Headline of the month

Yes, it’s early but for excitement it will be hard to beat Uni Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies which announces, “world-first kelp restoration guidebook shares lessons learned from projects around the world.”

What’s next for international education

It’s day two of the CMM-Twig Marketing expert event

At 11.30 zoom in for a discussion of the core question – how can providers recruit and engage international students in a world where the pandemic has changed choices on what to study and where. Join Jayden Huang (Council of International Students Australia) Douglas Proctor (Swinburne U), Ly Tran (Deakin U) and Marnie Watson (Sannam S4).

And at 1pm Hamish Coates (Tsinghua U), Gwilym Croucher (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education and Simon Ridings (Edith Cowan U) on taking Australian education to international students at home.

How to be in the audience, HERE.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) reports proposals to transform governance of Australia’s public universities, including standardising state government legislation to make governance, “collegial, transparent and accountable” and establishing a national funding and standards agency, “similar” to the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission (1977-88).

 plus Bradley Boron and Leonie Ellis (U Tas) on the way Zoom in the classroom creates opportunities for physical teaching space. “The ongoing work now is to design pedagogy around the use of these spaces to better engage all students equally,” they write. Theirs is a new addition to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

and  Jack Breen (UNSW) looks at election advertising in social media. So far Labor is spending way most – but not on education messages.

with Merlin Crossley (UNSW) https://campusmorningmail.com.au/news/universities-big-not-business-despite-what-students-think/ who argues that in higher education big is beautiful  “we are delivering more knowledge to more people than ever before”. Problem is that universities can now look like corporations, – not non-profits investing in teaching and research. So what is to be done? “We have to focus and avoid expanding the core purpose of universities to beyond what is credible to our critics,” he suggests.

Flinders U backs itself in international education

The university announces its own pathway provider for students from overseas

PVC I Sebastian Raneskold told staff yesterday that it will provide diploma courses “across the breadth of Flinders University’s study areas” plus foundation, ELICOS and pre-masters programmes, “allowing students to have a seamless transition to first – or second-year studies of their chosen degree.”

The college will be based at the university’s Bedford Park home, but will teach across all campuses and facilities.

However while it will be governed by Flinders, due to its, “unique function and purpose,”  the provider will be separate from “the usual operations and structure of the university.”

Mr Raneskold says registration and approval processes for the new courses are underway and the university expects to launch in July, with students enrolling from January next.

One thing they will need before then is a name. Yesterday’s announcement referred to “the entity.”

This is an ambitious move by the university. Flinders U had 3700 international students prior pandemic and appears intent on growing that – the new direct rail connection between Bedford Park and central Adelaide will increase the university’s appeal to students who like the bright-ish lights of city life.

It is also excellently timed. With new SA premier Peter Malinauskas interested in a merger of higher education providers a university that is growing and innovating will be in a good-position to make its case.

Quiet on QILT: June release for 2021 student surveys

The 2021 data for the excellent Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching is long since collected and analysed – universities and colleges have had their individual results since January

But there is no national report.

The delay might be because Acting Minister for Education Stuart Robert was a bit busy, what with his having to do Alan Tudge’s job as well as managing his own portfolio, Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business.

And then care taker conventions kicked in when the election was called on April 10.

Although, why they apply to releasing QILT is not clear to CMM – not when ministers have been announcing research spending throughout the campaign, presumably on the grounds decisions were made before the election was announced. And QILT results are hardly party-political unless of course last years could embarrass the coalition,

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment tells CMM it expects to release the report next month, presumably after the minister in the new government has been briefed.


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

An online engagement framework for Higher Education from Online Learning

One of the most commonly expressed concerns about teaching on-line – particularly from educators more comfortable in a classroom – is that it can be much harder to engage learners. In 2018 Redmond et al. explored the research literature around this and identify five key themes – social, cognitive, emotional, behavioural and collaborative engagement. (Perhaps echoing and building on ideas of teacher/social/cognitive presence). In this invaluable paper, they go on to propose a framework of strategies to bolster on-line engagement.


An Entangled Pedagogy: Looking Beyond the Pedagogy—Technology Dichotomy from Postdigital Science and Education

Another common issue raised in discussion around technology enhanced learning and teaching is about how we find the balance between pedagogy and technology when it comes to institutional decision making. Tim Fawns makes the worthwhile point that it isn’t an either/or conundrum. Technology and pedagogy are inextricably entangled and it is virtually impossible to discuss one without factoring in the other in practical terms.


Ouriginal chief defends Turnitin takeover against monopoly jibes from Times Higher Education

Something for the “well he would (say that), wouldn’t he” files – Andreas Ohlson, former Ouriginal CEO, now Turnitin Senior VP downplayed suggestions that the recent merger of the two anti-plagiarism giants would be bad for competition while speaking at the European Conference on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism. Of perhaps more interest is the titbit he dropped about the future focus for the company being on on-going assessment – presumably in recognition of a need for support of wider assessment modes with the rapid growth of AI based services.


Why haven’t the students who complained about missing f2f lectures returned to them from Twitter

At the peak of the pandemic lockdowns, some students were highly vocal about feeling ripped off by their institutions in being denied face to face lectures, even calling for partial refunds. Anecdotal evidence is suggesting that, now that universities have largely returned to face to face delivery, many students aren’t turning up or engaging. This tweet thread from @Dr_Paul_Penn explores some possible causes and the extended discussion is well worth a read.


Wordtune – (A great) Artificial Intelligence based writing assistant from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Coming back to the growth of AI based writing tools – Wordtune is a freemium browser extension that offers suggestions for alternate wording for any writing done in the Google Chrome browser. It claims to support contextual rewriting, tone switching and shortening/expanding text. I maintain a healthy skepticism but it is important to stay abreast of what the students might be looking at.

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

Appointment, achievement

Laurie Buys joins Australian Catholic University, Brisbane as professor of healthy ageing. She is previous professor at QUT and Uni Queensland.

Khai Liew (Uni SA adjunct professor) wins the National President’s Prize from the Australian Institute of Architects.