especially when we consider this interview with John Seeley Brown:

…It turns out that my neighbor turns out to be a 20-year-old kid, moderately world-famous in the surfing world named Dusty Payne. And what got interesting to us is that Maui has never produced a world-class champion before. They basically come from Oahu, from the North Shore and so on and so forth. But all of a sudden four kids make it big, big time here in Maui. You say “What Happened?”

And it turns out that if you kind meet these kids they have all come together very much like a guild in World of Warcraft, and what they do is they compete with each other and they collaborate with each other incredibly intensely. They think up a new move, they dash down the hill, they try it out, they take their video cameras with them. They’re videoing each other. They dash back up here. They start kind of analyzing what worked, what didn’t work, build new ideas, dash down the hill again, try it out. And then what they start doing is they start looking at, of course, all the other people surfing around the world, which they get from YouTube. They have all this kind of stuff. They start picking up new moves like that. That’s a kind of interesting way that digital media has enhanced the ability of these surfing kids to pick up all kinds of new tricks. And I can actually show you how a particular move now on a surfboard takes about 48 hours to propagate around the world before all the key surfers of the top edge are trying it out themselves, okay? And of course any time something changes they’re the first to try it out and to appropriate it, so these kids live for picking up something new. They live for trying out something new. And some of this stuff, by the way, is moderately dangerous. So these are high-cost mistakes, but the passion that they have to do this is really awesome.

Well, guess what. The passion that I see in the World of Warcraft of the high-end high performers is also awesome, but it doesn’t stop there. If you look at the artists, if you look at the musicians, if you look at the dancers, if you look at athletics in general and to the extreme edge what you have is kids that are turned on. And when they get really turned on in the right context there’s almost no stopping.

Any interest that any kid has, I am sure there’s already existing out there a passionate community of interest group or a community of practice that you can try to join…. (Brown, 2013)

In the current terminology, I am interested in “open online learning.” This type of learning is about identity, about curiosity, about real compensation. I think these definitions of online learning and online learning community is substantially different from the online learning in which universities or human resource departments engage. To understand better, the process that Brown describes includes the following elements:

  • Shared passion
  • Face-to-face cohort
  • Practice capture technology
  • Play/practice (elements of gamification)
  • Online cohort
  • Published/peer reviewed (open)
  • Failure has a real cost (injury, financial loss)
  • Practice refinement and improvement (lather, rinse, repeat)
  • Success has potential for compensation/recognition in both real and virtual world

This is learner/passion centric. Inquiry originates with passionate individuals following their dreams. That is, less frequently, how we describe school learners though staff development in the workplace can have aspects of passion. More often-in schools our starting assumption is that learners are deficient in knowledge we also assume that they need development across a broad curriculum. This approach to learning puts identity, curiosity, and real compensation at the far end of learning. Alas, for many Alaska Natives that abstraction and that decontextualizing of life/learning/self are related to struggles with school and professional success. Yet my emphasis in this research is on what people do for themselves and with others when they are in control of their own learning. It is precisely a process that I can see appealing to Alaska Native values and practices; moreover, the ambiguous space of the internet can be a space Indigenous peoples may populate in their own way.

Let me return to my project of the definition of terms. In “online learning” we seek activities whose practitioners are passionate, that oscillate between face-to-face and virtual cohorts, that include a cycle of practice/practice capture, publishing and review and practice refinement. The passion is reinforced through status and remuneration (though one can fail, really fail, and such failure puts the passion at risk – said differently, these stakes are real). Implicit in this definition is the embeddedness of communities of practices, both face-to-face and virtual.

The scholarly literature on this topic is limited, and when I define online learning and online learning communities in light of Brown’s description, then the literature does not exist. This is true particularly when we remember to limit our search terms to include “Alaska Native.” The existing literature coalesces into three categories that touches on this question first are topics/projects that are not school-based rather communities based, and have elements of online practice:


Cueva, K., Revels, L., Kuhnley, R., Cueva, M., Lanier, A., & Dignan, M. (2015). Co-Creating a Culturally Responsive Distance Education Cancer Course with, and for, Alaska’s Community Health Workers: Motivations from a Survey of Key Stakeholders. Journal Of Cancer Education: The Official Journal Of The American Association For Cancer Education.

