Innovation and frustration go hand in hand: reflections on a project to enhancing the learning experiences of students within prison walls

Murphy, Angela and Farley, Helen (2013) Innovation and frustration go hand in hand: reflections on a project to enhancing the learning experiences of students within prison walls. In: Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia Distance Education Summit (ODLAA 2013): Eeducation Across Space and Time: Meeting the Diverse Needs of the Distance Learner, 4-6 Feb 2013, Sydney, Australia.

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Higher Education is being challenged to change and grow like never before in response to a new cohort of connected, self-motivated, well-informed and savvy generation of students. The drive to develop new and innovative methods for teaching online and distance education students is accompanied by a roller coaster ride through uncharted loops and tunnels. This poster presents a graphical account of the frustrations, challenges and small successes experienced at various points in the road during the development and implementation of an innovative solution for enhancing the educational experiences of incarcerated students.

Incarcerated offenders face a number of additional challenges to those faced by most other students studying at a distance. Lack of internet access is especially problematic for those studying in a sector that is increasingly characterised by online course offerings. In July 2011 the authors formally embarked on a project to develop a solution for some of the barriers to participation in HE experienced by incarcerated students. The project involved collaboration between a number of departments within the university and with external stakeholders including Queensland Correctional Services.

The original aim of the project was to develop a version of Moodle, called Stand-Alone Moodle or SAM that would function on a network of computers used from education inside the prison that were independent of the internet and separated from the main prison computer network. The version of Moodle would provide the students with the same learning experience and study desk functionality that was available to other students. The use of SAM in would also be supported by the use of eBook readers. The inclusion of eBook readers was aimed at enable students to access more course and reference materials than presently available to them as well as alleviate the need to print learning materials in future.

The project was to be deployed in project will be deployed in Semester 1 2012 with a maximum cohort of fifteen incarcerated students enrolled in course TPP7120 Studying to Succeed as part of the Tertiary Preparation Program at the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre near Gatton.

It was early on in the project approval application procedure that the authors began to worry that they had bitten off more than they could chew. The first requirement faced was that the e-Readers to be used for the project were not allowed to have any internet access such as Wi-Fi or 3G capability, no SD card slot and no external battery. We eventually found 17 models of the very unpopular discontinued Sony SD-350. One reviewer on the website commented, who would ever want an e-reader without internet access or SD card slots. Well, we do!

The poster offers a glimpse at these retrospectively amusing project bumps and discuss ways in which future innovation pioneers may be able to overcome some of the quick sand pits along the way.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Poster)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA) 2013
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Australian Digital Futures Institute
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2013 02:31
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 05:34
Uncontrolled Keywords: higher education; evaluation; research; innovation; access and inclusion; digital technologies
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0803 Computer Software > 080306 Open Software
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130312 Special Education and Disability
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940116 Social Class and Inequalities
C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

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