Deep cover

Rice University football players were at the University of Sydney yesterday, preparing for the weekend US college competition season opener against Stanford, being played in the Harbour City (sorry, no idea). But Rice U president David LeeBron, was not with them, he was at the University of Melbourne meeting Provost Margaret Sheil. CMM suspects they were not discussing the merits of their two footy codes.

Monash launches MOCs (they aren’t open)

The university launches massive online courses that cost

Monash U, in partnership with the UK Open University’s FutureLearn subsidiary, will launch fee-paying MOOC format courses in healthcare practice.

The first of five, “Food as medicine: fertility and pregnancytargets doctors, nurses and other people in healthcare looking for a course for credit. It starts tomorrow.

The following four are “Talking abought weight,” Food and our genomeFood, exercise and the gut” and “Food and inflammation.” Monash academics have created the courses, with UK input.

According to FutureLearn various UK and Australian agencies accredit the courses.

The first unit in the series costs $214.

School of Rock

Music producer and engineer Mark Opitz  has joined ANU’s music school as a visiting fellow where he will work with staff and students in the ANU‘s new “world-class high-end recording facility.” Mr Opitz has worked with bands including Cold Chisel, AC/DC and the Divinyls, (people under the 30 check YouTube).

Say hi to Santa Scott Bowman: CQU sets standard generosity in new staff deal

Pleasantries prevail at CQU where management and union have done a deal on a new enterprise agreement. It’s not hard to see why the comrades are happy

what’s agreed: CQU and the National Tertiary Education Union have reached a heads of agreement for a new five year deal on wages and conditions deal. Key terms include a cumulative 10.5 per cent pay rise, setting a new standard in the current round of negotiations across the country. Management has also agreed to extend superannuation for fixed term staff from the legislated 9.5 per cent to the 17 per cent continuing university employees receive.

There are also a range of benefits bringing staff in the dual sector university’s TAFE division into line with higher education in one agreement.

National Tertiary Education Union Queensland state secretary Michael McNally endorses the deal, telling members “the bargaining team has done a great job” and that the pay rise demonstrates CQU management understands, “it is staff that will pull them through the challenges of possible federal budget cuts.”

The university agrees, suggesting “these are generous provisions at a time when most industries are not providing salary increases and if they are, these are minimal. Just about the only concessions to management are changes to working hours specified for specific tasks and ending committee oversight of misconduct/serious misconduct matters, except in cases of alleged academic and research misconduct.

what it means: While amity applies at CQU this deal will create conniptions at the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, which urges universities to push for simplified agreements that reduce the current complex codification of staff work protections. Education Minister Simon Birmingham, will also note the university’s line about the deal’s generosity and probably quote it to Senate crossbenchers to support his case that universities are dripping with doubloons and can afford his proposed cuts.

Bowman delivers: When Scott Bowman became VC in 20009 CQU was in strife, with an unsustainable dependence on international students and staff structures it could not afford. Most in the CQU community recognised things had to change. And so he cut – it was tough stuff but Bowman frankly fronted staff and endured their anguish. And now he is handing back the profits of pain past.

Earth calling Adelaide

The International Astronautical Association convenes in Adelaide next month. For delegates arriving on the east coast after 18 hour flights and then finding they have two hours to go it will only seem like Adelaide is on Mars.


UWA brief to new marketer: grow student numbers

UWA announces Owen Davies is its new chief marketing officer. Mr Davies joins after a decade at Crowns Resorts, most recently at Crown Perth, celebrated for its casino. He replaces Karen Carriero who resigned in April to move to the University of British Columbia.

“The appointment of Mr Davies comes at an important time for the university as we seek to enhance our external brand and grow our student numbers.” CMM hears he will have a significant increase in resources (there is talk of 50 more staff) to help.

The Melbourne model for stopping exam cheats before they start

Plagiarism attracts attention in academic integrity but exam cheating is still out there. So the University of Melbourne built a system to address it  

At this week’s assessment integrity conference, Richard James and Neil Robinson set out the University of Melbourne demonstrated how the university responded to a case of exam tampering by identifying 11 stages in the exam process and coming up with ways to improve security for each of them. “There’s no stopping some students from cheating but you can make it harder for them,” they say.

Quite a bit harder.

The research listed every stage in the exam lifecycle, from preparing questions to students scrutinising their scripts to check they were fairly treated and found potential problems in all. They identified five generic risks; policy and procedures are unclear or not followed, local practice creates opportunities for cheats and their agents, IT is used differently in various stages of the cycle, physical storage and security varies and electronic security, including CCT is not always comprehensive.

In essence there are inevitably too many people and too much handling to assure security. But focusing on three areas can improve it. First people, screen staff for integrity and ensure they are right for their stage of the process. Second keep material physically safe and make sure it is monitored. And always ensure that university IT systems involved are secure.

No, it will not keep Oceans 11 out if they want to steal the Accounting 101 exam but a culture of security means university management can adapt, as the thieves do. “Ways to cheat will constantly evolve and we will need to similarly evolve what we do to reduce the opportunities available,” James and Robinson say.

It’s a start

The new UNSW education-focused carers programme has launched, with scheme sponsor DVC E Merlin Crossley hosting an event for some 75 or so staff, around half the number of a academics who have moved into EF roles. The university is looking to have 20 per cent of the university’s 5000 or so academics in the programme by 2025.

Degrees that deliver from the dole – including one surprise

Education does have employment powers just ask the ABS

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released data on the qualifications of Newstart recipients (thanks to the ultra-learned Andrew Norton for the pointer). People with no (55.1 per cent) or low (certificate holder, 23 per cent) post school qualifications account for most of recipients. People with all levels of diplomas account for 7 per cent, the same for those with bachelor degrees while Newstart recipients with postgraduate qualifications make up just under 2 per cent. While it’s newly released, the data dates from 2011, making this a rough guide to what is going on, but a guide nonetheless.

The ABS also records the proportions of people on Newstart with a post school qualification by field. The worst areas for collecting Newstart were management and commerce (22.6 per cent), engineering and related technologies (18.8 per cent) and society and culture (17 per cent). The best were natural and physical sciences (3.4 per cent), IT (3.8 per cent) and, go figure, creative arts 4.1 per cent.


Ideas for insiders

Paris, new friends, a study abroad experience and completing UNCC300 in two weeks! Why wouldn’t you do it… “ the Australian Catholic University asks yesterday. Well, not knowing what UNNCC300 is would be one reason.