Eisner, W. R., Cuomo, C. J., Hinkel, K. M., Jelacic, J., Kim, C., & Alba, D. D. (2012). Producing an Indigeounous Knowledge WebGIS fo Arctic Alaska Communities: Challenges, Successes,and Lessons Learned. Transactions in GIS, 16(1), 17-37.

Wexler, L., Eglinton, K., & Gubrium, A. (Eisner et al., 2012; Wexler, Eglinton, & Gubrium). Using Digital Stories to Understand the Lives of Alaska Native Young People. Youth & Society, 46(4), 478-504.


Changing the search terms to “social media” and elements of open learning, for example, “MOOC” though always limited by “Alaska Native” — did yield some additional limited results. However, these were medical or behavioral health studies and not studies of learning. I felt that this pulled the research too far from the core topic. While the following articles are all school-related, there are elements of autonomy or self-identity that weaving through them that again border on my research topic. The following articles are school-centered rather than learner-centered.


Hahn, S., & Lehman, L. (2005). The Half-Million-Square-Miles Campus: University of Alaska Fairbanks Off-Campus Library Services. Journal Of Library & Information Services In Distance Learning, 2(3), 5-24.


This article touchs on the role of technology and its availability in rural Alaskan in schools and communities, as well as the use of school-based online learning.  In the end, this article describes the work and priorities of a university, hence not really on target with the questions I have in mind. Yet, this suggests a potentially fruitful place for research. What does information literacy mean in an information rich online environment for Alaska Natives?  What does it look like when they answer their own questions, in their own way?  As above, broadening the terms to include, “computer use” or “information technology” did yield additional scholarly research; alas, all of it was embedded in the medical or behavioral health literature.


Berkshire, S., & Smith, G. (2000). Bridging the Great Divide: Connecting Alaska Native Learners and Leaders via “High Touch-High Tech” Distance Learning.

Fleming, A. B. (2005). A phenomenological study of the lived experiences of Alaska Natives who persist in one program of higher education. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 1715.

Odasz, F. (1999). On the Frontier of Online Learning, in Galena, Alaska. Multimedia Schools, 6(2), 42-45.

Subramony, D. P. (Winter 2007). Understanding the Complex Dimensions of the Digital Divide: Lessons Learned in the Alaskan Arctic. The Journal of Negro Edutaion, 76(1), 57-68.


Two of these articles are quite old, demonstrating that not only research breadth is limited but so also is the depth. Two are interesting, though in ways only adjacent to the inquiry I am making. Subramony uncovers some interesting questions around gender and computer aptitude. He shows how young women succeed in school including in computer proficiency, more than young men. Young men practice subsistence skills. I mentioned above that online access, ethnicity, bioregion, and gender, would all be seen as important details in trying to understand the type, level, and volume of Alaska Native participation in online learning and online learning communities. Fleming is again focused on school learning and school success, but at least the inquiry is about Alaska Native lived experiences.

My original intent in developing a research proposal was to engage with a community in developing online learning resources, in conjunction with an already developed educational, cultural, or youth program. I am hampered in the scope and reach of my network and by the fact that I do not live in Alaska. At this point, I am uncertain I can develop the rapport quickly enough to support such a project. That in conjunction with the sparseness of existing research caused me to step back and begin to rethink my approach.

This project will consist of interviews with individuals who are both active content creators online and members of Alaska Native ethnic groups. Five to ten interviews will be done, two with members from each of these major ethnic groups, Iñupiaq, Yu’pik, Gwitch’in, Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, and Tlingit/Haida/Tsimshian. Thus far, snowball sampling has generated five potential interviewees from three ethnic groups. Interviews will consist of nine to ten questions (see Appendix B to read them). These questions cover matters of online learning, cultural preservation/cultural innovation, and intellectual property/cultural property.

The research will be connected with required coursework for the degree program. Therefore, for example, the summer of 2016, I will be taking ED 654 Digital Citizenship, Internet Legal Issues, Digital Copyright, Fair Use, interviews will be conducted, and preliminary results reported on. This allows me to create and get IRB approval early in the program. This approach has several benefits, first of which is several smaller projects may be combined and built into a final project. Smaller focused projects help me build my Alaska network and may open unanticipated opportunities. Having the project approved and on the record allows me to get underway and to modify the project moving forward, based on fortuitous opportunities. To accomplish this I will need to complete the CITI human subjects’ certification and submit successfully an IRB Research Protocol for this project. Accordingly, I have begun drafting the IRB Research Protocol (see below in Appendix A). I will also need to create an informed consent permission form (see below Appendix C).

