Carpe Diem for TAFE

Public VET is the Government’s selection of the season  – Jenny Dodd is making the most of it

The TAFE Directors Australia CEO sets out what may be in its submission to the HE Accord, (CMM yesterday).

She acknowledges HE-VET pathways will come up, but also mentions what may not occur to university focussed folk – HE products in TAFE and “financial support for students who choose TAFE for their higher education study.” Can’t hurt to suggest.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Last week Erica Wilson and Thomas Roche (Southern Cross U) set out their university’s revolution in learning and teaching.  Is it working? It is, they, with colleague Liz Goode, explain HERE. New in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed Now .

plus, Merlin Crossley (UNSW) makes a case for invigilated exams – they are to assessment what the Erg is to rowing.

and in Expert Opinion  Samantha Hall (Campus Intuition) on students returning to campus, what they want, what they will do and why the UK does it different, HERE.



20 years into the Asian Century we need to know more about the neighbours

“There is no coordinated, national strategy to support and enhance Asia literacy, including Asian languages and Asian Studies, across all levels of education”

Edward Aspinall (ANU) and Melissa Crouch (UNSW) set out national failings in a new report for the Asia Studies Association of Australia, HERE.

how come? “Periods of support for Asia literacy have been punctuated by inaction, retreat, and complacency, giving rise to significant policy inconsistency and discontinuity.”

This results from “cues, signals, and/or policies” involving government, universities, and students

University leaders” growing emphasis on market mechanisms over recent decades, itself a product of government policy, has put pressure on small-enrolment courses and led to greater casualisation of the workforce”

Governments and universities alike have put greater emphasis on STEM disciplines, often to the detriment of HASS”

“Teaching of Teaching of Asian languages at universities is also affected by wider social trends, with Australian students spending less time learning a second language than students in other OECD countries Asian languages at universities is also affected by wider social trends, with Australian students learning a second language than students in other OECD countries”

the results are

languages: while demand for those of North Asia have “increased significantly” (“sustained interest from international and heritage students”), “the teaching of Indonesian has declined precipitously. South Asian languages are virtually absent.”

teaching and research:  “a gap is emerging between a small number of Asia-focused universities (most of which are large research-intensive universities) and the majority of universities where Asia content is minimal and/or in decline.”

engagement: “programmes are often disconnected from the goal of promoting advanced language skills based on long-term study of a language and culture.”

what is to be done?

“the ability and will of Australian universities to offer Asian Studies programme depends to a significant degree on coordinated federal and state/territory government support generating initiatives and structures across all levels of education to create a pipeline of students from high schools who are interested in Asia, and keen to advance their Asia literacy skills, including language skills.”

And so the Feds need to fund a new “strategy on Asia literacy,” school and tertiary language study and Asia research.

They also suggest a range of university commitments including;

“ Given that many international students are from Asia and some Asian language programmes receive high international student enrolment, universities should invest a proportion of these funds back into ensuring sustainable Asian Studies and Asian language programs prosper. Asian countries should be viewed as partners, not merely as revenue sources.”


Research now respected

A change of government helped

A year back then acting education minister Stuart Robert knocked back an ARC recommended Discovery Grant application from Erin Sebo (Flinders U), joint chief investigator on “Finding friendship in early English literature.” Mr Robert decided that the project did not meet the National Interest Test.

It’s not a view present minister Jason Clare shares. Dr Sebo and Daniel Anlezark (Uni Sydney) now have a $250 00 Discovery Grant for the project, awarded in the new round.

Plus, and it is a prodigious plus indeed, Dr Sebo won another Discovery Grant last week. She has a further $120 000 to study of ‘attitudes in the earliest English literature.”

“The project expects to generate new knowledge about the first English speakers, what issues mattered most to them and how broad the range of attitudes was,” the ARC grant report states.

Swinburne U silent on campus sale price

The university announces it will sell the Prahran Campus to the Victorian Government but for how much?

As part of the agreement, “a significant share of the proceeds will be reinvested in capital infrastructure and programmes to strengthen vocational education and training in Victoria,” the university states.

So how much is significant and what is the sale price? CMM asked.

A university representative responded that VET gets 45 per cent, but as to of how much, “details of the sale cannot be disclosed due to commercial in confidence arrangements.”

What will be new in enterprise bargaining and where

The Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill is set to pass the Senate -with changes that university managements will probably like (but may not need). Private providers should brace

Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke announced new amendments yesterday including three that address similar employers being covered by a single agreement. That unions could ask for multi-uni agreements has alarmed some universities, notably the Regional Universities Network (CMM November 14).

