Dr Peter Radoll from the University of Canberra will be tweeting for @Edutweetoz for NAIDOC week. Here is a little about him.
Please tell us a little about yourself. What is your current role and what does it involve?
I am an Assistant Professor in Information Systems at the University of Canberra. I have been in this role for almost 12 months. Prior to this role, I was the Director of the Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre at the Australian National University for over 5 years. I am from the Anaiwan people of the Armidale region of New South Wales. I have six children: two are at university studying Science degrees, one is at TAFE studying Cultural Arts and the other three are being home educated. I completed Year 10 and being disengaged with school, like many Aboriginal kids, I left. Before heading off to university, I was a motor mechanic for 11 years. I have two degrees in Information Technology from the University of Canberra and a PhD in Information Systems from the Australian National University.
At the moment, I teach first year Information Systems. It is taught in a multi-mode format; face-to-face at UC, online and remotely at UCs distance partner institution in Melbourne. As you might imagine, I make extensive use of ICTs to deliver material and interact with my students. Last semester I had just over 350 students in both undergraduate and postgraduate streams.
While ICTs and teaching are important to me, my biggest passion is to get more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to complete university.
What do you plan to talk about on Edutweetoz this week?
I plan to tweet about the positive things about the Indigenous community and also tweet about the challenges. I hope to share some of my research on the uses and challenges the Indigenous community faces in engaging with ICTs. I will be presenting to the Indigenous Financial Services Network and their Indigenous Advisory Group on Indigenous digital access during this week and I hope to share some thoughts from those gatherings. As it is NAIDOC week I will also be tweeting from various events that I will be attending. I hope to generate some discussions about Indigenous education.
Who are your teaching role models and why?
Academia is a little strange. Teaching is important, but your performance expectations also include research, industry engagement, academic leadership, grant funding and of course, publications. It would be difficult to list all my role models through the different stages of my career. It is a bit like the metaphor “it takes a village to raise a child”. The late Aunty Pat Davis-Hurst AO (Hon. Litt.D.) was someone who I deeply admired. She was a great support during my transition from motor mechanic through to the completion of my PhD. Professor Marcia Langton and Professor Martin Nakata have laid the foundation for many of us and continue to develop and mentor Indigenous students to complete PhDs. Professor Larissa Behrendt, Dr Anita Heiss, Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney, all of who I now consider friends, have also inspired me along the way. I have two non-Indigenous role models, Professor Richard Baker who I admire for his genuine concern and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and his outstanding teaching abilities, and Professor Keith Houghton for his leadership and genuine concern for equity issues. Both assisted me with the completion of my PhD.
What issues do you think are most pressing for teachers today?
I think all teachers have similar challenges. We are living in dynamic times where knowledge is increasing at a faster rate than ever before. Students live full, complicated and busy lives and this leaves little time for education.
At the moment we have some universities putting all their teaching and course materials online for free using a model known as MOOCs (Massive Online Open Communities) while other universities are rushing to digitise all their teaching materials so their courses can be taught wholly online in the hope of increasing market share. At the same time we are seeing major cuts to university funding and all universities are looking to create efficiencies through IT systems, less degree offerings and fewer staff.
Besides the above issues, I think achieving higher, consistent educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is something we all need to think about.
What are your hopes for education in the next 10 years?
I hope we do see an education revolution in Australia. I hope we see better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. I hope we don’t lose our humanness as we move to teaching online.
To learn more about Peter or connect with him, you follow him on Twitter – @peterradoll