In conclusion, little is written, perhaps known, about Alaska Native participation in creation and in open online learning and online learning communities. Yet evidence exists that Alaska Natives participate in online content creation. The aim of this inquiry is to interview participants in order to understand better, how content creators view themselves, and the role of their content in fostering online learning and online communities. This is to explore some of the tensions and restrictions of technology use and online access felt in rural communities of Alaska. In addition, I aim to begin to explore tensions between cultural preservation, innovation, and issues of intellectual property rights for individuals and communities in the context of online learning and learning communities.

Additional aims for this inquiry include scaling into research in terms of both learning the IRB protocol, using qualitative research tools and practices, and building trust and rapport with Alaska Native communities. Having a project on file with the IRB allows me the flexibility to modify an existing project through the coursework rather than doing that simultaneously with the final project, hence easing deadlines. This approach may also open additional opportunities for projects and research through building network with community members. Scaling into the research builds practice and iteration into the process along the way to the final project.  This increases my skills and techniques as a researcher as I work towards the final project.


IRB Research Protocol


  1. Application Information:
Title:Alaska Native Digital Citizenship: Online Learning and Online Learning Communities
Proposed Start DateMay 23, 2016
Anticipated Completion DateAugust 12, 2016


  1. Principal Investigator Assurance Statement: IRB protocols may only be submitted by individuals who are eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) under UAF policy #05-003 (

By submitting this protocol application, I certify that the information provided is accurate and complete. I agree to and will comply with the following statements:

  1. Abide by all regulations, policies, and procedures applicable to research involving human subjects.
  2. Accept responsibility for the scientific and ethical conduct of this research.
  3. Accept responsibility for providing personnel (collaborators, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, and volunteers) with the appropriate training and mentoring to conduct their duties as part of this research.
  4. If this IRB Protocol Application is for Graduate Student Research, the student’s graduate advisory committee has reviewed and approved this research protocol.
  5. Obtain approval from the IRB prior to amending or altering the research protocol, consent/assent forms or initiating further correspondence with the research subjects,
  6. Immediately report to the Office of Research Integrity any complaints from participants or others, all serious adverse reactions, and/or any unanticipated problems or issues related to this study.
  7. Comply with requests of the IRB regarding Continuing/Final Review and assessment in a timely manner.

I realize that failure to comply with the above provisions may result in suspension or termination of this project by the IRB and, if appropriate, restricted access to funding and notification of sponsor, and referral to the appropriate UAF administrative official(s) for disciplinary action.

C. Funding Information:  Place an “X” in the first column to indicate which type(s) of funding will be used to support this project.


Type of Funding


Sponsor or Source

UAF proposal (S#), Grant (G#), or Account (fund-org)
Internal CompetitiveN/AN/A
Internal Non-CompetitiveN/AN/A

Justification of Multiple Awards:  The ORI and IRB are required to match the work described in the funding proposal/award to that in the IRB Protocol.  In nearly all cases, the same work cannot be funded under multiple awards; therefore, additional justification is required if the work described in this Protocol will be funded by more than one source.  Clearly explain why it is not appropriate to file separate IRB Protocols and indicate which portions of the work will be covered by each funding source.

  1. Classification of Project: Place an “X” in the first column to indicate which of the following best describes this research project.
 Type of ProjectDescription (if needed)
Faculty Research
Doctoral or Master Degree ResearchThis research is first associated with the final project in ED 654. However, it may, depending on this pilot project grow into a section of Robert Heath’s final project for his M.Ed. ONID program.
Undergraduate Research Project
Other – Please describe.<<Overwrite Here>>
  1. Additional IRB Requirements (Review required other than UAF IRB): If this research is subject to the review and approval of another IRB or similar committee provide the following information. Please contact the Office of Research Integrity PRIOR to submitting applications to multiple review committees, so that we can assist in determining the order of review and, if needed, negotiate with other institutions to determine which has primary responsibility for oversight. If review by more than one non-UAF committee is required, copy and paste the following two tables as many times as needed.
Required InformationResponse
Name of CommitteeRobert Heath, Graduate Student Advisory Committee, M.Ed. ONID
InstitutionUniversity of Alaska, Fairbanks
Contact PersonSean Topkok
Phone Number (907) 474-5537