Mr Burke says the bill now,

* increases good-faith bargaining time for a new single organisation agreement from six to nine months after expiration of the previous one before multi-employer bargaining can be authorised

* allows the Fair Work Commission to apply a “reasonably comparable text” for multi-employer agreements

* empowers the FWC to order a proposed multi-employer agreement be put to employees if one or more unions with members involved “are unreasonably withholding agreement”

However welcome to managements, they may not end up mattering all that much

National Tertiary Education Union General Secretary Damien Cahill tells CMM,  that while it will consider multi-employer bargaining with public universities, “ the strong history of enterprise bargaining within this sector suggests that the biggest opportunity for multi-employer bargaining is within the largely unregulated private tertiary education sector, which has many workers on award and even sub-award conditions.”

Colin Simpson’s Ed Tech must-reads of the week

What has been the biggest change or evolution of your digital learning ecosystem in the last 18 months? NEIL MOSLY, via Twitter

It’s an understatement to say that the teaching landscape in Higher Ed has changed in recent years and the discussion around this can often focus on the negative. Neil Mosley turns the focus toward the positives that have emerged. These include a better focus on accessibility, engagement and building communication and collaboration through a range of tools.


UDL Masterclass – Beyond Curiosity: Developing a sustainable roadmap for UDL implementation within your organisation – Workshop Dec 12th Melbourne from ADCET

On the topic of accessibility, Universal Design for Learning (UDL – not the drink) is a framework for better design of learning experiences, with a particular emphasis on breaking down inequities in learning. This upcoming workshop from the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training brings Canadian expert Frederic Fovet to our shores for what should be an enriching session. There is also a free Zoom component for the last hour (2.30pm AEDT) summarising the work of the day.


How to write an image description from UX COLLECTIVE 

A fundamental part of good accessibility practise on-line involves adding meaningful text descriptions / ALT text to images. These are important in the experience of blind and visually impaired people who rely on text to speech screen reading software to navigate the web. It can be difficult to know what to focus on in text but this valuable guide offers clear steps to take.


Digital Competence of Educators – self-assessment tool from the EUROPEAN UNION

If you think you have room to improve your use of technology for learning and teaching but aren’t sure what to focus your professional development efforts on, you might find this tool useful. (If you don’t think you have room to improve, you should definitely try it out). You can self-assess against 22 competencies related to professional engagement, digital resources, teaching and learning, assessment, empowering learners and facilitating learners’ digital competence. (I could do better on sourcing digital resources).


Relational Pedagogies: Connections and Mattering in Higher Education from KAREN GRAVETT

This book isn’t released for a few more weeks but it came up in my feed and looks like one to keep an eye on. The human side of learning and teaching practice isn’t commonly discussed in educational professional development, with educators left to simply work it out. I can see value in considering the importance of our authenticity, vulnerability and trust with students.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 at CIT, ANU, Swinburne and Monash University. He is also one of the leaders of the ASCILITE TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner (or @[email protected] on Mastodon)

Appointment, achievements

Genevieve Bell becomes inaugural director of ANU’s new School of Cybernetics, (“a new approach to engineering and technology design”). She moves from the university’s 3A Institute.

 At Macquarie U VC awards go to;

*education leader: team of, Andrea Chareunsy (Economics) Nathan Daczko (Natural Sciences) Joanne Dawson (Math and Physical Sciences) Prashan Karunaratne (Actuarial Studies, Business Analytics) Matt Owers (Math and Physical Sciences Natalie Spence (Science and Engineering),

* teaching: Riza Casidy (Marketing) * learning innovation: Helen Siuki (Marketing) * learning and teaching, early career: Maggie Klee  (Actuarial Studies and Business Analytics) * learning and teaching, sessional: Joshua Fitzgerald (Chiropractic) * student-nominated: Shireen Daft (Law School) David Orsmond (Economics) * Charanya Ramakrishnan (Computing) * Anina Rich (Psychological Sciences) * Christian Thomas (Math and Physical Sciences)

Professional staff tomorrow

 South Australian science awards winners are:

* Richard Lilly (Uni Adelaide): STEMM educator, university/RTO * Andre Luiten (Uni Adelaide) : innovator * Maria Makrides (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute): scientist of the year * Chelsea Thorn (Uni SA): PhD research  * Trinity College SPARK team (Samantha Andonis, Steve Grant, Sion Harman, Wayne Jaeschke): STEMM educator, school * Wei Zhang and Centre for Marine Bioproducts (Flinders U): industry collaboration