The top six in science

Last week Chief Scientist Cathy Foley pointed out the heads of the Australian Research Council (Sue Thomas) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (Anne Kelso) are women, as are CSIRO’s Chief Scientist (Bronwyn Fox) and the Defence Chief Scientist (Tanya Monro) (CMM September 30). And now Melissa Price sits in cabinet as Minister for Defence Industry, Science and Technology.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Reporting changes can make it hard to know how many casuals universities employ. James Guthrie (Macquarie U) demonstrates the difficulty and why the actual numbers matter.

Michael Healy and Jason Brown on the new QS  rankings and the need for way better ways to assess employability.

Deakin U announces mandatory vax but not NSW Training

Vice Chancellor Iain Martin delivers on his announced duty to lead

The university states vaccination will be required to be on its campuses across staged re-openings and from January, when they will be open to all. (Ex people with a government approved vax exemption).

“We have worked within the framework set out by the state and federal governments, and it is now clear that public spaces will increasingly be open only to people who are fully vaccinated,” Vice Chancellor Iain Martin says.

Professor Martin also points to a staff survey which found, 74 per cent agree with mandatory vaccination for students and 77 per cent for Deakin U employees – 3.5 per cent of staff do not intend to be vaccinated

Deakin U joins La Trobe U, Monash U, Swinburne U and Uni Melbourne in making vax mandatory, or signalling it will be (CMM October 1).

Professor Martin started the mandatory vax public discussion among university managements in August saying, “I believe we have a duty to lead by example when it comes to acknowledging that vaccination is both a tool to protect one person and a public health intervention to protect communities,” (CMM August 10).

NSW Government agency suggests VET providers talk to a lawyer

Training NSW (“responsible for government-funded VET”) suggests (as of October 1) providers might consider whether a vaccination policy “is necessary for their workplace.” If TAFEs, group training organisation and other providers do, they “should consider their workplace circumstances and whether they need legal advice about their obligations”

Back to what, on campus

“I used to lecture, but it’s all over now”

When students go back to campus will they go back to live lectures and if they don’t what will academics who love to lecture do? Elizabeth Baré (L H Martin Institute), Scott Bowman (Charles Darwin U) Gregor Kennedy (Uni Melbourne), and Kelly Matthews (Uni Queensland) discuss what might happen at Sally Kift, Twig Marketing and CMM’s new conference, “Reimagining the lives of the lectured,” October 19-21. Details  here.

Monash U’s Indonesian campus is teaching now

No, not a partner’s – an actual Monash U Jakarta campus, teaching public policy, data science and management masters

The university plans to grow to 2000 students and to expand its product range to PhDs at one top end and short courses and micro-credentials at the other.

This is a big deal indeed, the start of a new international education market. Monash U is the first international university to establish a campus in the country, thanks to the Aus-Indonesian FTA.

CQU is also keen on Indonesia, “not least because there are 270m people there,” says VC Nick Klomp.

The university is in a JV, teaching business masters to local Bakrie U students, who can transfer to CQU in Australia after four semesters (CMM May 28) It also has “sights set” on a “presence” in the Brisbane-size city of Medan in North Sumatra (CMM June 2).

Scott Bowman starts campaign for an NT medical school

The newish Charles Darwin U VC calls for a med school to start by 2023, with a starting in-take of 40, rising to 60 pa over five years

This would meet current demand for interns in the Northern Territory health system.

Professor Bowman set the objective in a speech at Flinders U, which now teaches medicine in the NT.

The speech comes with ducks already lined-up. The proposal is in partnership the Menzies School of Health Research in the NT and CDU has appointed Ian Wronski inaugural DVC for Northern Australia Medical and Health Development (CMM July 15).

It’s a strategy Professor Bowman used when VC at CQU, where he organised support before beginning a campaign for a med school (CMM March 9 2018).

CQU is now set to teach pre-med next year, preparatory for a Uni Queensland med degree taught in CQU’s heartland (CMM February 24).

Off-shore students arriving: it’s a collateral benefit

There’s good news for the international education industry – not that the government appears to care if no one notices

The prime minister was talking up more arrivals from overseas on Friday, due in part to the Therapeutic Goods Administration approving China and India manufactured CVID-19 vaccinations. Mr Morrison pitched this as allowing Australians offshore to come home, but HE lobbies were quick to point out the approval also applied to the countries which supply the most international students.

“The TGA decision clears the way for fully vaccinated students from China and India to re-join their friends on Australian university campuses in the near future. This is good news for universities and students, but also for Australia’s economic recovery,” Universities Australia’s Catriona Jackson said.

And international education supporters suggested more relaxed quarantine arrangements for returning Australians will mean more rooms for international students.

Not much of which was mentioned by Mr Morrison on Friday, who briefly said international students and skilled migrants would be able to arrive next year, “perhaps sooner” in NSW.

For now, the possibility of bringing students in from overseas is a collateral benefit of an improving situation.

UWA partners to expand in international education

UWA College will provide “a tailored and integrated learning experience” with foundation and diploma programmes that are, “the ideal preparation for UWA degrees”

UWAC will be a joint venture with student recruiter INTO, new to the Australian market.

This is a step forward by Vice Chancellor Amit Chakma who is keen to make more from international education, lamenting that. “Over two decades, UWA failed to capitalise on opportunities to augment our research and infrastructure budgets with international student fees at a level commensurate with other Australian universities of our size,” (CMM September 28 2020.)

The VC was certainly keen on growing international student enrolments in the past. According to Western Ontario U, which he led prior to UWA, Professor Chakma increased international enrolments there five-fold, (CMM December 11 2019).

The partners state they will enrol students in June 2022, which seems confident given the state of the world and the WA Government’s COVID-19 caution.

New TEQSA commissioner

Adrienne Nieuwenhuis is appointed

Ms Nieuwenhuis is moving from Uni SA, where she is director of the VC’s office. She has been head of tertiary education, science and research policy for the South Australian Government and prior to this appointment, a member of the Higher Education Standards Panel.

She joins Chief Commissioner Peter Coaldrake and Joan Cooper in oversighting the Tertiary Education Quality Standards and Agency.

Colin Simpson’s Ed-Tech must-reads of the week

Go8 unis challenge anti-plagiarism software merger from the Australian Financial Review.

While ‘text-matching’ or ‘similarity checking’ are probably more accurate terms for what tools like Turnitin and Ouriginal (formerly Urkund) do, they are the big two companies in the academic integrity / anti-plagiarism space. The announcement earlier this year that Turnitin planned to acquire Ouriginal raised some concerns in the sector about the impact that this may have on competition, support and innovation. The ACCC started an investigation in July and this article about the submission from the Group of Eight universities nicely sums up some of the issues.


Interaction in asynchronous discussion boards: a campus-wide analysis to better understand regular and substantive interaction from Education and Information Technologies Journal.

Discussion forums have been a mainstay of on-line learning for as long as we have had on-line learning. Used well, they contribute to social, teaching and cognitive presence in a space that can sometimes be isolating. In spite of the time we have had to develop forums as teaching tools, their efficacy varies wildly. This journal article from Gasell, Lowenthal, Uribe-Florez and Ching draws on the wealth of analytic data now available in the LMS to see how forums are used and whether there is an optimal level of teacher engagement. It’s largely quantitative but still offers some insights and suggestions for faculty development.


Some of the most iconic 9/11 news coverage is lost. Blame Adobe Flash from CNN Business.

For a good few decades Adobe Flash dominated interactive multimedia content on-line. This was also true of many educational resources, and when support for Flash finally ended at the start of 2021 – the ‘Flashapocalypse’ – there was a significant body of work done in education institutions to ensure that resources were converted. Fortunately, the writing had been on the wall for some time. This CNN article describes the impact on the wider web and particularly the strategies that have been used to preserve a wealth of rich on-line media that could be lost with the (virtual) flick of a switch.


Digital disruption in the time of COVID-19: Learning technologists’ accounts of institutional barriers to online learning, teaching and assessment in UK universities from International Journal of Academic Development (pre-print),

Learning (or education) technologists are most commonly professional staff responsible for supporting the effective use of technologies to enable better learning and teaching. They bridge IT departments and teaching centres, holding expertise in both spaces. Unsurprisingly, with the rapid pivot to technology enhanced learning since COVID19, they (we) have been busy helping institutions move to the “new normal.” This study from Watermeyer, Crick and Knight explores this shift through the eyes of these people on the ground and captures their insights into what has changed, whether this change will endure and why. It does not pull punches.


The meme is the message from Taraneh Azar Part of Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for the worldwide web was that it would be a home for creators as much as consumers. n Insome ways, memes as easily created, constantly evolving pieces of micro-content have realised that vision. Taraneh Azar, a student at Northeastern University, has builtan incredibly rich resource outlining some of the history, theory, concepts and exemplars of memes and meme culture. It’s a rabbit hole but always interesting.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner

Appointments, achievements

Monash U management professor Véronique Ambrosini becomes a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences.

Julie Bishop is appointed ANU chancellor for a second term, a year before her first three years expire.

Reuben Bolt becomes DVC First Nations Leadership at Charles Darwin U. He steps up from PVC Indigenous Leadership at CDU.

Defence Industry Minister, Melissa Price adds science and technology to her responsibilities in the ministry shuffle announced Friday. Angus Taylor adds industry to his existing energy and natural resources brief in the dismemberment of the now backbenched Christian Porter’s portfolio.