Just in at the “you don’t say desk!”

“Identifying patterns from aircraft accidents and near misses could unlock vital clues to help improve flight safety,” James Cook U promotes research.


There’s more in the Mail

in Features this morning

There are five myths on curricular approaches to student wellbeing – here’s how to bust them. Jacquelyn Cranney, Nalini Pather, Leesa Sidhu, and Gary Velan (all UNSW) explain in this week’s selection Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

plus Conor King (Tertiary Education Analysis) on the purposes of higher education: personal development, economic outcome, social status and what Dr Seuss has to teach about the third, HERE.

and Sean Brawley, Richard Cook and Ellenie Petrou on how Uni Wollongong learned to manage change

Flinders U needs a new DVC R

VC Colin Stirling tells CMM why it’s a great job at a great uni, HERE

“More please” on pay from union to Uni Melbourne management

Low-key industrial action set to start

At the end of March, Uni Melbourne reported an operating loss of $104m last year and warned that while there will be a “smaller” deficit this year, management was “mindful” of “rising inflation and increases in the cost of non-discretionary items,” (CMM March 31).

This may have been a message to staff in the context of negotiations for a new agreement.

If it was, the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union was not mindful of management’s mindfulness.

The union put proposals for authorised industrial action to members, who agreed. They start in a low key way, from the end of the week (for example a ban on applying penalties for students late submitting).

Last week management announced a 4 per cent pay rise, ahead of an overall agreement – it may (or may not) be a low-ball base bargaining offer. If three such payments were included for the next agreement it will be outside the 14-17 per cent range that is emerging as industry standard. As it stands, the NTEU says it’s well short.

Happy to be back at work this morning?

If you work in HE, we really want to know – about your week, your year and your working life in general

Twig Marketing and CMM are collaborating  to survey Australian higher education staff over the next month, to get a better understanding of why you do what you do, and how you are enjoying your job.

There’s a random prize draw for a $250 gift card if you choose to leave your details at the end (all results will of course be de-identified) and we are going to use the results to provide some insights into where the HE sector is headed.

The survey should only take 2-3 minutes, based on early respondents, and will really help get new discussions underway on a whole range of issues that usually fly under the radar.

Please dive in and share your thoughts:  HERE

ATN and Unis Aus advocate new gov body to oversight Accord

“The Australian Technology Network proposes, “a dedicated independent authority with responsibility for individual university accords”

ATN’s submission to the O’Kane Accord panel (scroll down for more) recommends an “authority” that “does not duplicate” the Department of Education and regulator TEQSA.

Such a body would have roles including,

* consulting with the HE sector, “on the best approaches to delivering the national needs identified by government”

* “managing the government’s strategic investments”

* “coordinating and planning” with Jobs and Skills Australia, the Australian Research Council, National Health and Medical Research Council, Medical Research Future Fund, and “national security agencies”

* “monitoring university performance” on their individual accords with government and advising government

Universities Australia suggests a “mechanism” to help

UA sets out the Accord as a continuing process, “over the span of several decades” and “flexible enough to respond to developing trends in higher education.”

It should include an “on-going process of consultation and engagement with all stakeholders in the sector” so “foci for the Accord can be identified and refined, and strategies can be developed to address them.” Plus, “determining matters for the Accord should be underpinned by research and analysis of trends and developments in post-secondary education.”

A “mechanism” huh?

UA is silent on what form its proposed mechanism should take, telling CMM, “that would be up to the government, we would work with whatever agency government decided was most appropriate.” ATN’ does not offer a view on what form its “authority” could take.

But there are examples out there for the Accord team to consider. For example, the Hong Kong University Grants Commission – made up of HE experts and industry representatives, to provide “long term plans and stewardship.” Then Uni Melbourne VC Glyn Davis pointed to it as a good example back in 2016 (CMM February 1 2016).

Yes, that Glyn Davis, present secretary to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The right numbers

The Fair Work Commission approves the new enterprise agreement at CDU, which a commissioner previously rejected

A precedent setting statement of industrial law?, you ask. Not really – the rejection was due to an arithmetical error on ballots cast (CMM March 28)

Colin Simpson’s must-reads of the week in education technology


We tested a new ChatGPT-detector for teachers. It flagged an innocent student. From the Washington Post

Now that institutions (that didn’t opt out) have access to the new Generative AI reporting functionality in Turnitin, initial reports from testing aren’t exactly aligning with the vendor’s claims of accuracy. This (admittedly small) test against 16 real and fake samples generated by high school students by a WaPo journalist correctly identified six, got three wrong and got mixed results on the remaining seven. This is certainly a space many people in education will be watching closely.

