MOOC of the morning

MOOC of the morning

Martin Tomitsch and Cara Wrigely (both architecture at Uni Sydney) present Innovation through design: think, make, break, repeat, “how you can use design as a way of thinking to provide strategic and innovative advantage within your profession.” Starts now, via Coursera, with 44 000 enrolments.


There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on the UNSW 2020 report and the case for a performance audit of all NSW public universities

Plus, work-integrated learning is critical to university-industry engagement but leadership is lacking. Sonia Ferns and Judie Kay, set out what needs to be done. It’s Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

And, the Federal Court has decided inventions by AI can be patented. Amanda-Jane George (CQU) explains how this happened and why it matters.

With, Tim Winkler (Twig Marketing) on why it’s all over for open days.

From average to awful at Uni Melbourne

Advocates of opening borders and returning to campus assume international students will want to get back. For some, it might depend on how forgiving they feel

As with locals, international students marked down the quality of their study experience during last year’s lockdowns. Unsurprising, given campus closures and the rush by academics to get courses up to zoom-speed meant re-enrolling fee-paying internationals were not getting what they had originally paid for.

But as the excellent Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching survey of UG internationals demonstrates for 2020 there is dissatisfaction and DISSATISFACTION

Overall, international students reported three to 16 per cent lower satisfaction scores on all education areas last year. The system-wide all-category decline from 2019 was a thumping 14 per cent, down 74 per cent to 60 per cent.

Which is bad, but some institutions did worse.

Like RMIT which dropped from 78 per cent for “quality of entire educational experience” in 2019 to 62 per cent last year. And Monash U which went from 75 per to 50 per cent.

And like Uni Melbourne which had a 72 per cent all category rating in 2019 and 41 per cent last year.

The university’s big drops were in categories where most universities dropped, Uni Melb just fell far –  on learner engagement from 48 per cent to 26 per cent, on teaching quality down from 80 to 62 and on learning resources from 85 to 54.

Vic Gov DISHes up $2m for Deakin U

It’s another allocation from the Victorian Government HE investment fund

The money goes toward Deakin U’s $6.5m Digital Innovation and SME Hub, at the Burwood campus. The DISH appears to be a venue for university programmes to interact with small and medium enterprises, mainly in “sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare and trades.” DU will kick in $3.5m, with a $1m “from industry investment.”

Deakin U joins La Trobe U and Uni Melbourne as recent beneficiaries of the state’s uni capex fund (CMM June 29, August 3). It’s great value for Spring St, generating a bunch of media for not much money – certainly compared to the limited coverage the federal government received yesterday for $93m in Future Fellowships (scroll down).

Future Fellows: how many and where

There are 100 new Future Fellows, which means another 575 researchers are wondering what happens next

The Australian Research Council has announced details of the new round of its mid-career researcher scheme.

The successful 15 per cent of applicants share $93m of the $100m they asked for in the round announced yesterday.

Where they work: As usual the Group of Eight scooped up buckets of money and 58 per cent of total awards.

Uni Melbourne has 12 new FFs, UNSW ten, Uni Sydney nine, ANU and Uni Queensland have seven each, Monash U and Uni Adelaide both have five and UWA three.

Outside the golden group, QUT does well with seven and Curtin U and Macquarie U both have six.

However, the per centage success rate for institutions making a major investment in the scheme (say, 20 or more applications) is quite distinct.

applications per centage success
Macquarie U 20 30
Curtin U 22 27
Griffith U 21 23
ANU 31 22
Uni Adelaide 25 20
QUT 39 17
Swinburne U 23 17
Uni Melbourne 67 17
UNSW 71 14
Uni Sydney 69 13
Uni Queensland 57 12
Monash U 49 10
RMIT 21   9
UTS 23   4

Gender: 257 applicants were women (16.3 per cent success rate), 411 men (13.9 per cent) and seven (14.3 per cent) did not specify gender.

CMM’s pick of the projects (base criteria: having at least a vague grasp of what academics will work on):

Anita Ho-Baillie (Uni Sydney): photovoltaics to power space hardware

Julia Blanchard (U Tas): ocean-based food security under climate change

Bina D’Costa (ANU): protection of children in forced migrations

Christopher Drovandi (QUT): fitting complex simulation-based statistical models to data

Jennifer Flegg (Uni Melbourne): data integration modelling for infectious diseases response

Ajmal Mian (UWA) “robust and explainable” 3D computer vision

Nigel Rogasch (Uni Adelaide): neural mechanisms of working memory



Govt says no to independent science advice for MPs

Senators Janet Rice (Greens) and Kim Carr (Labor) proposed the Senate Economic References Committee consider a parliamentary science office

There’s one at Westminster that provides independent advice and a case has already been made for one in Canberra (CMM February 18, August 6).

To which the government replies nothing doing.

“The proposal to create a new body would see more taxpayer money spent on more bureaucracy, duplicate existing functions and mechanisms and see no appreciable gain in the effectiveness or the efficacy of scientific advice,” Minister (for many things) Jane Hume told the Senate.

Those rumblings you hear are the after-shocks of Senator Carr and Senator Rice speaking up for a body to advise members and senators, independent of agencies of the executive – perhaps along the lines of the Parliamentary Budget Office.

Senator Carr, in particular took the himalayan-high ground, suggesting the government’s record on support for science demonstrates, “they have yet to come to terms with the Enlightenment … one of the finest achievements of Western civilisation. It is the flowering of the enlightenment values of organised rational inquiry— inquiry into the nature of the world around us and inquiry into humanity’s place in the world.”

Exit, stage left

Laurence Coleman is leaving government relations at UWA. He will become chief of staff to federal Labor MP and shadow trade minister, Madeleine King.