There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

David Eckstein (Swinburne U) on the way university staff see disabilities as career blocks for students and what can be done to end them. This week’s addition to Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series, Needed Now in Teaching and Learning.

Sprinting the COVID-19 marathon at Macquarie U

Sean Brawley explains how they did it and what comes next

Macquarie U plans a July return to large groups in teaching spaces (CMM yesterday). In Features this morning Professor Brawley explains how the university adjusted to the pandemic and is adapting to teaching students who want all/some/no classes on-campus, live on-line and/or asynchronous.

“As we struggle with a range of consequences from the pandemic, it may become all too easy to ‘snap-back’ into old ways of thinking and doing.  Finding the time and space to have collegial conversations around these matters when we continue to sprint a marathon is the first challenge,” he writes.

Uni Melbourne has a win against the Victorian tax-person

The Commissioner of State Revenue thought the university should pay land tax on a site it leases to Campus Living Villages Melbourne

CLVM operates a 648-bed student accommodation facility in Leicester Street, Carlton. The commissioner thinks it is a commercial operation and thus land tax applies. Uni Melbourne argued that it provided the land at a peppercorn rental for the student accommodation built on it and thus the university’s charity status applied.

In Victoria’s Supreme Court Justice Osborne  found that while the university is not itself providing students with accommodation, it “has determined to ensure that student accommodation is provided to students at the university so as to facilitate their education.” The university also monitors CLVM, “to ensure that the university’s objectives with respect to the enhancement of the students’ overall educational objectives are maintained.”

Open Day already

Edith Cowan U is getting in early with open days, at Joondalup on Sunday and at Mount Lawley and the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts on April 18

Apparently, it’s to take the pressure off prospective students that piles on later in the year and to give Y12-ers more time to consider options.

Which some will not need, given Curtin U, Murdoch U and UWA have already opened 2022 UG applications (CMM March 21).

(Distant) hits and (really) old memories

Researchers from Uni Melbourne, the Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Birmingham have created 16th century Scottish choral music

It’s what James IV would have heard it in the chapel of Linlithgow Palace at Easter 1512.

The scholars used a laser to exactly measure the space as now is and adapted the data to the chapel layout as records reveal it then was.

A choir then recorded music from a pre-Reformation Scottish hymnal in an anechoic chamber (nearly no natural acoustics) which was overlaid into the researchers’ sound model of the chapel.

Course there are limits – the recording can’t communicate the sixteenth cold. But somethings don’t change. The Scots were brawling with the English then and people worried about plague.


Monash U’s limited-time study offer

The university says it has 1500 “additional” Commonwealth Supported Places, “help to further drive Australia’s post-COVID recovery”

But anybody interested should not delay, “CSP places are only available in 2021. To complete in this timeframe, when commencing mid-year, will require full-time study,” MU advises.

But if you aren’t quick, “students who study part-time and do not complete the course in 2021 can continue their studies on a full-fee basis.”

There are new UG Certificates in sports and exercise nutrition and “mental health.”

There are six grad certs in IT, four from the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, one from Pharmacy and three from Science.

The university announcement also states there are additional UG places for bachelor degrees engineering, nursing and nursing and midwifery, which presumably can’t be completed in a semester.

Who knows what a VET course costs

The people who compiled the national VET average price benchmark database will have an idea

Last month the learned Tony Palladino commented that across the country VET course prices are all over the place (CMM March 16). And now the National Skills Commission reports it has established average price benchmarks for qualification, subsidies, fees and prices across the Commonwealth which shows the range.

The report finds that jurisdictions use cost of delivery in their calculations but (quelle surprise!), “more detailed assumptions (for example, cost per hour, number of hours and portion of the price subsidised) lead to differences in both total price and the level of subsidy applied.”

There is a bunch of detail, which can be as coy as it is complex, with analysis reported on eight un-named “jurisdictions,” instead of just naming which states and territories charge what.

Still overall, the NSC says there is enough data to build “a national pricing model for government funded VET qualifications.”

Good-o, except that not all “jurisdictions” may  be keen to accept a national course price which does not reflect local interests. As the report states, “differences in the standard fee subsidy split may account for more of the difference in subsidies paid between jurisdictions than underlying differences in the cost of delivery.”

Ah federalism, ain’t it grand!

Now, that’s a hack!

If ANU and RMIT were in a world of pain when hacked the University of California must be in a galaxy of grief

U CAL tells its community that “like several hundred other institutions” it’s records are hacked due to “vulnerability” in supplier Accellion’s file-transfer application.

This is beyond-bad, as UCal explained Monday, “we believe the stolen information includes but is not limited to names, addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, Social Security numbers and bank account information for a range of UC populations, including employees and their dependents and beneficiaries, retirees and their beneficiaries, students and their families, and potentially other individuals with connections to UC.”

As to who is hacked, it appears U Cal does not know, stating it is, “investigating the incident and working to identify affected individuals.”

But to be safe it urges everybody, “to take immediate action to protect themselves,” including using free credit monitoring and identity theft protection provided by a university contractor.

But people not inclined to trust any UCal emails or webpages should contact university information security – presumably in person.

Appointments, achievements  

CSIRO’s Data61, with the Victorian Department of Land, Water and Planning win the environment and sustainability category in the 2020 Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards. They modelled climate change impact on Port Phillip Bay coastline. Allison Kealy (RMIT) wins the eminence award.

Rifaat Ebied (emeritus professor Uni Sydney) wins the All Graduates Interpreting and Translating Language Services award at the NSW Premier’s Multicultural Community Award.

 Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is awarded the 2020 McKinnon Prize in political leadership. His House of Reps colleague Anne Aly (Labor-WA) is named McKinnon emerging political leader. The prize is a collaboration between the Susan McKinnon Foundation and Uni Melbourne (CMM November 28 2017).