Good news to come on international ed

Kamu cantik! Indonesia’s Parliament has approved the free trade treaty with Australia

A comprehensive report from the Australia – Indonesia Centre explains opportunities and impediments (CMM August 7 2019) explains what needs to be done now.

But not great news now

Dan Tehan says what everybody is thinking about the corona virus

My hope is we will see some sort of breakthrough and we will be able to get students here before the end of the first semester,

“There will be no question if the coronavirus continues, and we can’t get students here for the first semester – and God forbid – we couldn’t get them here for the second semester, that will have a significant economic impact,” Education Minister Dan Tehan, Sky News, yesterday.

There’s more in the Mail

In CMM this morning Rebecca Eaton, (La Trobe U) on winning the student transition trifecta. It’s a  new essay in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need HE needs now.

Hard data MOOC of the morning

“Discover storytelling with data and make better business decisions using data wrangling, modelling, and storytelling techniques,” FutureLearn promotes a micro-credential from Monash U

It’s open to “anyone interested in developing skills in the industry standard tools and techniques and enhancing their ability to use data to inform decision making,” – and who can stump-up $1500 for the 12-week programme. “That said, we’ would highly recommend that you’ve studied an undergraduate unit in statistics,” co-presented Monash U’s Michael Niemann adds.

Ready, set, wait for Chinese students at Uni Melbourne

The university has a brief of information for students caught outside the country – quite a big brief

Last week the university was daily updating information, “to help you understand what level of flexibility can be offered in the delivery of your course.”

There is information on hundreds of degrees, just not much information, in many cases.

The university provides responses on, “on-line option available,” duration for on-line options, “ ‘catch-up’ arrangements once students are on campus” and last-date for “catch-up” to be available.  But in most cases the response is “coming soon.”

However, there is one thing Uni Melbourne is sure about for many courses – people should enrol and wait for an email or log-in to the learning management system, “closer to the start date.”

What’s in the performance-based funding formula

The feds announce how they will allocate undergraduate growth places

In what would be big news if it wasn’t for a much more immediate student enrolment issue the feds have announced the formulas for allocating domestic UG growth places under the new performance based funding scheme (CMM August 8 2019).

The four quantitative measures all appear innocuous, employment outcomes, student experience, student success, equity group participation. There is also qualitative category for special pleading by each institution, presumably to explain why the first four are uniquely unfair to it.  There are bound to be divisions of devils in the detail, which officials set out here.

CMM awaits universities announcing anomalies, as soon as enrolment experts get a moment from working on the virus crisis.

Below: lots of ways to be an equity winner.

Schmidt sets agenda at ANU

VC’s plans for his second term

With his first term ending this week, Brian Schmidt announced his hope for a second in his state of the university speech to staff. “So, if someone else is giving this address next year, you’ll know the meeting didn’t go as I planned…”

Professor Schmidt’s objectives for a second term include.

* student experience: “By 2025, every student at ANU should be able to say they received a distinctive education that is second to none. We need to be seen as the Oxbridge/Ivy League institution of the southern hemisphere, but with an inclusive and distinctively Australian character.”

* “research that transforms society.” “Since our researchers train the future leaders of Australia, our region, and the world, we have to do that well.”

* ANU becoming the public policy university. “I cannot emphasise enough: this is not an optional extra for ANU: this is a core reason why we exist – and we must excel, and do better than we have been doing.”

* being the place of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to engage in higher education and undertake research.

Not terrific timing

CMM’s it-would-make-a-horse-laugh-correspondent reports marketing services provider QS is promoting a guide to recruiting Chinese students. It makes no mention of border restrictions.

Counting readers  

Data on the use of open access e-monographs is not an open book – Curtin U staffers are on to it

The US based Andrew Mellon Foundation is long-interested in establishing readership stats on OA academic books, rather than relying on citations, which works better for journal articles.

This is important to establish open access as a platform for humanities research, which uses books rather than articles and as such need different measures.

Cameron Neylon and Lucy Montgomery from Curtin U are part of a Mellon project on consumption of OA texts.

The announcement occurred as ANU Press (mainly on-line, all open-access) announced 285 000 more downloads of its titles in 2019 over ’18.  Some 27 per cent of were in Australia, 20 per cent China, 11 per cent US and 27 per cent the rest of the world.

It isn’t going to happen

There was media-chatter Friday about universities housing Chinese students in secure accommodation and bussing them to and from class while they sit-out quarantine periods. Um, that will be the close to100 000 students now barred from even being in the country. Until somebody presents a plan this is nonsense on stilts. It would still be then.


The stats show it: Group of Eight unis are big equity achievers

As Tim Pitman and colleagues demonstrate, ranking universities by equity-outcomes can come up with all sorts of results – (CMM February 5).

To extend the point, participants in the Pitman-project, from the Australian Council for Educational Research, have published more ranking outcomes – assessing three key equity outcomes, access and participation, first-year experience and graduate outcomes.

When all measures are weighted equally the top ten performers are universities with strong enrolments on equity indicators (in descending order); UNE, Western Sydney U, Federation U, CQU, Uni Newcastle, Southern Cross U, Murdoch U, U Tas, Charles Sturt U, and James Cook U. When participation rates have a heavier weighting, while positions on the top-ten move but overall the list stays much the same.

However, there are interesting variations when graduate outcomes is the preferred variable, QUT is sixth and Uni Queensland tenth.

But the list is significantly different when graduate outcome are weighted up, with Group of Eight universities being the first five for equity performance; Uni Sydney, Uni Melbourne, Monash U, UNSW, ANU, followed by; Western Sydney U, SCU, Uni Newcastle, UNE and QUT.

“When heavier weighting is given to student retention, universities with smaller numbers of relatively high achieving equity group students are more prominent at the top of the rankings,” the ACER team points out.


Gary Rogers is appointed dean of medicine in Deakin U’s health faculty. He starts in June.