Compare the publishing pair

Doug Munro’s new book History Wars: the Peter Ryan-Manning Clark Controversy (ANU Press) is newly reviewed in History Australia, published by journal giant Taylor and Francis. Even if you don’t have access to a subscription copy you can read it on-line for $47, the review that is. The e-version of the actual book is free for all to download.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Helping disengaged students can start with a phone call. Kelly Linden and Chris Campbell (Charles Sturt U) set out what to do in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series Need now in learning and teaching.

plus James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on the financial state of Victoria’s public universities. “Their accounting methodologies are better suited to commercial, for-profit corporations, not charities,” he argues.

with Merlin Crossley (UNSW) is not much fussed by rankings. “The best strategy now is just to concentrate on being a good university, and we can put more effort into things that don’t count in the tables – good teaching, providing opportunities for students from different backgrounds, solving local problems via research.”

Practical advice for equity student supporters

There are four new short guides on who they are and what they need

They are by Nicole Crawford, senior research fellow at the Curtin U based National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education and cover identity and needs of equity groups and how to help them.

They appear as centre staff face an uncertain future. There’s $20m in new Commonwealth funding but Education Minister Jason Clare says that while NCSEHE “does good research” he wants, “to see real results. That means trialling, evaluating, implementing and monitoring the sorts of things that will really shift the dial.”

Curtin U states that while nothing is finalised, “we envisage the new centre to be quite different albeit with some continuity with the past.” (CMM July 11).

Friends of the NCSEHE as is are vocal in social media about the quality and relevance of work done there

NSW Government announces its Bushfire Commercialisation Fund

It’s not as it sounds. Rather it’s to help innovators “translate their cutting-edge research” in into ways to prepare for, detect and put out fires. There’s $16m over three years.

“Olympics:” it’s Queensland for “innovation”

The state government launches an “innovation for a future economy” ten year roadmap

It starts with $142m in the new state budget, including $100m for the existing Advance Queensland programme (“including entrepreneurs, start-ups and scaleups, SMEs, innovators, universities …”). There’s $10m for an “innovation action plan” and the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur. Plus $17m to support “priority industry-science centres” and “accelerate university commercialisation.”

Sport-tech gets a mention, as a, “world enterprise Queensland is capable of leading.” And in case anybody missed the connection, the 2032 Brisbane Olympics, “offers us the opportunity as an economy to develop innovation products and services right across the state – to become the state renowned for creating leading-edge technologies.”

QILT data way too late

It’s Open Day season, when universities sell themselves and prospective students have a chance to respond with hard questions – if they know what to ask

Which can make the student experience at every HE institution survey published as part of the marvellous Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching very useful indeed.

Except that this year QILT is not yet uncovered, even though institutions have had their results for six months or so and the feds said this year’s national report was due in June (CMM May 10).

To which (CMM advertiser) Studiosity’s executive chair  Jack Goodman responds,

“the QILT data is essential to the higher education sector, as well as to all of its stakeholders, especially the one million Australians who choose to pursue degrees at these institutions. It’s the only objective comparison information, and as such it is essential that it be available during critical decision-making times in the academic calendar.”

“It’s indisputable that the public is entitled to data that is collected using taxpayer funds, about public institutions, for public benefit,” he states.


Powered by ideas 

Monash U has $495 000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to help fund a $1.8m research project on markets for energy storage

Apparently existing market rules do not make for an efficient allocation of stored energy.

Last week ARENA kicked $496 000 to Uni Queensland for modelling performance standards solar farms must meet to connect to the grid (CMM July 19).

This green energy business is apparently harder than putting solar panels on the roof.

A big deal at Western Sydney U

Union and management have agreed to create 150 new FTE jobs  that casual academic staff can convert to continuing employment

It’s part of a proposed new enterprise agreement, negotiated by the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union and WSU, which could set a standard for universities around the country.

Western Sydney U academic casuals (454 in March 2021) will have first right to apply for the full-time teaching and research positions, which will be created in three tranches by December 2024.

The proposal is in part funded by pay rises below the 5 per cent per annum the NTEU national leadership calls for, with university staff making a 0.3 per cent contribution.

Staff received a 2 per cent administrative pay rise in April and under the proposed agreement will receive a 2.6 per cent rise in October, followed by 3.35 per cent in October ’23, 2.9 per cent in October ‘24 and 2.6 per cent in March 2025.

Professional staff on low pay scales will receive a $500 to $1000 “uplift” this year, which will add to their base pay. This is said to translate to a 6.4 per cent rise for HEW Five staff this year.

The insecure position of long-term casuals is an issue at universities across the country. At WSU management and the NTEU have done something about it.

“This is a fantastic, historic achievement by our members. If this were replicated at every university we would see mass decasualisation, alongside mass conversion of casual labour into permanent jobs, right across the sector” NTEU NSW division secretary Damien Cahill said last night.

Colin Simpson’s ed-tech must reads of the week

Augmented reality in architecture and construction education: state of the field and opportunities from International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education (Open Access)

For all the talk about virtual reality (VR), the Metaverse and other video modes, augmented reality (AR) has always seemed to be the most practically achievable. AR most commonly involves adding digital overlays to video in-phone cameras to add meaning and additional information. This paper from Hajirasouli et al describes recent work to develop and apply robust pedagogies to the use of AR in the architecture and construction industries. These ideas appear easily transferable to other disciplines.


9 tips to upgrade your webcam light setup from Vimeo

As video becomes more ubiquitous on-line and easier to create, camera quality and lighting solutions have followed in accessibility and price. Good lighting can emphasise the subject and separate them from the background, creating a visually more appealing experience. This short guide from Vimeo offers some useful suggestions for making the most of webcam recordings.


Does Microcredentialing work? from Gilbert & Tobin

I wouldn’t normally think to visit a specialist regulatory law firm blog for information about education technology, but this post about the practical impact of micro-credentials in Australia and internationally explores recent research to offer some grounded conclusions. It indicates that it may be less the content of the micro-credentials that benefit learners than the confidence they give employers.


Hey @AltTextUtil OCR from Alt Text Utilities

This heading may look a lot like gibberish but it was one of the things I came across this week that excited me the most. (Thanks @katevideo) Alt text is a vitally important part of making the web more accessible for blind and vision impaired people. It involves posters adding meaningful descriptions to images that are read aloud by screenreaders. This Twitter account can automate part of this process – in this case it writes a new tweet and adds the text in an image via optical character recognition to the alt text.


Making a difference: how can edvisors influence learning and teaching? Webinar Thursday 28/7 12pm AEST

Most if not all Australian universities have dedicated staff that advise educators about pedagogy and education technology. They inhabit roles including learning designer, academic developer and education technologist. This webinar will explore how they and their units work to support good practice and affect meaningful change, what gets in the way and what might be done to make them more effective. Featuring Alexandra Mihai (Fulbright scholar at Yale) and Sarah Thorneycroft and Steph Toole from UNE.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. He is also one of the leaders of the TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner


Appointments, achievement

At Flinders U Michelle Picard will become PVC Learning & Teaching Innovation. She moves from Murdoch U. Chris Brebner becomes inaugural PVC Curriculum Impact, moving from interim PVC Learning and Teaching.

Simon Ridings starts as Swinburne U’s DVC External Engagement in September. He moves from Edith Cowan U

The Department of Defence Science and Technology Group announces its inaugural research partner awards, including Sarah Zhang (Western Sydney U), for collaborative research.