 Review StatusExplanation (if needed)
Application has not been submitted.<<Overwrite Here>>
Application is currently under review.<<Overwrite Here>>
Application has been approved.  Note:  Submit a copy of the application packet and final approval letter with your UAF application.<<Overwrite Here>>
Other – Please explain.<<Overwrite Here>>


  1. General Objectives and Methodology: Briefly explain as though speaking with a non-scientist, the specific objective(s) of this research project or program. Clearly state your hypothesis, study focus and your methodology: how each of your proposed procedures will address the hypothesis.  Limit your response to approximately 500 words; other project details will be requested in later sections.
<<Overwrite Here>>


  1. Literature Search (References): Provide a list of no more than five (5) references that support the need for this research and/or for the use of the methods proposed for data collection and analysis. References should typically be peer reviewed scholarly articles, but may include discussions with colleagues or other subject matter experts.  At a minimum, identify the database(s) searched, the keywords used, and provide a summary of the results.


<<Overwrite Here>>


  1. Research Population: The following section addresses the researcher’s commitment to the justice of this protocol in the sense that it fulfills the obligation to equitably distribute both the burden and benefits for the research participants.


Required InformationResponse
1. Maximum number of research participants to be enrolled.10
2. What are the selection criteria for research participants?Active production of online content, and member status in one of the five major ethic regions of Alaska, Iñupiaq, Yu’pik, Gwitch’in, Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, and Tlingit/Haida/Tsimshian
3. Discuss which populations are specifically excluded from the research.Only Alaska Natives will be interviewed.


  1. Protected Groups: The human subject protection regulations require special consideration be given to the recruitment and participation of certain groups of individuals. Place an “X” in the first column to indicate which of the following groups you are specifically seeking to include as participants in this research.
 Protected Group
Children (individuals under 18 years of age), No
Pregnant Women (in projects where there is the potential for fetal harm/impact), No potential for fetal harm.
Prisoners, No


  1. Recruitment: This section should describe all methods that will be used to contact participants; fliers, mailings, phone calls, word-of-mouth, etc.
Required InformationResponse
1. Discuss the recruitment process.  Note:  You must include copies of any proposed recruitment materials with your IRBNet submission package.Five individuals from three ethnic groups have been identified for initial contact. Part of the interview process will be to ask them for additional contact leads.
2. Discuss how you plan to encourage the participation of women and minorities.The entire focus of this research is on minorities.


  1. Benefits, Costs, Risks, Compensation: This section addresses the researcher’s responsibility to beneficence, which requires balancing risk (potential harm to participants or groups) against benefit (potential advances gained by the research).
1. What are the potential benefits to an individual research participant?A modified sense of the impact their online content is having.
2.If applicable, what are the potential benefits to the culture or society that is the subject of the research?A wider sense of Indigenous participation in online learning communities.
3. Will compensation (cash, gift cards, non-monetary gifts, etc.) be offered to research participants? If yes, describe the compensation, how it will be distributed, and what receipts or records will be kept.No
4. What are the costs (monetary or time) to an individual research participant?Time taken for interview.
5. Describe any potential risks of harm or discomfort (physical, psychological, or sociological) to an individual participant.No more risk than having a conversation or sitting at their desk.
6. What will be done to minimize or mitigate potential harms or discomfort that may be experienced by an individual research participant?Questions, like the consent form will be phrased at Eighth grade level. Since the subjects will choose their locations for the interviews and interviews will be conducted remotely, little can be done beyond limiting the duration and encouraging participants to pick a comfortable site ahead of time.
7. If applicable, what are the potential risks to the culture or society that is the subject of the research?Variations in self-identity/cultural identity and personal knowledge/cultural knowledge and themes around intellectual property rights will be explored. This may uncover unasked or incompletely explored questions hopefully that will have the opposite effect and strengthen the cultures.
8. If applicable, what will be done to minimize or mitigate potential harms to the culture or society that is the subject of the research?Member checking of paper drafts will occur. It is unlikely that this research, due to its limited scope, will have large impacts nonetheless, we are happy to share the results with tribal governments and educators.


  1. Participant Consent / Assent: The informed consent and assent process form the cornerstone of the Human Research Protection Program. The following section addresses the researcher’s responsibility to demonstrate “respect for persons” by ensuring potential participants understand what they are being asked to do, what will be done with the data and/or samples, and that their participation is voluntary.  Although the IRB’s review will focus predominantly on the consent and assent forms or scripts you will utilize, you must also describe the following :

Requests and alternativesPlace an “X” in the first column to indicate which of the following you are requesting for this research project.  You must provide justification for any request made in this section.

