ANU, Curtin and UoQ launch the new big thing in MOOCs

October 3 is decision day for Deakin Warrnambool

The Academy of Social Sciences elects 39 new fellows

and (yet more) money for quantum computing

People to avoid

“Run to safety through a terrifying 5km course filled with strange and deranged characters at our Joondalup campus on Saturday 29 October,” Edith Cowan U urges in a promo for a melanoma research fundraiser. Good-o, but “strange and deranged?” that’s no way to talk about university management.

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CSIRO on centre-stage

When Greg Hunt praised CSIRO at a Melbourne dinner on Monday night not everybody was enthralled. The event looked like a CSIRO show but in fact the research agency was a sponsor of the event – which was a dinner for the International School on Research Impact, on this week. “The dinner was listed as a gala black-tie conference event. But some felt they were  a ‘rent a crowd’ for CSIRO,” an attendee tells CMM.

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MOOCs of the morning

CurtinANU and the University of Queensland are launching “micromasters” via edX. The courses stand in their own right but are also an entry to on-campus study in professional masters programmes. The universities are following MIT which announced the first micromasters, in supply chain management, last October, (CMM October 9 2015).

Curtin U is launching a course which “will develop students’ understanding of human rights ideas and practices at local, national and international levels.” People who complete the course can use it for credit in Curtin’s full masters, if they also pass an “entry task.” Curtin is also offering a micro-masters in supply change management as is the University of Queensland. UoQ‘s course is one of four badged as leadership in global development, which cost students $150 each.

ANU is offering seven courses in marketing, management, entrepreneurship and business information, all of which can create opportunities to enrol for the full masters with advance standing for units completed.

Micromasters supports an inverted admissions process, allowing learners everywhere to try Master-level course work from ANU before committing significant time and money toward applying for and enrolling in a master’s degree,” ANU‘s project leader Professor Byron Keating says.

This is super-sensible stuff, just ask Coursera (below).

Word on Warrnambool

An announcement is imminent on the future of Deakin U’s Warrnambool campus. VC Jane den Hollander has told staff that following the university putting a business case to the Commonwealth Canberra has promised funding and that on Friday the university council asked management to make a business case for the campus. Professor den Hollander says she will brief staff on October 3.

Polite excuses

For (prodigious) profit journal publisher Elsevier lists the ten reasons why academics decline to peer review journal submissions. They include too busy (45 per cent) and no expertise (38 per cent) – but funnily enough Elsevier did not mention people seeing no reason why they should participate without payment in a process where it makes money from articles it does not pay for.

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Not the all of innovation

A learned reader suggests that CMM does not quite get the essential distinction between research and development and innovation, as per yesterday’s piece on UNESCO stats on R&D.

Research and development is concentrated in industries like car manufacture and pharmaceutical development, where Australia isn’t as strong as it is in services. “R&D often isn’t a good proxy for innovation. This is especially the case for countries like Australia where our industrial structure revolves around industries like services and mining. These are innovative industries, but are not R&D intensive ones,” the reader suggests.

“It’s not that we don’t have to do better on innovation, clearly we do. But there are voices in the public debate that see R&D as the proxy for innovation and this risks sending us off down the wrong rabbit hole. For example, the policy prescriptions from this view emphasise a simple increase in spending, rather than the nuanced suite of changes required to boost the performance of our national innovation system (for example collaboration between business, government and universities).”

Haussegger to Uni Canberra

Virginia Hausseger is leaving the ABC to join the University of Canberra in November. The journalist will lead the university’s 50/50 by 2030 project, which lobbies for gender equality in public sector leadership.

Purely practical

Innovation and Science Minister Greg Hunt yesterday announced another $70m more for the six-university quantum-computing project led by Michelle Simmons from the University of New South Wales. The cash comes from the Commonwealth ($25m) UNSW ($25m) plus $10m each from Telstra and the Commonwealth bank. It’s on top of $130m in government and industry cash and in-kind support already allocated.

As a poster-project for the government’s research agenda this is hard to beat, combining pure research which is based on entirely new knowledge that may not work but will have the most practical of applications if it does – a now all but inconceivable increase in computer processing power.

Clever Coursera

Thanks to a learned reader for pointing out that MOOC aggregator Coursera is now running prime-time adverts on US television. Yes private providers have appealed before to people who want an alternative to conventional college – but this is different providing low cost courses from big name universities. The campaign is pitched at graduates looking to retrain and Coursera sells on price “for a few hundred dollars I learned the skills to start a new career as a data scientist,” a young man says in an advert. This is not about an alternative provider of traditional courses, it is about acquiring badges that demonstrate competencies entirely outside formal education. And unless universities provide them what’s the betting other providers, in cooperation with elite institutions will? But not to worry if you just hope it will not happen, it won’t be a big problem until somebody comes up with a blockchain that codifies courses an individual completes, (Marnie Hughes Warrington writes about this here) allowing individuals to create a portfolio of competencies. And this won’t happen until, oh as late as next year. No wonder ANU and Curtin and launching micromasters.

Biz wiz at Bond

Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur (appointed last month by Premier Palszczuk) has joined Bond U. Mark Sowerby is now an honorary adjunct in the business school.

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New social science fellows

The Academy of Social Sciences has elected 39 new fellows: They are: Philip Adams, Victoria University, Jonathon Barnett, University of Melbourne, Amanda Barnier, Macquarie University, Kerry Carrington, QUT, Louise Chappell, UNSW, Fang Lee Cooke, Monash University, Jenny Corbett, ANU, Louisa Degenhardt, UNSW, Tim Dunne, University of Queensland, Nicholas Evans, ANU, Andrew Goldsmith, Flinders University, Fiona Haines, University of Melbourne, Richard Holden, UNSW, David Kavanagh, QUT, Andrew Mackinnon, University of Melbourne, Andrew Martin UNSW, Jane McAdam, UNSW, Pauline McGuirk, University of Wollongong, Julie McLeod, University of Melbourne, Flavio Menezes, University of Queensland, Martin Mills, University of Queensland, Melanie Nolan, ANU, Anne Orford, University of Melbourne, Fiona Paisley, Griffith University, Martin Parkinson, Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Haig Patapan, Griffith University, David Rowe, Western Sydney University, Matthew Sanders, University of Queensland, Anthony Scott, University of Melbourne, Virginia Slaughter, University of Queensland, Laurajane Smith, ANU, David Stern, ANU, Carolyn Strange, ANU, Philip Taylor, ANU, Rabee Tourky, ANU, John Trinder University of Melbourne, Christina Twomey, Monash University, Robert van Krieken, University of Sydney, Rosalie Viney, UTS.

 

Know something the world needs to know? Anonymity guaranteed but lots of questions asked, stephen4@hotkey.net.au