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KNL2001 Indigenous Knowledge and Australian Heritage

Semester 2, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : Centre for Australian Indigenous Knowledges
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Kaye Price
Moderator: Jon Austin


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;
  2. examine and discuss forms of Indigenous Australian knowledge and their relationship to Indigenous Australian societies and cultures;
  3. discuss and explain the critical nature, and best practice, of managing and recording Australian Indigenous knowledge;
  4. identify cultural issues in the relationship between Indigenous Australians and the media;
  5. identify cultural issues in the print and non-print media reproduction of Australian Indigenous knowledge and traditional wisdom;
  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;
  7. demonstrate knowledge of Research Ethics in the managing and recording of Australian Indigenous knowledge.


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 & Stringer, E 1997, Indigenous knowledge, indigenous learning, indigenous research, Curtin University Indigenous Research Centre, Perth.
  • Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2000, 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.

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
COMPARE & CONTRAST IK 30 30 10 Aug 2012
ESSAY (CHOICE OF TOPICS) 40 40 28 Sep 2012
ESSAY & REFLECTION 30 30 26 Oct 2012

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility 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. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

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

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

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

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. 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 one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary 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.

  9. 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).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. 1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.