NOTE: This is the latest in a series of question-and-answer stories featuring faculty members who are integrating the Niagara 2022 Canada Games into the courses they teach at Brock University or the research they’re leading. For more information on Brock’s academic activities around the Games, visit brocku.ca/canada-games
Assistant Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies Kyle Rich’s research looks at the impact of policy, community, and inclusion and exclusion on experiences in sport, recreation and physical activity programming. His research has examined a variety of local, regional and national programs and how they are implemented in both urban and rural contexts. Rich is interested in using community-based and participatory research methodologies in order to help community organizers understand and address local issues in efforts to improve community health.
Rich has been at Brock since 2017 and teaches courses pertaining to leisure theory, recreation programming, health promotion and community development. He instructed several courses in a degree pathway program for mature students working towards a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies.
What is your Canada Games-related course title, code and description?
RECL 4P35: Current Issues in Community Recreation
In this course, we will engage with real-world problems faced by recreation professionals and critically discuss the social, ethical and empirical aspects of decision-making. Based around a series of case study assignments, learners will engage with decision-making processes from the perspective of recreation professionals. Assessments will involve working with data and responding to scenarios with appropriate justification. Learners will be required to critically reflect on aspects of social change, contemporary social issues and their own positionality throughout this process.
Describe how you’ve integrated Canada Games-related material into your course?
Over the past few years, I have restructured the course around problem-based case study learning. The Canada Games presented the opportunity to develop new cases about these current issues. Therefore, we are working with community organizations to develop case studies that use the Canada Games as a platform to explore current issues. For example, we worked with Egale Canada and developed a case that looks at how sport events can be used as a platform to discuss issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity in community sport and recreation organizations.
Why do you think the Canada Games present such a good opportunity for students at Brock?
The Canada Games presents a cool opportunity for students to think differently about their day-to-day roles and how they might be able to use the games as a catalyst for change. Events bring with them this interesting opportunity where people are geared up and hoping to make the most of things — but in many ways are also thinking critically about changes because there are lots of examples of white elephants that we want to avoid. It is an opportunity for students to engage with these discussions through coursework.
Do you have any suggestions for ways your colleagues can use the Games as a way to enhance teaching and learning opportunities in their courses?
I don’t think you have to radically rework major components of your course to integrate the games in some way. Like I have done, events are now the focus of work that we were already doing. Events are embedded in communities in complex ways, and I think there are links that we can make to pretty much any program of study at the University if we think creatively about it. So, I would encourage folks to get creative, reach out and discuss with others, and don’t feel completely restricted to the same 12 lectures, topics, labs or activities that might be the norm. Think of it as an opportunity to spice things up, try something new and experiment with some diverse content in our courses.
Once the Games are finished, how do you plan to continue using this new idea in your course?
The plan is to publish the case studies we develop so they will be available to a range of scholars and instructors working in sport, recreation and leisure. The goal is for the cases to have a pretty broad appeal so that they might be useful for many different kinds of courses.
I would like to thank the staff at Brock’s Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) for their support in these activities. They have been such an amazing resource. If others have ideas but aren’t sure how they might go about realizing them, definitely reach out to CPI.
For more information on the course and the case studies, email Rich at email@example.com