Morten Asfeldt

Professor, Augustana - Social Sciences


Professor, Augustana - Social Sciences
(780) 679-1158
2-307 Faith & Life Centre
4901-46 Ave
Camrose AB
T4V 2R3



My home within the University of Alberta is in the Augustana Faculty in Camrose, an undergraduate liberal arts and sciences faculty. During my academic career, I have developed many international teaching and research connections and collaborations most notably in Scandinavia, the UK, and Japan. I grew-up in northern Canada (Newfoundland and Yukon) and have spent the last 30 years traveling by canoe, raft, foot, snowshoe, and dogsled to many parts of the NWT and Nunavut. One of the most gratifying aspects of my academic career has been sharing my love and knowledge of the north with students and colleagues from around the world.


My research and teaching are tightly interwoven. My research explores questions that have arisen from my experience of teaching which includes spending hundreds of days and nights with students on extended wilderness educational expeditions, particularly in the Canadian north. For example, my research has explored perceived learning, critical elements, lasting impacts of wilderness educational expeditions, sense-of-place, journal writing, and research methods. In many ways, my research is a form of self-reflection on my experience of teaching with the goal of improving and understanding my life of teaching. In partnership with Dr. Rebecca Purc-Stephenson, we hold a SSRHC grant investigating the philosophies, characteristics, and goals of Outdoor Education in Canada.


My teaching is primarily in the areas of outdoor, adventure, and experiential education. Many of my courses include wilderness expeditions such as canoeing, dogsledding, and hiking. However, these activities are primarily a means-to-an-end. The end I seek is a liberal education where students learn about themselves, working in groups, leadership, the world around them, and, of course, the development of wilderness travel skills while pursing the specific disciplinary goals of a particular course. Pedagogically, I seek to create organic learning experiences that encourage students to engage head, hands, and heart.


AUCSL 480 - Directed Study in Community Service-Learning

Individual study opportunity on topics for which no specific course is currently offered. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor based on completion of a CSL placement (a record of courses and students can be found in the Learning and Beyond office).

AUIDS 286 - Selected Topics in Place-Based Studies

Selected topics in place-based learning in specific off-campus locations. The focus and content of each course are determined by student and faculty interests, and may vary from year to year. The course will take a specific place as the location and subject of study. The locations of study can be international or closer to home, but in all instances will encourage a significant engagement with the place. Note: AUIDS 286 is classified as an arts course.

AUPED 180 - Outdoor Skills for Work and Recreation

This course is designed to provide students with the foundational skills and knowledge for safe and enjoyable work and recreational experiences in the outdoors. Students will develop skills such as personal thermoregulation, efficient camp management, trip planning, equipment selection and repair, food planning and water treatment, knots and shelters, fire lighting and stove use, axe and saw use, outdoor cooking and a variety of safety skills including hypothermia prevention and treatment and bear safety. Skills will be practiced during weekly labs and other short local field experiences.

AUPED 184 - Introduction to Outdoor Education - Snowshoeing

Introduction to winter travel skills of snowshoe, hand-hauled toboggan, and wall tent living. The course examines a variety of outdoor education theories and perspectives regarding leadership, group dynamics, and nature-human relationships. In addition, placed-based educational strategies will be used to develop a broad understanding of the expedition route. Note: The course requires participation on a multi-day overnight field trip. Students are required to provide personal outdoor clothing and equipment.

AUPED 281 - Explorations of the Canadian North

In this course students will examine the Canadian North from an experiential perspective. Students will study the many factors involved in an extended winter expedition in sub-arctic Canada and will spend two weeks in the North participating in dogsled expedition, seminars, personal narrative writing, and a variety of other outdoor activities. In addition, students will analyze narratives from the Canadian North, with a focus on the expedition region. This course includes a 17-day expedition during February Spring Break and the week following. Prerequisite: One of AUPED 184, 283, 284 or 286, or equivalent; consent of the instructor. Requires payment of additional instructional support fees. Refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations section of the Calendar.

AUPED 284 - Introduction to Outdoor Education - Canoeing

Introduction to theoretical and practical aspects of outdoor education. The course examines a variety of outdoor education theories and perspectives regarding leadership, group dynamics, and nature-human relationships. In addition, outdoor skills needed for wilderness canoe tripping will be developed. Note: The course requires participation on a multi-day overnight field trip. Students are required to provide personal outdoor clothing and equipment. Prerequisite: second-year standing. Note: Credit may only be received for one of AUPED 283 and 284.

