Course Exam—HERM 301

HERM 301 (Heritage Resources Management) is a three-credit course that introduces students to heritage resources management and creates a base for further study of the contemporary heritage field.  Students study types of practice and current and emerging issues, as well as the social context, controversies, ethical questions and general concerns that characterize efforts in heritage preservation and the work carried out in museums, archives, historic places and interpretive centers.  Throughout this course, students will begin to develop approaches and skills in administration, collecting, conservation and preservation, interpretation, audience development and visitor services.  There are no prerequisites for this course and this course is not available to challenge.

Heritage Resources Management is made up of ten units and four assignments which consists of an experiential diary weighing fifteen percent, one essay on readings weighing twenty percent, one research essay weighing forty percent, and one critical review of an online exhibition weighing twenty-five percent.  There are no midterms or final examinations for this course.  The ten units within this course cover topics, such as conservation, interpretive programming, governance, ethics, museums, archives, and justifying heritage through tourism.  To receive credit for HERM 301, students must complete all the assignments and achieve a minimum course composite grade of fifty percent.

Students should note that one of the textbooks for this course (The Standard Practices Handbook for Museums) will be used in other courses in the Heritage Resources Management Program and you must keep your copy of this book if you intend to take other courses in the program.

Dr. Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo has been with Athabasca University since January of 2014 and has been coordinating HERM 301 since joining.  Alongside HERM 301, she also coordinates HERM 312 (Heritage Research), HERM 322 (Heritage Collections), HERM 327 (Heritage Policy in Canada), HERM 339 (Conservation), HERM 342 (General Principles of Planning Historic Places), HERM 361 (Interpretive Programming), HERM 512 (Advanced Methods in Heritage Research), HERM 542 (Issues in Planning Historic Places), HERM 561 (Advanced Issues in Interpretive Programming), HERM 670 (Industrial Heritage), HERM 671 (Documentation and Condition Assessment), HERM 672 (Heritage and Risk Management), and HERM 673 (Architectural Conservation).  She also teaches HERM 501 (Issues in Heritage Resources Management and supervises students taking HERM 491 (Heritage Certificate Practicum) and HERM 691 (Heritage Diploma Practicum).

I wanted to give Dr. Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo the opportunity to introduce herself to students, academically and personally, and so she shared, “I am Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo, Associate Professor/Director of Heritage Resources Management Program within the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Athabasca University.  I am based in Edmonton, Alberta.”

She continues, “I coordinate undergraduate and graduate HERM courses within the program, teach a graduate course, and supervise undergraduate and graduate practicum students who are completing their University Certificate or Post-Baccalaureate Diploma programs in Heritage Resources Management.  I am also the director of the Historical Resources Intern Program (HRIP) at Athabasca University.  The HRIP is an innovative partnership between Athabasca University and Alberta Culture and Tourism-Heritage Division in which the University provides scholarly training in heritage resources management for interns working at various museums, historical places and sites operated by the Province.”

“I serve as Co-Chair of the National Trust for Canada’s National Roundtable on Heritage Education.  I am also a member of the World Heritage Task Group of ICOMOS Canada (the National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites) as well as a member of the Virtual Museum of Canada Advisory Committee.”

Dr. Dailoo concludes, sharing “My research interests are cultural landscapes, nature-culture interrelationships, community engagement in heritage resources management, and World Heritage.  My current research examines cultural representations in Canadian Landscapes.”

She describes HERM 301 as a course that “discusses issues related to historic places, museums, and archives and helps students become familiar with the practices, challenges, and issues that face practitioners and professionals in the heritage field.  Students taking this introductory course will learn about the conceptual frameworks and theoretical foundation of the field in areas of conservation of built environment and museums studies.  Students will learn about types of practices, ethics, significance and values of different types of heritage, as well as heritage tourism, education and interpretation.”

Dr.  Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo provides her insight to the structure of the courses’ units and assignments, explaining “This course is an Individualized Course and students have six months to complete the course requirements.  The course includes ten different units each discussing a particular aspect of heritage resources management.  The course activities to be completed to receive credit include: Experiential Journal; Essay on Readings; Research Essay; and Critical Review of an Online Exhibition.”

“Students are required to write a statement (one to two paragraphs each) for their Experiential Journal reflecting on each unit’s topic and discuss their own experience as it relates to the issues discussed in each particular unit.  By the end of the course, students write ten statements.  The advantage of this activity is that students can connect their learnings to the real world and think of actual cases and students.  Although students are required to submit the first part of their experiential journal when they complete unit five of the course, they can revise the statements as the course progresses, their thinking evolves, and new ideas emerge.  “This assignment is based on what is referred to as a “constructivist” approach to learning, in which it is assumed that people learn by applying their own experience, circumstances, and knowledge.”

She continues, “The second activity, essay or readings, is due after unit four of the course and has to be around fifteen hundred words.  Students are asked to focus on the readings in units one through four and write on a heritage related topic.  There are resources available to help students with essay writings and students have the opportunity to learn about writing styles and citations.”

She concludes, “The research essay is due after unit ten and is to be twenty-five hundred words in length.  The course tutor provides a list of topics to students and they can choose any of those topics and conduct further research on that particular topic.  However, students have the opportunity to choose another relevant topic based on their interest.  In this case, students have to discuss their selected topic with their tutors and receive tutor’s approval in advance.  The last activity is critical review of an online exhibition.  Students can choose an exhibition from Virtual Museum of Canada.  Students must confer with their tutors about their selected exhibition and they are encouraged to choose exhibitions that were developed within the last five years; however, they can choose older exhibits on topics that are of particular interest to them.  Students critique the virtual exhibition in terms of content and relevance, audiences, and accessibility as well as visual and graphic design.  There are sources available in the course to assist students with this assignment.”

Dr. Dailoo provides advice for students who are already enrolled or looking to enroll into HERM 301, sharing “This course is thought-provoking course that would equip students with information about heritage in general and skills to research heritage-related topics.  Anyone can benefit from such a course and appreciate Canada’s diverse heritage and make connections with the heritage of their own community.”

She continues, “Students taking the course, as part their University Certificate in HRM or as non-program students, and prospective students might be interested to know that as of July 1, 2018 AU has a new Heritage Resources Management Minor (BA-HRM Minor).  “The Minor in Heritage Resources Management is designed to provide the tools to understand contemporary heritage conservation as a theoretical and applied field.  It offers an opportunity for students to add variety and depth to their studies and expand the scope of their BA Major fields.  The students in the University Certificate in HRM program can ladder their studies towards BA studies.”

Dr. Dailoo would recommend this course to anyone, stating “Heritage resources management is an interdisciplinary field and anyone can enjoy this course and learn about different aspects of heritage conservation in Canada and internationally.  Particularly, students in the following disciplines/programs/areas of study can benefit from this course and other HERM courses: arts and art history; anthropology and archaeology; history; architecture; Indigenous studies; cultural and environmental studies; planning; engineering; and administration and management.”

Most courses have content that some students will find more difficult, though she states, “This course is developed in a way that includes many examples and visuals to help with the understanding of key topics and themes throughout the course.  The course readings and commentary are all relevant and focus on each unit’s topic.  As long as students follow the study schedule and continue communicating with their tutor, they would not face any particular challenge in completing this course.” That is a bonus!

Whether HERM 301 is a degree requirement for you or you find the topics discussed above interesting, this course will have you learning interesting topics surrounding the field of heritage resources management and “will help you gain a better understanding of current and emerging issues in the heritage field.”

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