1. Waiver of informed consent.  Note:  The IRB will only consider this if you can demonstrate that obtaining informed consent will impact the quality of the research data; a waiver will not be granted for researcher convenience.<<Overwrite Here>>
2. Waiver of the requirement for documentation (written, audio or video) of informed consent:  Note:  The IRB will only consider this in instances where it would culturally inappropriate or if the documentation is the only way to link the participant to the project and disclosure of their involvement may result in harm.<<Overwrite Here>>
3. Greater than 8th grade reading level for consent or assent materials.  Note: Project documents and assent forms for children must be at an age appropriate level. Documents for general population adults should not exceed an 8th grade reading level. If you are having problems achieving that level, contact the Office of Research Integrity ( or x7800) for assistance.<<Overwrite Here>>
4. Inclusion of participants whose primary language is not English.  Note:  The IRB regularly approves this request, but you must provide an explanation of the translation services that will be provided This may include providing the IRB with both English and non-English versions of consent, assent and other project documents.<<Overwrite Here>>
5. Inclusion of adults with diminished mental capabilities.  Note: You will need to determine whether or not these individuals are able to give informed consent.  If not, you will have to obtain consent from a legal guardian in addition to the individual’s assent.<<Overwrite Here>>


Consent/Assent ProcessDiscuss the process to be used to explain the study to potential participants and solicit their voluntary participation.  If your participants are children (<18 years of age) or adults with diminished mental capacity you must describe both the parental consent and participant assent processes.  If you intend to have ongoing interactions with participants, include a description of how you will ensure their participation continues to be informed and voluntary.

<<Overwrite Here>>
  1. Research Methodology: The following section addresses the researcher’s responsibility to demonstrate “beneficence” (to above all do no harm and to provide for the greatest possible benefit to the individual, society, or culture that is the subject of the research).

Research PlanThis section asks you to provide information about your collection and use of research data. Your answers to these questions will help ORI and the IRB determine the level of risk to participants and the appropriateness of your research location given the research questions you plan to ask.

Required InformationResponse
1. What is (are) the specific questions that the research seeks to answer?Please see the attached interview protocol.
2. How will the data be used?  Include all planned uses (i.e. presentation at scholarly meetings, journal articles, dissertation or thesis, agency reports, presented at public meetings, etc.)presentation at scholarly meetings, journal articles, ED 654 blog site, thesis
3. Where will the project be conducted?  Provide the specific physical location.  Note: For research that will not be conducted on the UAF campus or in at a public venue you must provide evidence of formal permission to use the location. For the purposes of this question, K-12 schools are not considered public venues.Interviews will be conducted through Skype or Google Hangout.


Research ToolsPlace an “X” in the first column to indicate which of the following data collection methods or instruments will be used to conduct the proposed research. Research tools for adults must be written at no higher than an 8th grade reading level without justification. Research tools for children must be written at an age appropriate level.

 Data Collection Methods or Instruments
Questionnaires.  Note: Copies of questionnaires must be included in your IRBNet submission.
Interviews. Please see the attached interview protocol for both procedure and question content.Note: An interview script or outline must be included in your IRBNet submission.
Observations.  Note: A description of the nature of the observations and the researchers role in the activity(ies) being observed must be included in your IRBNet submission.
Focus Groups.  Note: A script, list of questions, outline, or instructions to the group must be included in your IRBNet submission.
Collection of Identifiable Private Information.
Collection of Biological Specimens.
Review of Archived Data / Records / Samples.  Note:  A description of the data or records to be accessed, including why they were originally collected, must be included in your IRBNet submission.  Evidence of official permission to access the materials must be provided for data or records that are not in the public domain.


