Activities in democracy and kindness in tertiary learning

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This presentation provides examples of how the authors and people studying online have engaged in co-design.

People studying online bring with them a lifetime of experiences and knowledges. That expertise and experience often comes from the sector relevant to their tertiary study; suiting it to incorporation into subject materials helping to keep subjects contemporary. This supports innovation and encourages us to be critically reflective within our practice. Inclusion in the learning environment builds belonging and connectivity, engendering reciprocal respect, and collegiality. This challenges the usual hierarchy of teacher/student. Informed by Indigenist theories, kindness in pedagogy,and approaches to democratising teaching and learning practices, this presentation provides examples of how the authors and people studying online have engaged in co-design.


Rohena Duncombe

Rohena worked in community health and combined practice with teaching for many years. Her research interests are in health ineaquality, service access, group work approaches to anxiety management and inclusive tertiary learning strategies.

Katrina Gersbach

Katrina Gersbach teaches child welfare, counselling, group work and case management at Charles Sturt University. Katrina draws on her social work practice background working alongside children and their families, using strengths based and trauma informed approaches within her teaching and research. Katrina is an early career researcher with research interests in learning and teaching within higher education, as well as child well-being.

Dr Peta Jeffries

Dr Peta Jeffries is a Lecturer of Indigenous Studies in the School of Indigenous Australian Studies (SIAS) at Charles Sturt University (CSU). Peta is the Course Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Cultural Competency and is committed to increasing culturally responsive practices across disciplines. Peta’s interdisciplinary research and ethnographic histories focus on the co-production of social and ecological knowledges, and processes of silencing, drawing on visual representations, literature, narrative, oral histories, social memories, and archival records. Her work is published as book chapters by CSIRO and the Australian Journal of Islamic Studies. Peta has worked for GunditjMirring and Glenelg Hopkins in an Indigenous led project developing a traditional ecological knowledge resource. Peta’s work draws upon feminist, arts-based and practice led, anti-oppressive, decolonising, eco-social, Indigenist and Indigenous theories.

Dr Monica Short

Dr Monica Short is a Senior Lecturer and Social Science Researcher in the School of Social Work and Arts at Charles Sturt University. Community engagement, collaboration and narratives are central to Monica’s research. Monica works cross-disciplinary, integrating knowledge from social work, sociology and theology. Monica facilitates the International Network of Co-operative Inquirers, (please see and is a Centre Scholar with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture based in Charles Sturt University.

Dr Emma Rush

Dr Emma Rush brings ethical knowledge, and the clarity and rigour that are characteristic philosophical skills, to areas outside philosophy. Emma holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Philosophy and French and a PhD in Philosophy, both from the University of Melbourne. Emma is a member of the International Network of Co-operative Inquirers and a member of the Environmental and Social Justice research group at Charles Sturt University. As the lead author of two papers on the sexualisation of children released by the Australia Institute in 2006 (, Emma prompted considerable public debate, ultimately leading to a Senate Inquiry into the issue. Emma continues to work in areas related to the issue of the sexualisation of children, producing pieces variously addressed to academic, professional and general audiences.


6 September 2022
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm AEST
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