Not so jammed

Uni Melbourne reports its Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem lab is using AI “to predict traffic congestion up to three hours ahead.” This week on Collins Street a person fully equipped with fingers, could do it.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Employers will participate in work integrated learning but they need help to make it happen. Incentives for universities under the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund are not enough. Anne Younger (Australian Industry Group) and Judie Kay (World Association for Work Integrated Education), make the case It’s this week’s addition to Contributing Editor Sally Kift‘s long-running series, Needed now in teaching and learning.


James Guthrie (Macquarie U) and Brendan O’Connell report searching Victorian universities documents for the number of people, people, not accounting abstractions, who lost their jobs last year. They found changes in accounting practises and calculating headcounts make final figures hard to find. They set out their data here.

NSW Productivity Commission calls for recognition of micro-credentials

Hopefully this will not kill off the idea

In the productivity commissions’ tradition of ideas that make policy sense but make politicians nervous, a new report from the NSW PC proposes “support the development of voluntary systems of trust and recognition for micro-credentials with, for example, alignment to Australian Qualifications Framework levels or the adoption of ‘credit points’ standards.”

This fits the Noonan Review of the AQF suggestion that, “recognising shorter form credentials, including micro-credentials through credit and recognised prior learning would build on current practice.”

Problem is how to make it happen. The Commonwealth adopted all the Noonan Review recommendations on higher education and backed those on training, which need states and territories support (CMM December 10 2019) but not a lot has happened since.

It needs to – the fundamental importance of, and the need to act on, the AQF Review was a theme at last week’s CMM co-sponsored Needed Now in Teaching and Learning conference.

Perhaps somebody should black-out the NSW PC letterhead and send the proposal to skills minister Stuart Robert.


CQU “on-track” for an Indonesian campus

The university nominates a Sumatran city

CQU “remains on track to be among the first Australian universities to establish a fully-fledged university campus in Indonesia.”

The university states it has “sights set” on a “presence” in the north Sumatran capital, Medan which has a Brisbane-size population.

Until then CQU continues to expand partnerships, with VC Nick Klomp travelling to Indonesia to sign an agreement to offer its MBA to “scores of high-ranking officials from Indonesia’s civil service.” The programme is in cooperation with existing partner Universitas Bakrie.

CQU is also “finalising” an agreement for a sustainable farming institute in North Sulawaesi.

“A fantastic and productive week,” Professor Klomp tweets.

Uni Queensland hon fellow’s book pulled for plagiarism

Publisher Elsevier has withdrawn The Periodic Table: Nature’s Building Block. (Retraction Watch broke the yarn).

The book is co-authored by Jacob Theo Kloprogge, a former QUT academic and now an honorary senior fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Uni Queensland. The other authors are Concepcion P Ponce (Uni Philippines, Visayas) and  Tom A Loomis (Dakota Matrix).

The publisher states the book is withdrawn “due to a reported plagiarism issue regarding some of the material, and has been removed with full knowledge of the authors.”

CMM asked Uni Queensland if it intended to do anything about Dr Kloprogge’s affiliation and the university responded late Monday (8.20pn) that, it is “looking into this matter and will take the appropriate action once that process has been completed.”

Overnight Monday Dr Kloprogge’s Uni Queensland webpage required a university account to access.

Dr Kloprogge has not responded to a request for comment to his Uni Queensland email.

Claire Field reports risk and response in the international ed industry


VCs and TEQSA’s Coaldrake on what has been and can be done

International education and risk were not just topics of interest at the recent CEDA Vice-Chancellor’s lunch in Melbourne, they were also a key focus for TEQSA Chief Commissioner, Peter Coaldrake, in his remarks to the Needed Now conference.

At the vice chancellor’s lunch, Iain Martin pointed out that his Deakin University has been saving a portion of their international student revenues for many years (a decision taken “two VCs ago”) as an explicit risk mitigation strategy.

Pascale Quester from Swinburne University noted that some universities were more exposed than others to the international student downturn and that Swinburne was de-risking by “monetising assets” and “monetising research”.

In his conference reflections, Coaldrake was prompted to reflect on how, during his tenure, QUT had deliberately taken a risk averse approach by limiting international student numbers and recruiting from multiple markets.

While he went out of his way to say he did not judge other universities for “loading up” on international students, Coaldrake does expect institutions to have sophisticated risk management systems in place.

He also observed that traditional understandings of risk were being “confounded” at present, whereby smaller institutions with less exposure to international students might currently be lower risk than much larger institutions, especially those with a “massive capital programme and pressures on research.”

For senior figures expecting TEQSA to “tickle their tummies” (another Coaldrake observation) it could be a challenging period.

It could also be challenging for non-university higher education providers, but for the opposite reason. Coaldrake acknowledged some NUHEPs see TEQSA as heavy-handed but disagreed with this characterisation.

TEQSA is moving to a new fee schedule where renewal of registration fees for NUHEPs will increase from a flat $20,000 fee to between $38,500 and $163,900, depending on how complex TEQSA thinks the re-registration audit will be (which in turn relates to their estimates of the provider’s level of risk).

it’s going to be crucial that TEQSA strikes the right balance between being heavy handed and ‘tummy tickling’.

 Claire Field is an adviser to the tertiary education sector

Confidence in campus at Uni Newcastle and Macquarie U 

Uni Newcastle has a flash new-site and Macquarie U plans to build a new law school

VC Alex Zelinsky has the keys to Uni Newcastle’s hip new Honeysuckle city-fringe campus, which will be home to creative, performing and digital arts courses, plus space for entrepreneur start-ups and scale-ups.

There may be more to come, original thinking on the river-site site included talk of student accommodation (CMM February 21 2019).

Honeysuckle is but a boulevardier’s progress to the university’s other CBD-site, the customised learning NuSpace. Both pre-date the pandemic but are based on the continuing assumption that in-person education is set to stay.

Macquarie U is even more certain that campus based study will put the plague in the past.  In October it completed a flash-indeed arts precinct, with “specialised spaces that enable us to blend theory and practice and implement our signature learning and teaching methodologies.” And last week it lodged development plans for “alterations, additions and adaptive reuse of the existing building,” to become new premises for its law school. At $28m the project is more modest than the $39m cost previously estimated by engineers but it’s still a vote of confidence in the campus, especially at a time when M U announced a $50m loss for last year.


Richard Blythe is Curtin U’s new PVC for the humanities faculty. He joins from Virginia Tech when he is dean of architecture and urban studies. He is a previous dean of architecture and design at RMIT.