  1. Potential Conflicts of Interest or Commitment: This section addresses the issues that may affect the research team’s objectivity related to the conduct of this research. Answer the following questions by placing and “X” in the appropriate column; yes (Y) or no (N) and providing an explanation for each “yes” response.
YN Explanation (required for all yes answers)
1. Does any member of the research team have a proprietary interest in the project that may result in patents, trademarks, or licensing agreements?  If so, the researcher will need to work with the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization to protect these rights.N/A
2. Does any member of the research team have any equity / financial interest in the research?  This would include incentive payments, but not regular salary or stipends.N/A
3. Does any member of the research team have a power relationship with any or all of the research participants? A power relationship is one that may influence the perception of voluntariness of participation (e.g. employer/employee, counselor/client, or teacher/student)?N/A
4. Does any member of the research team have any other potential or actual conflict of interest or commitment relative to this research?N/A


  1. Data Storage and Retention: This section addresses the researcher’s responsibility to be open with participants regarding what will be done with the collected data, records or samples. This section also demonstrates the researcher’s commitment to protecting the integrity of the research record. Original research data must be stored/maintained at UAF. The IRB has drafted guidance regarding the secure storage and handling of human subject research data. Please download the guidelines here.
Required InformationResponse
1. What is the form in which the data/samples will be collected or recorded?  (Examples:  paper instruments, electronic records, field notes, audio recordings,biological samples, etc.)Audio/visual digital files
2. If identifying data is collected, how will participant confidentiality be maintained?<<Overwrite Here>>
3. Where will the data/samples be stored during the life of the project?Files will be stored, encrypted, on a password protected external hard drive.
4. What will be done with the data/samples at the end of the project?Archived to encrypted CD/DVD read/write disc.
5. If the data/samples will be maintained after the end of the project, where will it be stored and who will be responsible for maintaining and securing it?CD/DVDs will be stored in the Primary Investigator’s locked office.
6. If the data/samples will be maintained after the end of the project, how long will it be stored or archived?Data will be stored until 2021 at that point the CD/DVD’s will be shredded.
7. Who will be responsible for maintaining or ultimately disposing of the data?Primary Investigator has final responsibility for data destruction.
8. How will data be transferred or shared among research team members?  (Examples:  data will be maintained on a secure server that is only accessible to research team members, data will be transferred to non-UAF collaborators on encrypted CD/DVDs sent via Federal Express, etc.) Note:  Please try and anticipate all ways that you may need to transfer participant data.  Your response should take into account both participant confidentiality or privacy and data integrity. Transferred between collaborators (because this research is part of an online/distance program there is several thousand miles between collaborators)  on encrypted CD/DVDs sent via Federal Express
9. Do you have or plan to apply for a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health?  Note:  This is not required, but may be beneficial depending on the type of information you plan to collect; for more information contact the Office of Research Integrity.N/A


Interview Protocol Form

Project:  Alaska Native Digital Citizenship: Online Learning and Online Learning Communities

Date ___________________________                                       Time ___________________________

Location ________________________                                       Interviewer ______________________

Interviewee ______________________                                       Release form signed? ____

Notes to interviewee: Thank you for your participation. I believe your input will be valuable to this research and in helping grow all of our professional practice.

  • Confidentiality of responses is guaranteed
  • Approximate length of interview:
  • Purpose of research:
  • Methods of disseminating results: Preliminary results will be published on the ED 654 Digital Citizenship, Internet Legal Issues, Digital Copyright, and Fair Use course blog site. Later versions may become part or whole of my final project for degree requirements.


  1. How do Alaska Natives participate in online learning and online learning communities?
    • Watch the JSB interview clip.

With this new definition of online learning and online learning communities, does your answer change?

  1. What do you believe are the main themes or important elements for successful online learning unique to Alaska Natives?
  1. We sometimes hear someone taking an online class at the public library, as they do not have Internet access at home or a laptop. How problematic is this, or should we be commending their diligence and motivation?
  1. How does issues of connectivity and bandwidth effect online learning in Alaska Native communities?
  1. You participate in online communities. How does your experience as a digital citizen/ Alaska Native differ from your experience as an American citizen/Alaska Native?
  1. As a content creator, do you experience tension between cultural conservation and cultural innovation? Do you experience this tension most in the real or virtual life?
  1. How does participation in online learning and learning communities’ impact, positively or negatively, creation of new cultural knowledge? How does this learning transfer between virtual and real world?
  1. What online learning and online learning communities can exist openly online, what learning and knowledge needs to occur behind password? Finally, what learning should be reserved only for face-to-face transmission?
  1. What issues around intellectual property do you experience as an individual participating in cultural innovation/preservation and online content creation? Reflection by Interviewer


    • Thank you to interviewee, reassure confidentiality, ask permission to follow-up   ______


Informed Consent Form (for participation in)

Alaska Native Digital Citizenship: Online Learning and Online Learning Communities

Description of the Study:

Participants will engage in interviews. Interviews will be conducted online, though programs like Skype or Google Hangouts. Interviews will be recorded. Recordings will be transcribed and ATLAS.ti will be used to facilitate qualitative review.

