Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education

Digital learning without connectivity: How one project is taking higher education to incarcerated students, 21 March 2016


As universities move increasingly online, they risk further marginalising those students without access to reliable internet. Very often these students are already marginalised and may include those in remote Indigenous communities, those in rural, regional and remote Australia, FIFO DIDO workers employed in the mining sector and of course, incarcerated students. This webinar will report on a project, which won an ascilite Innovation Award in 2015, that is enabling incarcerated students to access digital higher education. It will describe some of the challenges encountered when students try to engage with formal learning without internet access and provide some strategies to educators for engaging this cohort.


Helen Farley is an Associate Professor (Digital Futures) at the Australian Digital Futures Institute at the University of Southern Queensland. She is currently leading the USQ-led Collaborative Research Network (CRN) project with ANU and UniSA to develop a Mobile Learning Evaluation Framework. She was also the project lead of the OLT-funded ‘From Access to Success’ project which developed an internet-independent version of Moodle that will enable electronic access to course materials and activities for those students without internet access. This project has been so successful that Helen and ADFI were awarded $4.4 million through the Australian Government’s Higher Education Participation and Pathways Program to take the Moodle and notebook computers to Indigenous and non-Indigenous incarcerated students across Australia. Helen has many years’ experience as an educator in Higher Education and as a researcher of educational technology. Her research interests are focused around the use of mobile technologies, virtual worlds and using technology to promote participation in Higher Education.



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