Featured,  Research

GO-GN fellowship: first round results of OEP in Cultural learning and Workforce Capabilities

After our first fellowship webinar, I was excited to get writing. The wonderful GOGN support and collegiality left me feeling inspired and revved up to get stuck in to my first set of research tasks (which I had already started, tbh 😉) 

Review: first round results of Open Education Practices in Cultural learning and Workforce Capabilities 

 Criteria are selected and a first iteration of review of the Cultural Capabilities unit I teach in has been covered.  

Given this past semester is just finishing here in Australia, and this year HAS been a clanger, it’s a special time to review a unit; the issues it has are in a lot of ways magnified by the bigger social context of what’s been going on.  

 Main takeaways are: 

  • language use needs more scaffolding across the international cohort. This means more clarity around terminology and creating online language clusters to enable students to speak and study in their own language groups.  
  • more connection is needed to link Cultural capabilities to different knowledge systems; I’m recruiting and recording sector representatives now who speak to our first assignment ( Equity Unbound’s Alt CV) and discuss how they perform culturally specific skills on the job. 
  • Yolngu lecturer mini lessons need scaffolding; The recorded messages from this amazing team are so critical to the unit concepts and ‘how we get there’ via competences they list; this needs more framing. 
  • Student expectations need more scaffolding; I’m establishing more time and space for a weekly orientation and ‘gearshift ‘towards more self-directed learning from more conventional teaching ‘delivery’ 
  • Digital literacies articulated clearly as applied to workforce scenarios  

These factors have informed Summer semester starting in November.  

During the webinar Martin’s question was about the impact of successful fellowship. So here goes: 

We would ideally find out more ways to map humanities-and-culture based workforce competences to degree sectors via OEP – distinguishing technical knowledge from cultural, social, and human processes embedded in daily learning practices, not just as a compliance measure for meeting national accreditation standards.  

When students start applying their ‘degree knowledge’ with cultural understandings, they will be more likely to solve those ‘wicked problems’ in professional contexts.  

This is not an attempt at incorporating all of humanities into other disciplines. This is the problematic aspect of this research; a naïve assumption that the humanities could be parcelled into other schools of thought. Given it is almost 2000 years old this is impossible.  

However, intermingling a small selection of culture and humanities concepts with students in other disciplines could consider this issue of ‘bridging disciplines’ from an inter-cultural perspective. If fostering an openness to other ontologies and making space for collaboration can result in more skills and practical outcomes for students, then it is a win for the open practices that can get us there.  

Design thinking, Realist Evaluation, Game theory, ecology and systems thinking, agile design, logic, and the scientific methods and ‘objectivity’ in research have all had impact on my own research and learning in Cultural knowledges. There are so many skills we can learn from intermingling schools of thought, renovating our institutions and learning from the inside out.  

 I’ll forever remember the fantastic instructor in Camosun College in Canada who taught calculus and logic with MC Escher’s artwork. It was the first time in my life I earned an ‘A’ in anything math related. 

Having some knowledge of other disciplines to critically engage across knowledge systems would not mean an exhaustive understanding. To do our jobs really well; we need to distinguish between our qualifications and how we perform our professional roles. 

  • IT professionals require knowledge to protect culturally informed aspects of identity and dismantle systemically reinforced bias. 
  • Accountants need culturally informed financial literacies to understand how culture affects social and family structure, financial resourcing, ideas of debt and ‘interest’ across lifespans and kinship structures.  
  • Engineers need to understand the human geographies, demography, and social impacts of their infrastructure projects in an increasingly globalised and resource-politicized world.  
  • Nurses, midwives, and health science professionals need to understand culturally informed ideas of health and how it is measured outside clinical contexts in order to more smoothly bridge their world with their patients’ social and economic causes of health issues.  
  • Educators need to understand the policy context their remit comes from and the gaps which exist between their remit and their duty of care to their students’ needs and realities of accessing the curriculum.  

Social scientists understand the fuzziness and un-absolute, iterative, agile responsibility to keep refining knowledge.  We in INSPIRE lab at CDU’s College of Indigenous Futures work in between knowledge systems all the time – between Indigenous, Institution, Government, Industry and Community worlds 

Making these ‘border crossings’ between worlds is second nature to students from ‘International’ and Indigenous backgrounds ; it’s only right that comparatively privileged western, academic, predominantly white and male institutions keep evolving and adjusting to find ways to open up to other systems to keep up with this world.  When the rubber hits the road, taking responsibility for doing our learning and our jobs in a particular WAY that is human-centered can help this world we’re trying to live in.  

You can watch Johanna’s presentation of her fellowship at our meet the fellows mini seminar recording.

Cover photo by Johanna

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