Another campaign for Any U

Edith Cowan U has a new student recruitment campaign, “creative thinkers made here”

Apparently, “creative thinkers are not born, they are made, because you need to push beyond theory to mix innovation with imagination.”

The 60 second brand statement goes on to specify research at ECU that presumably takes both. “When we work together to question, challenge and imagine the most creative thing you make is you,” is the message.

Good o – except that the content would be just as credible coming from UWA or Curtin U.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

How Uni Wollongong is making the most of its data – a new contribution in Sean Brawley and colleagues series on the transformation of the university’s services

To expand university access for students with disabilities invest in accessible learning technologies. Ratna Selvaratnam (Edith Cowan U), Luke Butcher (Curtin U) and Justin Brown (Edith Cowan U). Make the case.

plus Making more and the most of student partnerships require an inquiring mind and nuanced approach. Alison Jaquet and Lolita Liboon-Aranas (Uni Southern Queensland), Megan Pozzi and Sherry (QUT) and Kate Walsh (Flinders U) set out the challenge for Commissioning Editor Sally Kift, HERE.

and in Expert Opinion

Brigid Freeman (Uni Melbourne) explains the challenges and opportunities for Australian universities and colleges as the Indian Government expands post-school education. HERE


No muss, no fuss at Flinders U

The university and National Tertiary Education Union settle on a new enterprise agreement

The discretely negotiated proposal will now go to the union’s members for approval and if they sign-off, to an all-staff vote.

“We jointly thank staff and union delegates for their collaborative approach to the bargaining process which has enabled an outcome to be achieved in a timely manner, VC Colin Stirling and NTEU SA secretary Andrew Miller said in a joint statement yesterday.

Terms include a 13.2 per cent payrise across the three-year agreement, a couple of per cent below the union’s national ask.

There are also a 10 per cent lift in the marking rate for academic casuals and 36 new continuing positions for them.

Plus improvements to parental leave, new gender affirmation leave provisions, and “elevated” career development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.

Continuing jobs for casuals is a practical benefit but also a wise concession by management. A test case on casual conversion last year featured Flinders U’s long serving Toby Priest. He lost because the Fair Work Commission found that while he met the time-worked test the existing enterprise agreement did not cover converting him to continuing work (CMM May 16 ’22).

The proposed agreement is a big win for all involved in the process, accomplished quietly without the years of argument at other institutions – morning all at Uni Sydney or bitter ballots, (scroll down).


What works at work

After all the pandemic pain it’s time to work through the lessons of lockdown and build better HE workplaces

HEjobs and CMM invite you to an in-person event to talk, listen and learn about jobs that work better


Deakin U staff knock management back 

After university and union agreed negotiations stalled the university put an offer direct to staff – and nearly two-thirds of those who turned out voted no

This is a substantial win for the National Tertiary Education Union, the 62 per cent no vote would make management putting another offer without union support a big ask. The university is not releasing how many staff voted, which may mean there was a big turn-out.

As to what happens now, VC Iain Martin told staff yesterday, “we will now take the necessary time to consider the result and our next steps.”

DU has already paid wage increases of 5.25 per cent since the formal expiry of the 2107 agreement and offers 9 per cent over ’23-25. But with the NTEU setting a national benchmark of 15 per cent for new agreements, nine per cent going forward is the number staff will focus on.

So, if management does return to the table it will have to come up with something on pay and  concessions on some of the union’s other claims, which include casual conversion for academic staff and working from home for professional workers.

Unless it intends to dig-in. Chief People Officer Stacey Walton warned staff during the ballot last week, that a no vote, “does not mean a better agreement will be reached,” (CMM April 28).

To make the point, at least for now, the three extra days off in management’s offer won’t happen. Deakin U staff will have to front up on the first, the June 12 King’s Birthday Holiday.

Where students are in Sydney

Uni Sydney partners with TEDxSydney Youth

The university is supporting “a spotlight on emerging voices in the Western Sydney region” at Parramatta, May 24.

