More of Martin

Iain Martin will have a new five year term as Deakin U VC, starting in May 2024 – he started the job in 2019. Given DU just became the first foreign university to win Indian Government approval to establish a campus in India, it’s the least council could do.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

The pandemic showed us innovation can happen fast – especially with recognition of the best places to foster it. Beth Beckmann (ANU) and Lynn Gribble (UNSW) set out their Four Cs strategy,  new this week in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

plus Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the pain and plight of early career academics and what can and can’t be done, HERE

And in Expert Opinion

Academic Integrity expert Cath Ellis (UNSW) on the GPT IV challenge. “It is presenting a very real and present threat in terms of how we have done things for a very long time. She talks to CMM HERE.

Study stress worse for women

Some 36 per cent of students surveyed last year reported they were stressed by study daily, or “constantly, ” in-line with results for ’20 and ’21

The finding is in the seventh annual survey by study-support provider (and CMM advertiser) Studiosity. It finds stress hits women harder, 42 per cent (“constantly” or “daily”), than men (29 per cent).

Stress-drivers are common across students aged 18-23 and 24 plus, but older students handle most better – workload causes stress for 56 per cent of younger students and 46 per cent of the 24 years plus group, course content bothers 32 per cent of the 18-23 group and 21 per cent of those 24 plus.

The two causes where older students cope less are time-management (a problem for 69 per cent of then, compared to 64 per cent the 18-23s) and “referencing” (20 per cent and 10 per cent).

Overall, students with credit grades or better are “confident in being able to ask for help (76 per cent), compared to 66 per cent for those with lower grades.

Uni Newcastle chancellor announces retirement, again

Paul Jeans says he will leave at year end

Mr Jeans previously announced his departure in 2021, naming former National Party deputy prime minister Mark Vaile his successor.

But Mr Vaile’s appointment was not well received by all at the university, what with his being chair of a large coal miner, and he quickly withdrew his acceptance (CMM June 11, 22, 2021).

At which point Mr Jeans announced he would stay on and that council would immediately meet to consider “the process for the appointment of a new chancellor.” That appears to have taken a while – the university advises recruiting for the next chancellor will now commence.

A week in AI is a long time

The Australian Academic Integrity Network sets out guidelines

It’s Networks Generative AI Working Group details what needs be done by students, teachers, academic support staff, misconduct teams and HE managements to align with the Higher Education Standards Framework.

Good-o although the AAIN warns the guidelines, which date from the beginning of the month will, “need updating as the area of generative AI continues to change and develop.” As it did with GPT-4 last week.

Call to arms for equity in Accord

Verity Firth (UTS) warns higher education “is showing signs of socio-economic segregation”

15 universities enrol almost 60 per cent of low SES students and eleven account for 60 per cent of rural and regional ones, she argues in a paper previewing an equity-practitioner strategy session, next Monday.

And in a message for the O’Kane Accord team she adds, “our current funding model does not appropriately support the universities which make this enormous contribution to low SES participation in Australian higher education.”

“For universities with high concentrations of equity cohorts, additional transition and academic support is needed to ensure student success.”

Professor Firth warns that if ‘the best teaching and learning” does indeed happen at research-strong universities then equity students are missing out.

“What are the incentives for universities with low numbers of equity cohorts to contribute to system growth, rather than just taking the best and brightest of a group of students already heading to university?”

And she calls for “a rehaul of the system (which) should reward collaboration between universities, so that we all work together to expand access for equity cohorts across the education ecosystem.”

Colin Simpson’s ed tech reads for the week

Can prompts improve self-explaining an online video lecture? Yes, but do not disturb! from International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education

While institutional leaders push for a move away from the lecture and the cool kids are all talking about ChatGPT, lecture videos still form a significant proportion of on-line content in Higher Ed. Commonly criticised as a passive and transmissive form of learning, researchers have been looking for pedagogical approaches that get the most out of the viewing experience. This article describes work around using prompts to signpost key concepts in these resources, those that encourage students to explain concepts in their own language are among the most effective.


The first open source text-to-video AI generation tool has been released from Huggingface

While it is still fairly primitive, the onward march of GenAI tools to increasingly complex content continues unabated. The HuggingFace Modelscope Text to Video tool works in a similar way to AI image generation tools but creates short (two second) clips of animated images. The examples in the linked Twitter thread make me wonder what we might be seeing later in the year.


Can GPT-4 replace Reviewer 2 from Twitter

Ethan Mollick (@emollick) on Twitter has been one of the more interesting explorers (AIstronauts?) of the GenAI space in recent times and this tweet thread showcases what happened when he shared a previous academic article that he had written with GPT4 and asked for “harsh but fair review from an economic sociologist”. He notes that it raised many of the same things that he received in his human feedback.


20 years later, Second Life is launching on mobile from Ars Technica

As the Metaverse hype seems to recede into the distance with the latest shiny toy, the question that I never felt that was satisfactorily answered was, “how is this better than/different to Second Life?” So it was interesting to see this story pop up recently that SL is still chugging along and they are soon to launch a mobile version. I have many fond memories of building weird things in this space and I wish them well.


Coming soon! Academics talk about Severance from Thesiswhisperer Pod

Some of you may remember the 2021 Netflix series The Chair and the equally delightful companion podcast “Academics talk about The Chair” from Inger (Thesis Whisper) Mewburn, Narelle Lemon, Anitra Nottingham and co. that dissected it and what it said about life in the academy. They have announced their next podcast season, exploring last year’s stylish and thinky corporate dystopia series Severance.

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)

UNSW VC surprised by union doing what unions do

At UNSW VC Attila Brungs tells staff  that despite “good progress” in enterprise bargaining the National Tertiary Education Union has started the process for industrial action

Professor Brungs states this is surprising, given “the good progress we are making with the unions” (the plural  is presumably to include the Community and Public Service U) and “key enhancements” the university has agreed to. These include an increase in gender affirmation leave, more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and a staff right to “disconnect” from work outside hours,

The VC’s message makes no mention of pay, which generally does not come up until other issues are agreed.

The NTEU has Fair Work Commission approval for members at the university to vote on industrial action, ranging from five minute stop works to ones of indefinite duration and measures in between.

“While UNSW respects the NTEU’s and its members’ right to consider industrial action, we are disappointed with the NTEU’s decision to take this step as all parties have demonstrated a genuine willingness to finalise new … agreements,” the VC states.

However the FWC concluded the NTEU met the pre-condition for a member-vote on industrial action that, “it has been, and is, genuinely trying to reach agreement.”

Despite Professor Brungs’ concerns it could be worse – it is at neighbouring Uni Sydney, where no deal is done after 18 months of negotiations.