AUPED 380 - Solo Outdoor Experiences for Wellness

Spending time alone in natural places has a long tradition in the human experience. These experiences of silence and solitude have been sources of wisdom, self-awareness, and physical and mental wellbeing as well as served as a rite of passage for some people and cultures. This course will include regular readings followed by solo explorations in local urban parks and green spaces with the goal of having students discover a Listening Point that might serve as a foundation for wellness and a lifetime practice of solo and solitude.

Browse more courses taught by Morten Asfeldt


Outdoor education in Canadian post-secondary education: common philosophies, goals, and activities

Author(s): Morten Asfeldt, Rebecca Purc-Stephenson, Thomas Zimmerman
Publication Date: 8/24/2022
Publication: Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
Volume: Advanced Online - Open Access
DOI: 10.1007/s42322-022-00102-4
External Link:

Outdoor education in Canadian public schools: Connecting children and youth to people, place,and environment

Author(s): Morten Asfeldt, Rebecca Purc-Stephenson, Thomas Zimmerman
Publication Date: 8/5/2022
Publication: Environmental Education Research
Volume: Advanced Online - Open Access
Page Numbers: 1510-1526
DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2022.2061919
External Link:

The History of Outdoor Learning in Canada

Author(s): Simon Priest, Morten Asfeldt
Publication Date: 6/13/2022
Publication: The International Journal of Sport History
Volume: Advanced Online
DOI: 10.1080/09523367.2022.2083108
External Link:

On Becoming a Place-Responsive Paddler

Author(s): Morten Asfeldt
Publication Date: 5/13/2022
Publication: In Henderson, B. and Blenkinsop, S. (2022). Paddling Pathways: Reflections on a Changing Landscape. Your Nickel's Worth Publishing.
Page Numbers: 131-144
External Link:

On Becoming a Reflective Practitioner

Author(s): Morten Asfeldt, Paul Stonehouse
Publication Date: 11/2/2021
Publication: In Thomas, G., Dyment, J., Prince, H. (eds) Outdoor Environmental Education in Higher Education. International Explorations in Outdoor and Environmental Education, vol 9. Springer, Cham
Page Numbers: 337-348
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-75980-3_28
External Link:

Outdoor education in Canada: A qualitative investigation

Author(s): Morten Asfeldt, Rebecca Purc-Stephenson, Mikeala Rawleigh, Sydney Thackeray
Publication Date: 6/26/2020
Publication: Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
Volume: Advanced Online
External Link:

Exploring the benefits of combined outdoor adventure education adn dual-immersion short-term study abroad experiences

Author(s): Morten Asfeldt, Takako Takano
Publication Date: 5/1/2020
Publication: Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad
Volume: 32
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 12-33
External Link:

We are wilderness explorers: A review of outdoor education in Canada.

Author(s): Purc-Stephenson, R.; Rawleigh, M.; Kemp, H. & Asfeldt, M.
Publication Date: 5/1/2019
Publication: Journal of Experiential Education
Issue: Advance Online
Page Numbers: 1-18
External Link:

Group writing, reflection, and discovery: A model for enhancing learning on wilderness educational expeditions

Author(s): Asfeldt, M., Hvenegaard, G. & Stephenson, R.
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Journal of Experiential Education
Volume: 41
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 241-260
External Link:

Becoming-crocus, becoming-river, becoming-bear: A relational materialist exploration of place.

Author(s): Mikeals, J. & Asfeldt, M.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: The Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education.
Volume: 20
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 2-13
External Link:

Students’ perceptions of group journal writing as a tool for enhancing sense of community on wilderness educational expeditions

Author(s): Asfeldt, Purc-Stephenson, Hvenegaard
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership
Volume: 9
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 323-339
External Link:

Trusting the journey: Embracing the unpredictable and difficult to measure nature of wilderness educational expeditions.

Author(s): Asfeldt, M. & Beames, S.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Journal of Experiential Education.
Volume: 40
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 72-86
External Link:

What is experiential education

Author(s): Asfeldt, M.
Publication: The Teaching Professor
Volume: 31
Issue: 10
Page Numbers: 1, 7.