CLAREMORE, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation and Rogers State University are teaming up to connect more Cherokee Nation citizens to the Cherokee language through a new, online learning platform.
RSU Public TV’s continuing education and enrichment program, RSU Works, is linking students to the tribe’s online language courses taught by instructor Ed Fields. This is the first time registration for the Cherokee Nation’s free classes is available both through the tribe’s official website www.cherokee.org and through www.RSUworks.org.
“This is just the first phase of the partnership with RSU,” said Cherokee Nation Cherokee Language Program Manager Roy Boney. “Our larger goals are to expand our online class offerings, including adding a self-guided online language class that will feature pre-recorded videos and interactive lesson modules. We also are working on offering online language classes for college credit. These will be taught by instructors certified by our Cherokee Language Program.”
Boney and Tribal Councilor Keith Austin, of Claremore, worked with Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Cherokee Nation Education Services Executive Director Ron Etheridge and leaders at RSU to develop the partnership.
“RSU’s great traditional programs reach Cherokee Nation citizens in Rogers, Mayes and Washington counties. The innovative RSU Works programs allow the university to reach virtually anywhere in the world with internet connection,” Austin said. “This is a prime example of how the university continues to be a great partner with the Cherokee Nation. RSU is reinforcing its commitment to helping Cherokee Nation ensure our native traditions survive. I’m excited to see the positive impact this will have on the future of our language.”
RSU President Dr. Larry Rice said the Cherokee language classes available via RSU Works will be a natural continuation of the university’s ongoing partnership with the Cherokee Nation.
“RSU and the Cherokee Nation have long been partners in projects that advance educational opportunities and foster a deeper appreciation for Cherokee culture,” Rice said. “The Cherokee language courses at RSU Works serve as good introduction for the college-level, credit courses RSU offers in Cherokee language, as well as our degree programs in Native American studies.”
Around 3,000 students of all ages and from all corners of the world take the Cherokee Nation’s online language courses each year. Classes are offered live and archived videos and materials are also posted online for those who have conflicting schedules.
“At this time, enrollment in Cherokee language classes via RSU Works does not directly link to college credit courses; however, enrolling in and completing Fields’ online classes could enhance students’ success in college-level credit language classes,” said RSU TV General Manager Royal Aills. “Fields’ teaching approach could serve as a prep, refresher and learning resource for anyone wanting to pursue Cherokee I or Cherokee II at RSU on the Pryor and Claremore campuses this fall. The addition of the free Cherokee language classes to our RSU Works course catalog reflects our ongoing commitment to address this historical and culturally significant demographic within our service region.”
Cherokee Nation’s spring Cherokee language class begins April 9 with participants gathering online one hour per day, two days a week. Courses are available for beginning, intermediate and advanced learners.
To view the class schedule and to register through RSU Works, log on to www.RSUworks.org and enter “Cherokee language” in the search field, then click on “See Detail.”