Good for the original Sydney u. Makes a change from March when it sponsored a series of researcher talks in ever-so inner-city bars, where few of its staff and even fewer students can easily afford to live (CMM March 10).

Colin Simpson’s edtech must-reads of the week

Prompt engineering for educators – making generative AI work for you from Teaching@Sydney

This post from Danny Liu (Uni Sydney) offers some simple but effective prompting suggestions to support retrieval practices, learning through analogies, lesson planning, simulations and more.


Quick Start Guide to ChatGPT and AI in Higher Education from UNESCO

The entire UNESCO guide here is concise and timely but I particularly like Mike Sharples’ table of the range of roles that GenAI tools can play in learning and teaching, with tangible exemplars. It ranges from alternative ways to express an idea to personal tutoring all the way to creating games to help engage learners.


You’ve Got Mail: A Technology-Mediated Feedback Strategy to Support Self-Regulated Learning in First-Year University Students from Student Success

The transition from high school to higher ed can be a challenge for many students, with the assumption that as adult learners they will take greater responsibility for their own learning. Early interventions have long been considered vital in supporting new students to engage and develop self-regulated learning practices. This study from Sauchelli, Heath, Richardson, Lewis (UniSA) and Lim (UTS) indicates that while technology mediated emails to students – generated based on learning analytic data – appear to increase motivation, they do not necessarily effect student learning strategies and more support for these may be needed.


Valuing teaching: exploring how a university’s strategic documents reflect institutional teaching culture from International Journal of Academic Development

While all universities have learning and teaching strategies and commitments to educational excellence, in practice the extent to which learning and teaching is valued (compared to research say) can have a marked effect on quality. This Canadian paper from Shaw et al. analyses institutional strategic documents based on a six point teaching culture framework. They, unsurprisingly, found that the loftiness of the language often conflicted with useful, actionable specificity about what exactly the institution believes good learning and teaching should look like in practice.


Bluesky does not “own everything you post” from Casey Fiesler (Twitter)

Bluesky is the long awaited or hoped for Twitter replacement from Twitter creator Jack Dorsey. Invitations to the beta-release are already selling for hundreds of dollars. In “news” that crops up from time to time, someone read the terms of service and noticed that the platform asks for a non-exclusive licence to publish your posts. Casey Fiesler explains why this is boiler plate language needed by all social platforms and not a grand IP theft conspiracy.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 at CIT, ANU, Swinburne University 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)

Appointments, achievements

Victor Dominello was NSW minister for customer service and digital government until the March state election. He is now director of the new Trustworthy Digital Society Hub at UNSW and UTS.

At Uni Sydney Ben Hachey becomes Beamtree Associate Professor in Clinical Informatics, in the medicine faculty. Beamtree is a data analytics service provider.

Deakin U law school dean Jenni Lightowlers is acting executive dean of the business and law faculty. Former ED Mike Ewing is moving to Southern Cross U.

At Monash U, Sarah McDonald becomes PVC Student Experience and Allie Clemans, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching). They are both internal appointments.

Education Minister Jason Clare announces members of the National School Reform Agreement Ministerial Reference Group, including, Linda Graham (QUT), Jae Jung (UNSW) Susan Pascoe (UWA), Alan Reid (Uni SA), Ruth Wallace (Charles Darwin U). The reference group will advise the expert panel that is advising ministers on reforms that should be tied to funding for the next National School Reform Agreement.

The NSW Government’s Smart Sensing Network announces “grand challenge” funding for, * Macquarie U, Western Sydney Uni, Cochlear, Google: motion optic and sound sensors in interactive comms * Macquarie U, Uni Wollongong, CEE Hydrosystems: smart sonar, accessible hydrography * UNSW, UTS, BioPoint Ltd: mobile detection water pathogens * Western Sydney U, Macquarie U ARC EntoTech: flies in waste recovery * UNSW, UTS, Schematic Intel and NSW SES: flood intel for western NSW