Maree Gosper, Centre for Higher Education and Professional Development, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia. Phone +61-2-9850-9752 Fax: +61-2-9850-9778 firstname.lastname@example.org Home Page [HREF1]
Vivien Johnson, Sociology Department, Macquarie University, Sydney, 2109. Phone +61-2-9850-8069 Fax: +61-2-9850-9355 Vivien.Johnson@mq.edu.au
Higher Education, Copyright, Aboriginal Art, Teaching, Research, Community Service
The World Wide Web has the potential to reconceptualise the way teachers not only design and deliver educational programs, but the way in which universities deliver the three mandates of teaching, research and community service. The House of Aboriginality Website, being developed at Macquarie University, is an example of how teaching, research and community service can be integrated and presented under the one interface. The Website provides a teaching environment that presents students with authentic tasks which support collaborative construction of knowledge through social negotiation. It contributes to research by facilitating the collection and coordination of sightings of products using Aboriginal designs, thus providing a rich database for researchers. As a community service the site acts to disseminate information on Aboriginal culture and identify copyright issues, as well as provide a point of communication for the academic and general community.
The CD-ROM was developed to document Dr Johnson and her students' collection and to make this valuable resource available to the academic and wider community. 'The House of Aboriginality' is a virtual residence, furnished with products from the collection. By navigating through the house, the audience can choose and click on items of interest to obtain information on art designs, and their cultural significance.
Since its development, the CD-ROM has been used for both community outreach and teaching. It formed the multimedia component of a national touring exhibition called 'Copyrites: Aboriginal Art in the Age of Reproductive Technologies' (Spunner,1996 [HREF4]; Johnson, 1996) and, in this role met with wide acclaim (Anderson, 1996). After some minor revision, in 1996 it was used in conjunction with the Internet as a teaching resource for SOC388. With more than 200 items items present in the virtual house, students are exposed to a visually exciting database which reveals the nature and extent of the usage of Aboriginal art. It also helps to focus student research by providing them with quick and easy access to items already located by students from previous years. The Internet is used as a research tool to help locate products currently on the market.
A preliminary evaluation of students' experiences with both the Internet and the CD-ROM was undertaken by Macquarie University's Centre for Higher Education and Professional Development. [HREF5] using a focus group exercise based on the Nominal Group Technique (Roe and McDonald, 1983). Findings indicated that the combination of the Internet and CD-ROM in teaching was both effective and motivational. Specifically:
The site will feature four interrelated components:
Teaching: There is general agreement amongst cognitive and educational researchers that learning is an individualistic process of knowledge construction that is tuned to the situation in which it takes place (Resnick, 1989). From a constructivist perspective, student learning is facilitated by the development of learning environments that present students with authentic tasks which support collaborative construction of knowledge through social negotiation (Brown, Collins & Duguid, 1989; Jonassen, 1994). Such a learning environment is being developed in SOC388 and being supported by 'The House of Aboriginality' CD-ROM and Website. The active research component of the course, essentially requires students to become Copyright Detectives, and in doing so they are developing knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture through the exploration of Aboriginal art. In the process they are also developing practical and vocationally valuable skills in sociological research methods, computing and analysis of complex culturally sensitive materials.
Research: The unprecedented scope of the contemporary 'Aboriginalia' industry is widely considered within the Aboriginal arts community to pose a serious threat to the integrity and hence continuance of Australia's indigenous cultural traditions, and to the economic viability of emerging Aboriginal enterprises. What is needed to understand the extent and scope of this threat is research in the form of a systematic and comprehensive industry study. The Website will provide the means of collecting and coordinating sightings of products using Aboriginal designs thus, providing a rich database to assist reaserchers to form a realistic assessment of the issues.
Community Service: As indicated, the Website will disseminate information on Aboriginal culture and identify copyright issues as well as act as a point of communication for the academic and general community. An extra dimension of community outreach is that through the website, strong lines for communication, both personal and electronic can be established between the project team at Macquarie University and the remote Aboriginal communities which are the home to most of the artists involved in cases of copyright infringement and other exploitative uses.
Brown, J.S., Collins, A. & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational ResearcherJan-Feb, 32-42.
Johnson, V. & 3rd year Sociology students. (1992). The Copyright Issue. Sydney: Macquarie University. Sydney: National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Association & Macquarie University.
Johnson, V. (1996). Copyrites. Aboriginal Art in the Age of reproductive Technologies: Touring Exhibition 1996 Catalogue. Sydney: National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Association & Macquarie University.
Jonassen, J. (1994). Thinking technology. Towards a constructivist design model. Educational Technology, April, 34-37.
Resnick, L. B. (1989) Introduction in, (Resnick L B. (Ed)) Knowing learning and instruction : Essays in honour of Robert Glaser. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Roe, E. & McDonald, R. (1983). Improved Professional Judgment: A guide to evaluation in post-secondary education. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
Maree Gosper, Vivien Johnson © 1997. The authors assigns to Southern CrossUniversity and other educational and non-profitinstitutions a non-exclusive licence to use this documentfor personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. The authors also grants a non-exclusive licence to Southern Cross University to publish this document in full on the World Wide Web and on CD-ROM and in printed form with the conference papers, and for the document to be published on mirrors on the World Wide Web. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the authors.
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