Open for whom? Open educational practice with Indigenous workforce development and learners

  • Johanna Funk

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Public institutions are consistently challenged to appropriately include diverse populations, knowledges and cultures. Public policy sectors can reconcile some of these challenges and support increasingly complex social needs through creative technology design and use. Therefore, improving how technologies facilitate information and knowledge sharing can help us navigate our complex world and better include and learn from excluded peoples and knowledges.

    This study examined four online resources in multidisciplinary contexts and how they performed as open education practices (OEP). Learners, it can be argued, are the focus of the open movement. This study therefore interrogates the different knowledge practices the resources encourage and how they count towards defining a functionally successful ‘openness’ to learners’ knowledge background. I focused on Indigenous public policy resources and explored ways institutions can develop better relationships with learners and knowledge holders and how they value knowledges via OEP. In culturally distinct situations where knowledge is shared differently, western notions of openness require adapting. The focus and title of this study is therefore to examine what OEP are open for mand to whom.

    My research questions were: How do we make OEP more functionally successful for diverse learners? What is ‘open’ about these resources and practices? How are OEP used in these contexts? What are successful outcomes for these OEP, who defines this and what matters?

    I examined how the resources met three sets of criteria to understand how they
    acknowledged and represented knowledges. The study developed several principles for OEP guided by three broad theory statements prior to program design: the ways we use languages needs deeper understanding; contextualising resources connects knowledge management to local realities on multiple levels; and particular ways to use technology can support knowledge sovereignty. By starting with theory statements such as these, we can continue improving engagement between knowledge systems, cultures and sectors via OEP.
    Date of AwardSept 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRuth Wallace (Supervisor) & Linda Ford (Supervisor)

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