Developing a Digital Equity SIG

ASCILITE session

Julie Willems
RMIT University

Helen Farley
University of Southern Queensland

Chris Campbell
Griffith University

Catch this session

Wednesday 6 December, 12pm – 12.30pm
Stream 6
Room T125


Digital equity is a vital consideration in higher education. In line with the Bradley Report (2008), higher education institutions are aiming to widen participation for certain equity groups including those from low socio-economic backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Australians among others. In addition, there are differences in the use and adoption of technologies between genders, with women being less likely to access both technology and the internet. As universities strive to recruit an ever more diverse student cohort, they are struggling to meet those cohorts’ needs in terms of technology and access. The aims of the Digital Equity SIG are to: identify and explore the issues, challenges and opportunities relating to digital equity and to bring these to the attention of ASCILITE members and the broader higher education community; provide guidance and advice to members on issues relating to digital equity; foster the development of initiatives, innovation and practices relating to digital equity; and to foster collaboration around digital equity projects, publications and practices. In light of this, the Digital Equity SIG will promote the scholarship of digital equity as a core, continuing, and ethical stream for ASCILITE; promote scholarship in the field of digital equity; award research in digital equity; and act as a focus for the digital equity community and disseminate research findings and best practice.

About the authors

Julie Willems

Dr Julie Willems holds qualifications in Nursing, the Humanities, and Education. She has worked across the Australian education sectors and, since 2004, has specialised in Higher Education. Her current position is as a Senior Lecturer in RMIT University’s Learning and Teaching Academy. Julie’s research interests include the promotion of educational and digital equity as social justice issues, and the media and technology of formal and informal learning (including social media). She was a recipient of the auDA Foundation’s national 2011 research grant for the i-Survive Project investigating the use of ‘back channel’ communications via mobile technologies and social media during Australian emergencies and disasters. Julie has a community focus and has actively served on a number of committees and boards over the course of her career, and is currently in her second term on the national Executive for Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) (2015 – ). Julie has recently been recognised as a leader in open, online and distance learning in the Australia-Pacific region (

Helen Farley

Dr Helen Farley is an Associate Professor, Digital Life Lab, University of Southern Queensland.
Helen led the USQ-led Collaborative Research Network (CRN) project with ANU and UniSA to develop a Mobile Learning Evaluation Framework. She is an AJET associate editor, editor of an edited book on mobile learning in the Asia-Pacific region, guest editor of the AJET special issue on mobile AR & VR, and a core member of the ASCILITE Mobile Learning SIG.

Chris Campbell

Chris, works at the Centre for Learning Futures at Griffith University where she teaches into the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. In her specific field of Digital Technologies Chris is an emerging research leader who has been involved in numerous grants and projects around digital technologies and mobile learning. Her skills in implementing and trialing new technologies are documented in over 50 publications where she has conducted research in online tools in educational settings, including LAMS, Second Life and Assistive eXtra Learning Environments as well as research in technology integration, mobile learning and augmented reality. In 2016, Chris was a Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship holder she investigated the Smithsonian Learning Lab and implications for teachers. Chris has a keen interest in MLearning and has published various papers pertaining to TPACK and mathematics education.