A Participatory Approach to the Inclusion of Indigenous Australians in Information Technology

Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. (ACM)
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of The 11th Biennial Participatory Design Conference, 2010, pp. 207 - 210
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Improving Indigenous access to university education has been a major focus in Australia over the last four decades. However, despite success in several areas of recognised priority to the Indigenous community, participation in Information Technology (IT) degree programs remained very low throughout the 1980s and â90s. The University of Technology, Sydney began a project to address this very issue in 2001. The Indigenous Participation in IT Project was initiated by the Faculty of Information Technology in collaboration with Indigenous Australians and members of staff of the Faculty. This project culminated in the design of a participatory IT program that has successfully seen the numbers of Indigenous students and staff in the Faculty increase. A number of factors were identified as contributing to this success. These included an improvement to recruitment processes, the building of a personalised approach to student support and the growing acceptance of the program as part of the academic culture of the faculty. Additionally, of great importance has been the development of the program as a collaboration between Indigenous staff and students and nonIndigenous staff at all levels of decision making and implementation.
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