Brace for impact in Adelaide

“Great to catch up with SA Premier (Peter Malinauskas) and Deputy Premier Susan Close today to work though their plans to merge universities in South Australia,” Education Minister Jason Clare, via Twitter yesterday.

What’s next for researchers

People understand what research can accomplish for everybody – the pandemic delivered that

But popularity does not make policy and researchers face new challenges of purpose and priorities. Join research policy makers and opinion shapers at CMM-Twig Marketing’s on-line conference, “What’s next for the people who can save the world.”  Details HERE.


Course admissions still work in progress

The feds have commissioned market research into “admissions transparency.” We have been here before

A long time ago under a government now gone away the Higher Education Standards Panel inquired into how UG entry standards are explained. The death star they discovered was impenetrable ATAR requirements.

“a paradoxical situation has arisen. Entry into universities has become more equitable. Yet there is evidence that families with less experience of higher education, which are economically disadvantaged or live in regional Australia, are less able to understand how admissions processes operate,” HESP warned (CMM November 16 2016).

And so there were changes, to standardise terminology and present data consistently across institutions.

But apparently that was not that and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment now has researchers looking at what needs to change next.

“The current market research is looking to review the changes that were made regarding admission transparency and explore how information could be included and presented for postgraduate and international students.” DESE states.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Cathy Xu, Brian Stoddart and Keith Houghton on what’s next for digital delivery in education. It won’t be for everybody but digital will deliver for plenty of people, starting with tech-lit coursework graduate students. “Studying when and where they want and at a pace of their choosing, will be key drivers of demand.”

plus Dawn Gilmore (RMIT) and Chin Nguyen (Curio) set out pros and cons to make on-line learning partnerships work. This week’s excellent selection in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

with Angel Calderon explaining the new Leiden research ranking.

and in Expert Opinion

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the new Leiden research rankings – why it’s the one the experts rate and what the new edition means for Aus unis.

Josiah Koh and colleagues talk about what AI can deliver for teaching and learning and student support.

Both (and all the other episodes) are  HERE

Smart TAFE in position for policy presence

TAFE Directors Australia is working with TAFE NSW to create an allied health national advisory group to “engage with stakeholders”

The intent is for ‘a strong, collective approach” from TAFE, “in designing and delivering comprehensive and high quality training informed by diverse industry voices.”

This appears to be a similar approach to TDA’s National Enrolled Nursing Advisory Council, established in 2020 (CMM September 9, although allied health is nowhere near as big as enrolled nursing,

Smart thinking by TDA.

“TAFE” is Labor for “training” and the federal government will want TAFE, and unions, back in the policy game.

Full slates for NTEU leadership poll

All national leadership positions at the National Tertiary Education Union are now in-play

Andrew Beitzel (Uni Queensland) announced yesterday he is standing for national assistant secretary on the New NTEU ticket. He is running with Anastasia Kanjere (for general secretary) and Fahad Ali (for president).

They face an officers ticket, with incumbents Alison Barnes (president) and Gabe Gooding (national assistant secretary) standing for re-election. NSW state secretary Damien Cahill is running for general secretary.

Claire Field on what’s next for EdTech


despite a mixed pandemic performance there is growth

Last week was EdTech week in London with the centrepiece being the annual EdTechXEurope conference. It was good after a two year hiatus to be back in the same room with so many impressive EdTech founders and this year some senior government officials, as Europe sets out its Digital Education Plan 2021-2027 and looks to engage the EdTech sector.

The Head of Digital Education at the European Commission, Georgi Dimitrov, noted that their engagement will be neither a “top down [regulatory] approach, nor bottom up [I.e. no regulation], but rather in the middle ground.”

The focus of the conference was on “the experience of learning” – with specific emphasis on the Impact of EdTech, particularly with reference to UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals, and on Experiential Learning (i.e. AR/VR).

EdTechX co-founder Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet was blunt in his assessment of the mixed performance of EdTech during the pandemic. Despite the obvious achievement which saw education institutions around the world switch to on-line learning in a matter of days, he correctly characterised it as the “regressive triumph of the lowest technology” and reminded the audience this had led to a learning deficit with students falling behind on average by 8.2 months, as well as other problems including a rise in mental health issues. He also called out the sector’s business ethics, with a growing problem of abusive marketing practices and some companies stealing users’ personal data.

It was not all doom and gloom, Dimitrov and other speakers observed that EdTech has proven itself agile, proactive and open in times of crisis (Ukraine and COVID).

Other speakers included Jeff Maggioncalda from Coursera, which now has 102 million registered learners on its platform and saw revenues rise during the pandemic from US$184m in 2019 to US $415m in 2021. In a piece of fortuitous timing, “Coursera for Campus” launched in 2019. It is a subscription model where educational institutions can have access to the more than 5,000 courses on the Coursera platform for their learners. Prior to the pandemic there were 30 universities subscribed to “Coursera for Campus”, now there are more than 4,000 universities subscribed. And of course Coursera also offers more than 4,000 industry micro-credentials and professional certificates through ‘Coursera Campus for Industry.”

There was much more, and I have summarised my notes on my website.

 Claire Field spoke to CMM’s Colin Simpson (Monash U)  about EdTech in Australian universities and VET providers on the latest episode of the ‘What now? What next?’ podcast

Memorable words

“With our government, we want to also rekindle the respect for the role of science in helping develop good policy,” Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic, speaking at the re-opening of the Academy of Science’s Shine Dome, Monday,

In the unlikely event that Mr Husic forgets his remarks a legion of lobbyists for science will not.

No place for PARSA in ANU postgrad support

The university will cut funding for the Postgraduate and Research Students Association

According to PARSA, ANU says support ends this year, “citing governance issues in 2020 and 2021.”

University management is more expansive, pointing to staff problems and “unsatisfactory management of governance,” to the extent that PARSA has “failed to meet its obligations as an association.”

DVC Academic Grady Venville adds ”funding will be used to maintain important services for postgraduate students, but not through PARSA.

To which PARSA replies, “we vehemently disagree with this decision” and that new policies “will ensure sound governance.” However Professor Venville adds the university’s decision, “is not a reflection of the work of the current PARSA executive and management group, but rather our observations of PARSA as an association since 2020.”

Appointments, achievements

Alistair Hick is Monash U’s inaugural chief commercialisation officer. It is an internal appointment.

Penny Sweeting becomes Associate VC for Charles Darwin U’s Sydney campus. She moves from academic lead for the university’s NSW College of Nursing and Midwifery programme.

U Tas announces the short-list for the Dick and Joan Green history prize. * Alison Alexander, The Waking Dream of Art: Patricia Giles, Painter (Forty South) * Cassandra Pybus, Truganini: Journey through the apocalypse by (Allen and Unwin) * Jock Serong, The Burning Island  (Text).