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National recognition for USQ program educating prisoners

lady standing with ipad
USQ Associate Professor Helen Farley led the team involved in USQ’s Connecting4Success program which was recognised at the 2016 Australian Awards for University Teaching.
A USQ program enabling prisoners access to higher education and supporting incarcerated students to improve digital literacies has received a national award for its outstanding contribution to higher education.

USQ’s Connecting4Success program was recognised at the 2016 Australian Awards for University Teaching, winning the Programs that Enhance Learning (Widening Participation) category.

The announcement was made at a ceremony in Canberra yesterday (December 1).

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas congratulated the team on the excellent outcome and commended their important work.

“The Programs that Enhance Learning Award acknowledges programs and services that make an outstanding contribution to the quality of student learning and the quality of the student experience of higher education,” Professor Thomas said.

“The Connecting4Success accolade is a significant achievement and acknowledgement of this team’s excellent and meaningful work.”

Connecting4Success is comprised of four projects that enables prisoner access to digital higher education and supports incarcerated students to develop digital literacies, preparing them for the workforce or further study upon release from custody.

Team leader Associate Professor Helen Farley said the projects developed and deployed interactive course materials and activities on digital technologies that don’t require internet access, which is prohibited in most Australian prisons.

“Courses are delivered using a modified version of USQ’s learning management system, deployed via notebook computers or a server networked into prison computer labs,” she said.

“The program improves the learning experiences for prisoners across Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory with more than 1200 enrollments.

“The latest project specifically addresses Indigenous over representation in prisons by providing culturally appropriate courses. It has also developed career planning resources to assist prisoners in reimagining their lives post-release.”