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Rhonda Oliver Curtin University Debra Bennell University of New England

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Presentation on theme: "Rhonda Oliver Curtin University Debra Bennell University of New England"— Presentation transcript:

1 Rhonda Oliver Curtin University Debra Bennell University of New England

2 Project team members Simon Forrest (Curtin University) Inala Cooper (Monash University) Roz Anderson (Charles Darwin University) Guido Posthausen (University of New England) Research assistant Mike Exell (Curtin University) Funding Office of Learning & Teaching, DEEWR

3 Instrument Development (stage 1): Schedule of open ended questions for staff and students. Students questions were also made available online – 10 students also responded via the online survey. Data collection (stage 1): Some 56 students chose to be interviewed across the 4 participating universities, 38 staff also volunteered to be interviewed. 10 students also participated in focus group discussions. Students were offered a voucher for Coles for participating. Instrument Development (stage 2): A further survey based on findings from the above was developed for national online circulation. Ipad prizes were offered for entry. Data collection (stage 2): The survey was advertised nationally through IHEAC centres (Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council): a further 91 responses were collected. An online hub and website for project communication.

4 Project team website

5 Our visit to UNE

6 Our visit to CDU

7 Our visit to Curtin

8 Our visit to Monash

9 Our project team communication facility

10 Students page

11 Online survey instructions

12 Student interviews – identified factors leading to success: 1.Support considered necessary: Friendly accommodation Bridging courses Approachable lecturers and tutors Family support More feedback from lecturers/tutors More financial support

13 Student interviews - identified factors leading to success: 2. Integration into university community of practice Being surrounded by like-minded people, hearing their stories Overcoming initial feelings of being overwhelmed Wanting to inspire ones children Learning to write and talk formally Note: This sense of belonging to a community of practice was not experienced by students studying externally.

14 Student interviews - identified factors leading to success: 3. Personal characteristics Being intrinsically motivated (having passion; not wanting to be another statistic; putting your mind to it Having strong self-identity, sense of self as an Aboriginal Taking on personal responsibility Having pride in achievement (ie, in attending university) Dealing with shame Managing commitment to family

15 Student interviews – the place of Aboriginal heritage: Inclusion in relevant units only (history, sociology) Can provide greater recognition of Indigenous achievement Exposes one to racism Provides units with greater drawcard for Aboriginal students

16 Student interviews – the place of Indigenous centres: Less needed when other support systems are in place Favoured more by ex-bridging students Separation from main campus both positive and negative Support provided by centres highly valued Advantageous for struggling students and those returning to studies Enables learning to use to university online software (eg, moodle)

17 Staff interviews – observed initiatives for enhancing Aboriginal enrolments/experience: Extensive advertising in Indigenous press and media Centre staff teaching into mainstream units Keeping in contact with students (website, SMS, etc) Inviting unit co-ordinators to meet students Exploring why you want to study Conscious of not being well prepared so are more eager to learn than non-Indigenous students

18 Staff interviews – observed issues for Aboriginal student experience: Lack of cultural awareness PD for university staff Entry made too easy (some students may not be suited to university) Course advisors assume Aboriginal students want to study Indigenous history/issues Staff too soft on Indigenous students Expecting expertise in Aboriginality despite cultural protocols Lack of communication between faculty Indigenous Liaison Officer and Centre staff Some Centres reluctant to engage with mainstream university

19 Staff interviews – observed issues for Aboriginal student experience: Aboriginal students expect to learn from white people University Expos unsuitable for Aboriginal students Centres situated apart from university, often not well signed University economic constraints – fewer places to meet, establish buddies systems, etc Aboriginal student representatives no longer exist Reluctant to engage with online learning Communities place unreasonable expectations on students Personal issues (family, funerals - lack of empowerment to release oneself from these obligations, finance, health, housing, child care, homelessness)

20 Best Practice in Teaching Informal approach, creating a relationship, share background, be yourself Adjust timetables to fit with family commitments - classes 10-11am, 11am - 1pm independent study, tutes 1 - 3pm Invite role models in all spheres Get the right mix for group work Invite Aboriginal Artist to work with students who then write about what they have created Discourage poor fella me attitudes Make subject matter relevant Respond to desire for broader general knowledge (quizzes, word games)

21 Best Practice in Teaching Use graphics – mind-maps, etc Accommodate code-switching Separate males and females in discussion groups Invite personal experience, yarning Know the history Walk with them (to bookshop, café, library) Set rules (only emergency phone calls etc, need to advise of time commitments, eg, pick up children) Avoid jargon until its learnt (provides glossaries, etc) Provide opportunities for students to show their skills (eg, arrange for them to present workshops to community, agencies, etc)


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