eLearning Incarcerated: Digital Humanities in Australian Prisons

By Susan Hopkins and Helen Farley.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 5, 2015 $US5.00

This paper discusses an Australian trial of mobile learning technologies, including internet-independent eBook readers loaded with a tertiary preparation Humanities course, within Queensland Correctional Centers. While delivering economic efficiencies, improved access, and flexibility for some, the digital revolution may also be reducing opportunities for the most isolated, marginalized, and disadvantaged of students such as incarcerated students and other groups without direct internet access. Based on prison focus groups with incarcerated students and direct participant observation while tutoring incarcerated tertiary preparation students within four correctional centres around South East Queensland, Australia, this paper explores the obstacles faced by incarcerated students in light of the increasing integration of technologically mediated materials and methods in higher education. This paper argues that technology-centered approaches alone will not adequately address the challenges of digital literacy, access, equity, and participation for incarcerated tertiary students unless such interventions are informed by an understanding of the unique sociocultural context of learning within prisons. The challenge is to ensure incarcerated students are not left behind in this digital age and to balance institutional priorities such as order and security against opportunities for authentic, current, and transformative learning experiences within the Humanities.

Keywords: eLearning, Incarcerated Students, Digital Literacy, Digital Inclusion

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 13, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.37-45. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 287.936KB)).

Dr. Susan Hopkins

Associate Lecturer, Open Access College, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia

Dr. Helen Farley

Senior Lecturer (Digital Futures), Australian Digital Futures Institute, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia