Austen’s law of uni admin

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an incoming senior executive must launch an organisational restructure,”  Daniel Oakman (ANU), “The  Eye of the Storm: The Australian National University in the twenty-first century” by Daniel Oakman HERE

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

James Guthrie on what Uni Wollongong’s annual report reveals about the businesses it is in.

plus Understand reporting requirements for equity funding? Oh that it was so. There are new rules for evaluating the impact of initiatives. But fortunately, there are ways to find out what you need to know. Sonal Singh (UTS) and Nadine Zacharias (Swinburne U) explain in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

with Dirk Mulder, who considers why India will be important, really import to international education HERE.

including Victorian Unis: good, different. Keith Houghton (Higher Education and Research Group) on what distinguishes them and how they compare with the rest of the country on research productivity

and in Expert Opinion

The university teacher of the year awards are on again (thanks Universities Australia) which is good – but Australia’s great learning and teaching culture deserves more.  Liz Johnson (Deakin U) and Sally Kift (president, Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows) talk about what could be done and what should be done to foster learning and teaching research and achievements.

Tim WinklerTim Winkler (Twig Marketing) has been to a bunch of open-days to find that they present what managements like to see,  which isn’t necessarily what prospective students want to learn. In CMM, Tim talks about where open days are and where they need to be.

When assessment is a performance

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency has a new guide to plagiarism and contract cheating in performing arts, which explains, at length, how hard identification can be

“Common understandings of appropriate uses of non-text content, such as video, audio, and images, can be shaped by external influences such as social media and not aligned with academic, industry, and legal practices,” TEQSA warns.

The agency sets out five assessment strategies, but acknowledges the “distinction between copying, inspiration, and coincidence in a creative work can be contested.”

Deakin U challenged on academic casuals pay

The National Tertiary Education Union claims they are not being paid by the book

For months the union has been organising evidence of casual academics being paid a piece rate for marking, which it argues  breaches the DU enterprise agreement. The comrades point to hourly rates set for marking specified in the EA, $57.40 for people with a PhD.

The agreement also states (Appendix G) that while faculties can “maintain a set of guidelines that reflect reasonable expectations for academic feedback, marking and grading … this will not limit the requirement to pay staff members according to the work performed.”

The union now calls on the university to, “cease calculating pay by word count or related metric and commence paying all academic staff by the actual hours worked.”  The NTEU also wants a management-union committee “to investigate and quantify past marking underpayments.”

This sort of dispute is not unique to Deakin U, – piece rates were long an issue at La Trobe U (CMM January 31). Payment of casuals in general has attracted the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman and Senate inquiries. The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency has raised the issue twice with universities twice in the last 12 months (CMM October 11 2021 and May 16).

A DU spokesperson tells CMM, “Deakin is committed to ensuring the application of our Enterprise Agreement is true and correct across our organisation. … we will work with the union and follow the processes outlined in the EA to understand the specific issues raised.”

Open contest in Vic union election

NTEU Vic secretary Mel Slee is not running

National secretary Matthew McGowan tells Victorian staff and officials Dr Slee is not running for re-election and that “will be absent” with pay and entitlements, from her role “until the end of her term.”

Dr Slee won the job in a contested 2018 election against then incumbent Colin Long (CMM July 2 2018).

Two candidates for state secretary have already declared, Annette Herrera (Uni Melbourne) and present deputy state secretary  Sarah Roberts (CMM June 9).

Union members vote in August.

Colin Simpson’s ed-tech must reads of the week

Digital transformation is human transformation from Greg Satell (Medium).

It’s nice to read an article about digital transformation that doesn’t include phrases like “in this time of unprecedented change.” Of course, that is because this is a pre-COVID article and it isn’t specifically focused on education but it makes some important points. Referencing research that indicated that fewer than a third of digital transformation projects succeed, the author makes a strong case that this is frequently because the leaders of the change focus more on the technology than the ultimate outcomes. In the case of education institutions, this is, of course, ideally about better learning and teaching. Satell reminds us that we need to focus on the most important part of the system – the people.


A systematic review of teacher roles and competences for teaching synchronously online through videoconferencing technology from Education Research Review.

This pre-proof article echoes the Satell piece by diving into the varied skills that educators need for on-line synchronous teaching, via a review of 30 previous studies. Grammans et al. refine a framework developed by Baran et al. (2011) that describes six key roles for educators teaching online: pedagogical, facilitator, instructional designer, social, managerial and technical. In this roles they identify 24 competency clusters that should be considered by institutional learning and teaching units in ensuring that adequate training and support is provided.


Leadership in Learning Development from International Consortium of Academic Language and Learning Developers blog.

Something that people working in institutional learning and teaching units often wonder about is how to have meaningful influence on organisational strategies. Many learning designers, education technologists and academic developers bring significant experience and expertise to the table but for a host of reasons work more reactively than proactively. This post from two learning developers – Carina Buckley and Kate Coulson – outlines some of their approaches to making a contribution from the Higher Ed “third space.”


Use of live chat in higher education to support self-regulated help seeking behaviours: a comparison of online and blended learner perspectives from International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education.

Two of the most significant issues reported by on-line learners are isolation and not knowing how to find help. This study from Broadbent and Lodge explores the attitudes of both on-line and blended students to chat tools as ways for them to communicate one to one with their lecturers. It finds this to be an effective tool for facilitating help-seeking behaviour but does note that teacher attitudes and potential workload issues need further consideration.


Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. He is also one of the leaders of the TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner

Appointments, achievements

The Astronomical Society of Australia 2022 awards go to * Maria Djuric (Uni Sydney)  hons/masters research * Adelle Goodwin (Curtin U) outstanding PhD thesis, (at Monash U) * Peter McGregor (CSIRO) innovation in instrumentation *Adam Stevens, post doc (UWA) * Natasha Hurley-Walker (Curtin U), mid-career.

Curtin U announces new John Curtin Distinguished Professors, “the highest title the university can bestow on its academic staff,” * Christine Erbe (Science and Engineering) * Melinda Fitzgerald (Health Sciences), * Peter Gething (Health Sciences) * Abhijit Mukherjee (Science and Engineering) * Kim Scott (Humanities)