6 Tenets of Postplagiarism: Writing in the Age of Artificial Intelligence from Learning, Teaching and Leadership

I must admit, I had been surprised by the urgency with which the ed tech sector has moved into the new space of AI detection. I mean, clearly there is money to be made but given the looming arms race, having a product with a compelling level of accuracy seems essential. This post from Sarah Eaton (and conversations with colleagues during the week) highlights the idea that the ability to cheat with computers does have the potential to greatly reduce “traditional” types of plagiarism. Eaton describes the prospective new landscape in an eye-opening way.

2U Lawsuit Claims Looming Education Dept. Guidance Breaks the Law from Chronicle of Higher Education.

I shared a story a bit over a month ago about the US Dept of Education announcing plans for stronger oversight over Online Program Managers (OPMs), third party partners that work with institutions to deliver online courses. One of the big players, 2U, has decided that they don’t care for this and are going to the courts. Clearly this doesn’t directly affect providers in Australia but I am sure that TEQSA and similar bodies are paying attention.

We Settled for Catan from The Atlantic (paywall – free trial)

Ian Bogost is an academic, video game designer and provocateur, so I always have time for his hot takes. This article celebrates the work of recently departed German boardgame designer Klaus Teuber, creator of the renowned Settlers of Catan. Bogost’s angle is notable for pointing out that Catan isn’t a great game but it’s ordinariness and simplicity makes it accessible and enjoyable to a far wider audience than most boardgames. He argues that this is in some ways more important than being the smartest game on the shelf and I think there are possibly lessons in that which can be applied to learning and teaching.

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)

What works at work

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

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

Accord calls: peak bodies speak up for access and equity

Submissions are in to Mary O’Kane and colleagues who are charged with recommending a universities accord to “improve the quality, accessibility, affordability and sustainability of higher education”

The Australian Technology Network’s submits, “an effective system of universal participation and lifelong learning must be open and offer relevant choices to all”

In addition to system governance (scroll up) ATN proposals include,

* “simplified” block funding, plus activity based funds for individual universities, based on national needs/university missions

* “consistent, national standards” for university entry

* tertiary education integration with industry in priority national areas

* First Nations’ “knowledge, skills, connections” embedded in teaching, research and engagement

* critical research that “relates to sovereign capability,” “securely and fully funded”

The Regional Universities Network argues, “without access to a regional university, many regional students would have no viable opportunity to pursue tertiary participation”

Recommendations include,

* uncap student places at regional universities

* “contextualised attrition thresholds for underrepresented cohorts”

* “more effective and nuanced” student income support to account for regional Australians’ study costs of

* dedicated all of government funding pool to support universities “social charter”

* increased funding for research capacity at regional universities

* dedicated infrastructure fund with specific access for “smaller institutions”

Universities Australia argues, “universities need autonomy to determine how their services are delivered, but government must remain accountable for the use of public funds. Government funding for universities should, therefore, balance flexibility with accountability and compliance mechanisms”

Calls include;

* replace the previous government’s Job Ready Graduates student funding model, which “has, ultimately, failed to achieve its aim of driving more university graduates into areas of skills needs”

* ensure HECS HELP serves original intent of “removing financial barriers to education”

* infrastructure mechanism with equity focus, “recognising some universities … will be more reliant on government funding.” One-off funding for this could come from, “higher than expected commodity earnings”

* uncapped CSPs “for all indigenous Australians”

* “life-long learning trust providing equity-based funding skills development across careers

* full-cost of research funded by 2030

*Research and Development Tax Incentive to include premium for businesses collaborating with universities

Appointment, achievement

Mike Kagioglou is incoming PVC R at de Montfort U, in the UK. He moves from engineering dean and PVC Global Development at Western Sydney U.

 Jenny Lewis (Uni Melbourne) receives the Routledge Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Research Society for Public Management.