Risks and Benefits of Being in the Study:

There are no major risks to you if you participate in this study. Your participation in this program will help us create a better understanding of Alaska Native online content creation. As a participant, you may receive benefits such as education about the online learning communities, but there is no guarantee that you will benefit directly from taking part in this study. This study may be beneficial to other Native groups studying their own cultural heritage through; and a source of identification and cultural strength in knowing what others have identified as important. Preliminary results will be published on the ED 654 Digital Citizenship, Internet Legal Issues, Digital Copyright and Fair Use course blog site.


Because I am conducting this study as a part of my research through the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), the results will be available to other people. However, I will not collect any identifying information about you in this study, and will make every effort to protect your identity. Any information about you as an individual that you reveal in conversations or interviews will be kept strictly confidential and secure in a locked office at UAF. This signed release form will be stored securely and separately, making it difficult to link you to this study. Only I will listen to any recordings that I make, and I will transcribe the parts that I need, and then erase the recordings after completion of my degree. You may request any copies of recordings of you for your own use. Given the small number of participants and the type of content creation, your identity may be guessed.

I would like to include your name or other identifiable information in my research crediting results from my research project. I want to identify you for attribution and explanatory purposes. However, you have the option to not have your name used when data from this study are published; if this is the case, please indicate so on this form.

Voluntary Nature of the Study:

Your decision to take part in the study is voluntary. You are free to choose not to take part in the study or to stop taking part at any time without any penalty to you.

Contacts and Questions:

If you have questions now, feel free to ask me. If you have questions later, you may contact me at or  or my faculty sponsor at…. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a research subject, please contact the Research Coordinator in the Office of Research Integrity at 474-7800 (Fairbanks area) or 1-866-876-7800 (outside the Fairbanks area) or

Statement of Consent:

By signing this form, you agree that you understand the procedures described above, your questions have been answered to your satisfaction, and you have been provided a copy of this form. You agree to participate in this study in the specific activities initialed below.

_______ I consent to being recorded while being interviewed.

Signature and Printed Name of Subject & Date


Signature of researcher, Robert Heath & Date


Please indicate whether you agree to have your full name used alongside your comments in the final dissertation that results from this research.

__YES (If you change your mind about this at any point, please let the researcher know)



Name or pseudonym to be used:_________________________________________

Works Cited


Berkshire, S., & Smith, G. (2000). Bridging the Great Divide: Connecting Alaska Native Learners and Leaders via “High Touch-High Tech” Distance Learning.

Brown, J. S. (Producer). (2013). John Seely Brown on Motivating Learners (Big Thinkers Series). Retrieved from

Cueva, K., Revels, L., Kuhnley, R., Cueva, M., Lanier, A., & Dignan, M. (2015). Co-Creating a Culturally Responsive Distance Education Cancer Course with, and for, Alaska’s Community Health Workers: Motivations from a Survey of Key Stakeholders. Journal Of Cancer Education: The Official Journal Of The American Association For Cancer Education.

Eisner, W. R., Cuomo, C. J., Hinkel, K. M., Jelacic, J., Kim, C., & Alba, D. D. (2012). Producing an Indigeounous Knowledge WebGIS fo Arctic Alaska Communities: Challenges, Successes,and Lessons Learned. Transactions in GIS, 16(1), 17-37.

Fleming, A. B. (2005). A phenomenological study of the lived experiences of Alaska Natives who persist in one program of higher education. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 1715.

Hahn, S., & Lehman, L. (2005). The Half-Million-Square-Miles Campus: University of Alaska Fairbanks Off-Campus Library Services. Journal Of Library & Information Services In Distance Learning, 2(3), 5-24.

Odasz, F. (1999). On the Frontier of Online Learning, in Galena, Alaska. Multimedia Schools, 6(2), 42-45.

Pember, M. A. (2011). Making Their Own Way. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, 28(3), 19.

Subramony, D. P. (2007). Understanding the Complex Dimensions of the Digital Divide: Lessons Learned in the Alaskan Arctic. The Journal of Negro Edutaion, 76(1), 57-68.

Wexler, L., Eglinton, K., & Gubrium, A. (2014). Using Digital Stories to Understand the Lives of Alaska Native Young People. Youth & Society, 46(4), 478-504.