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KNL2001 Indigenous Knowledge and Australian Heritage

Semester 2, 2011 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : Centre for Australian Indigenous Knowledges
Version produced : 8 March 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Myra Singh
Moderator: John Williams-Mozley


Dominant (Eurocentric) forms of knowledge and understanding have become equated with universal epistemologies. By comparison, Indigenous peoples worldwide have a knowledge base which is at odds with and excluded by such an epistemological structure. This dearth of recognition, interest and understanding needs to be addressed. An understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island knowledge systems will provide greater insights for both scientists, educators and researchers alike, equipping them with knowledge and skills to enhance their working relationships with and for Indigenous Australians. A course based on Australian Indigenous knowledge will enhance learning, skills development and the delivery of effective, culturally inclusive pedagogy and research for all Australians. Also, such a course would provide students with a greater capacity for managing and recording Indigenous knowledge, as students would gain greater appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures. This course is part of a suite of Indigenous courses on offer at the University of Southern Queensland through the Centre for Australian Indigenous Knowledges. These courses are designed to form major or minor studies in Australian Indigenous Studies. Students undertaking research in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contexts may find this course useful as an elective.


A course on managing and recording Indigenous knowledge should provide a comprehensive understanding of traditional knowledge systems related to the environment, technology and science, language and communication, survival skills, artefacts and weapons, economics, kinship and social organisation. Essentially the course will present an overview of elements of traditional Indigenous knowledge, how it is used and how it has survived change and the processes we need to follow to manage it, and to record it. The course will endeavour to explain the importance of knowledge to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and societies to the learner. It will illustrate the need to record and manage the knowledge of different groups to document such knowledge. In this course, students should gain knowledge and understanding of: The structure and influence of knowledge, communication and language globally, and in Indigenous and non-indigenous societies, and how knowledge can be utilised and managed; The importance of oral history and traditions and their relationship to nature, the customs and behaviours of Australian Indigenous societies and cultures; Indigenous intellectual property rights and copyright, Government legislation and policy formulation in relation to Australia Indigenous societies and cultures; Cultural Heritage and Native Title Legislation - implications for Indigenous Australian peoples; Research ethics in Indigenous contexts.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the elements and applications of knowledge globally, and among Indigenous peoples internationally; (Assessment 1)
  2. Examine and discuss forms of Indigenous Australian knowledge and their relationship to Indigenous Australian societies and cultures; (Assessment 1,3)
  3. Discuss and explain the critical nature, and best practice, of managing and recording Australian Indigenous knowledge; (Assessment 1,2,3)
  4. Identify cultural issues in the relationship between Indigenous Australians and the media; (Assessment 2)
  5. Identify cultural issues in the print and non-print media reproduction of Australian Indigenous knowledge and traditional wisdom; (Assessment 2,3)
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of intellectual property rights, copyright laws and legislation in relation to preserving the cultures of Australian Indigenous peoples including Native Title and Cultural Heritage legislation; (Assessment 2,3)
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of Research Ethics in the managing and recording of Australian Indigenous knowledge. (Assessment 2,3)


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to the nature of knowledge 10.00
2. Indigenous knowledge: elements and characteristics 7.50
3. Australian Indigenous Knowledge 7.50
4. Australian Indigenous Knowledge 7.50
5. Recording cultural knowledge 10.00
6. Preserving and managing Indigenous Knowledge 10.00
7. Aspects of media intrusion on Indigenous Knowledge globally 7.50
8. Impact of media intrusion on Australian Indigenous Knowledge 7.50
9. Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Laws 7.50
10. Intellectual Property rights, Copyright law and Indigenous Australian knowledge 7.50
11. Research and Ethics in a cross-cultural setting 7.50
12. Ethical Research Considerations and Guidelines 7.50
13. Reflection and Revision 2.50

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Abdullah, J and Stringer, E 1997, Indigenous knowledge, indigenous learning, indigenous research, Curtin University Indigenous Research Centre, Perth.
  • Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2002, Guidelines for Ethical Research in Indigenous Studies.
    (May, Canberra.)
  • McDonald, I 1999, Indigenous arts and copyright: a practical guide, Australian Copyright Council, Redfern, NSW.
  • Sefa Dei, GL, Hall, BL and Rosenberg, DG (Eds) 2000, Indigenous knowledges in global contexts: multiple readings of our world, University of Toronto Press, Toronto.
  • Semali, LM & Kincheloe, JL (Eds) 1999, What is Indigenous knowledge?: Voices from the academy, Falmer Press, New York.
  • Williams, NM 1998, Intellectual property and aboriginal environmental knowledge, Northern Territory University, Darwin.
    (Centre for Indigenous Natural and Cultural Resource Management.)

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 36.00
Directed Study 39.00
Private Study 90.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ESSAY (CHOICE OF TOPICS) 40 40 30 Sep 2011
ESSAY AND REFLECTION 60 30 28 Oct 2011

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to actively participate in all classes scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete the assignments, students must gain at least 50% of the marks available for each of the assignments.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    An assignment, submitted after the due date without an extension approved by the Examiner, will attract a penalty up to 5% of the assigned mark up to ten days (or part there of) that the assignment is late.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of a passing grade for the course, students must demonstrate, via the assessment items in the Assessment Details section that they have achieved at least 50% of the total marks available for the course. Students who do not qualify for a Passing grade may, at the discretion of the Examiner, be assigned additional work to demonstrate to the Examiner that they have achieved the standard required for a Pass. It is expected that such students will have gained at least 45% of the total marks available for all assessment items.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    Final grades for students will be determined by the addition of the marks obtained in each assessment item, weighted as in the Assessment Details section. Marking criteria will be provided in course material as mark sheets/guides or as part of assignment specifications.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable for this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Please refer to the USQ Handbook regarding overall course assessment information. Further assessment information for this course is in the Course Introductory book.

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must submit the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the submission date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner. The student must retain this copy until the grade for this course has been finalised.

  3. The examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next working day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  5. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete - Make up). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non-directed personal study.

  6. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  7. When there is more than one marker for a single item of assessment, the distributed patterns and means for the different markers will be compared and marks adjusted if necessary.

  8. The Faculty will normally only accept assessments that have been written, typed or printed on paper-based media.

  9. Marking criteria are provided in course material as mark sheets/guides or as part of assignment specifications.

  10. All assessment items must be submitted and passed.

  11. Summative assessment items will receive a numerical score.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and Internet access to UConnect for this course.

  2. Students are to use a recognised referencing system as specified by the course examiner.

  3. In accordance with the University's Assignment Extension Policy (Regulation 5.6.1), the Examiner of a course may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances. This policy may be found in the USQ Handbook, and the Distance Education Student Guide for new on-campus students. All students are advised to study and follow the guidelines associated with this policy.