Dangerous idea

“A teacher in every classroom,” is one demand from Monash U art students in their campaign against more on-line and fewer in-person classes. Hard to see Academic Board embracing such a radical idea at tomorrow’s meeting.

University of Sydney professors set rhetorical questions

The University of Sydney Association of Professors ses a question for its November conference; “what should universities be?

But a learned reader wonders why they are bothering, given they already have an answer.

The problem is that; “students and their academic teachers form the core of every university but corporatised university businesses run by managers now largely disregard this with detrimental effects on academic life and the ability to undertake high quality research and teaching.” The solution they say is “an urgent correction so that scholarship can lead again.

The conference will address a range of specific questions, including, “how much management and how many administrators are necessary?” CMM suspects they have already narrowed down the answers to these as well;  “not much” and “fewer than there are now.”

Why Australians stay at home to study

Living in university accommodation is beyond the means of the average Australian student.

“The average cost of on-campus student accommodation in Australia is $233 per week over a 46-week contract period (including utilities and other compulsory costs).  This is around 25% higher than the average student’s capacity to pay indicating that most students living in student accommodation have incomes above the average and likely supplemented by Government allowances and family support,” consultants Urbis find in an analysis for the Halsey Review of regional education (CMM yesterday.)

And metro-universities keen to expand their interstate markets have a way to go before the idea of moving to study takes hold, with Urbis estimating just 29 000 Australian students from metropolitan areas study at campuses more than 60kms from home.

Costs and technology are also combining to encourage regional students to study from home. The proportion of regional students studying on-campus is down, from 80 per cent in 2006 to 63 per cent in 2016, as they stay at home and study on-line.  Urbis estimates this trend will continue; “in the medium to longer term there is the potential to expand online learning opportunities for students with satellite teaching facilities in smaller towns that leverage video conferencing and similar technologies.  This could be combined with shorter intense teaching periods where students travel to the main campus for intensive classes, reducing their requirement to seek long term accommodation.”

Regional students already resist the bright lights of big cities, with 80 per cent of those from regional NSW, resisting the lure of Sydney. Melbourne’s attraction is more appealing, with 72 per cent of students from regional Victoria moving to town. There is an even-split in Queensland and Tasmania, with SA (93 per cent) and WA (88 per cent) having the highest percentages of country kids moving to the big smoke.

Paths well-travelled

UNSW announces a partnership with services provider Keypath to offer digital masters in business and engineering early next year, with other programmes to come – 600, yes 600, over by 2023 the university states.

Keypath provides marketing, recruitment, retention and product development services to partner universities and already has deals with James Cook U and Southern Cross U.

Cap on places regional unis need not wear

Universities Australia endorsed the Halsey Review of regional education yesterday and used the opportunity to make the case for the demand driven system, which the government dropped last year. “Australia’s uncapped system of university student places has been crucial to secure the participation gains made by regional Australians outlined in the Halsey Review. And it will be vital to enable further gains in university attainment disparities between Australians living in regional areas compared to capital city dwellers,” UA says.

Not necessarily. The government has already demonstrated that the coming cap on UG places, to be followed by case based  increases in UG numbers are negotiable. So far two universities that have secured exemptions are Southern Cross U and University of the Sunshine Coast – both regional unis.

MOOC of the morning

UoQ innovation entrepreneur and MBA academic Tim Kastelle launches, “Design thinking and creativity for innovation,” today, via edX. His Corporate Innovation MOOC, (“learn how to apply state-of-the-art methods to foster innovation and sustained growth in your organisation”) is already running. Kastelle and colleagues have a third innovation MOOC which will be the capstone course for the university’s micromasters in corporate innovation, set to run in 12 months.

Macnamara honoured

UTS PR professor Jim Macnamara is honoured by US industry journal PR News, inducted into its hall of fame for research on planning and evaluating campaigns.