Grim expectations, ok outcome

The QILT 22 grad satisfaction survey is out (scroll down) with an “overall satisfaction” score, but not responses for teaching and generic skills – these were deleted at the request of the industry-group which advises the government.  The survey report makes no mention why but anticipation of the COVID caused switch to on-line classes might have had something to do with it.

There’s more in the Mail

In Expert Opinion

Tim Cahill (Research Strategies Australia) on the extraordinary ways AI is changing research, HERE

and in Features

Tim Winkler (HEJobs) on how to make working life better for the ageing academic workforce, plus the people waiting for their jobs

with; The skills musicians need include coping in the gig economy and being future-ready for the opportunities and otherwise that turn up. Diana Tolmie (Griffith U) reports on preparing students for the challenges of this most precarious of professions, and for jobs in general. “Don’t call it a career plan – our post-normal world does not work that way anymore,” she writes in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning. HERE

plus Merlin Crossley (UNSW) reminds us technologies are nothing without great teachers

Grad employment looking good

Employment of domestic grads with new UG degrees was well off the pandemic bottom last year, as set out by new survey results from the Commonwealth’s Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching

At 78.5 per cent, FT employment for 2022 was nearly ten per cent up on the ’20 (68.7 per cent and ’21 (68.9 per cent) figures. Overall employment was also up, but by around 4 per cent on both previous years, to 88.3 per cent.

The FT employment rate for undergraduate degree completers is the highest since 2009.

QILT reports new bachelor grad’s (including internationals) overall satisfaction with their course was 77.4 per cent for 2022, the lowest score for what was previously a stable rating, 80.6 per cent in 2016 and 80.7 per cent in 2020.  However the drop is not as pronounced as the previous year’s student survey – maybe people mellow after they graduate.

As ever, universities were out yesterday promoting their QILT scores, which makes worth noting QILT comments; “it is important to acknowledge that factors beyond the quality of teaching, careers advice and the like, such as course offerings, the composition of the student population and variations in state/territory and regional labour markets, may also impact on employment outcomes.

Braced for bad news at Australian Catholic U

The university advises its plan to cut 110 FTE professional positions will be out this week

Which will have surprised as many as none who fear they are in the gun.  ACU announced in November it needed $30m in savings, of which $16.3m would come from cuts to professional staff (CMM November 23). Yesterday’s announcement triggered the formal consultation required by the university’s enterrprise agreement.

Uni push to be in the room where national reconstruction happens

The Australian Technology Network tells a Senate committee inquiry the main aim of the National Reconstruction Fund should be economic progress and “partnering with and investing in universities will be key”

But to make this happen, the bill creating the fund should “specifically and explicitly enable investment in universities.”

And it should require  a university representative on the board.

“The NRF can form a vital part of the research ecosystem and stimulate investment in all stages of research and development by providing tangible and achievable pathways for research, the relevant workforce, startups and scaleups,” ATN asserts.

Good-o, except that the Government presents the NRF as building manufacturing capacity in key industries. “Australia should be a country that makes things. It should be able to create jobs,” Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic said in Reps Question Time yesterday. And he mentioned areas of expertise NRF board members would need, in “banking and finance, venture capital, private equity, economics and industry policy—that industrial background that is really important.”

So that should be that – and it will be if the government has the numbers in the Senate. But if they are in doubt there may be room for HE lobbies to convince cross-benchers that their members can fire up the fund.




Colin Simpson’s edtech reads of the week

Talking to students about ChatGPT from Twitter

Something that is becoming more and more apparent as the discourse around the generative AI revolution continues is the virtual absence of student voices. We are making a great many assumptions about what they think and what they will do, but are they valid? Emily Pitts Donahoe from the English department at Notre Dame University (US) runs through a recent discussion she had with her first year writing students, touching on academic integrity and the quality of AI outputs.

ChatGPT and Interviewing Learner Personas from Rebecca Hogue

Looking at teaching from another angle, instructional (learning) designers sometimes use ‘personas’ in a design process to centre their work around learner need. A persona might include demographic information alongside personalities and learner motivations. Rebecca Hogue explores using ChatGPT to have (basic) conversations with personas that might be interested in shifting careers to the instructional (learning) design discipline. As with many AI outputs, it can be a little basic but also offers a convenient framework to refine.

Put Down the Shiny Object: The Overwhelming State of Higher Education Technology from WCET Frontiers

Without realising it, I appear to have hit upon a student centred theme this week. This article summarises some interesting discussions relating to what students want and need from the various education technologies in their institutions – and particularly the way their educators choose them and use them. Key ideas include academic freedom vs consistency, support & training, and cognitive overload from too many new tools.

Addressing Moodle’s ‘Image problem’ from Catalyst

Catalyst is a major host and developer for the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS), so it is always worth being mindful of your source with these posts. As someone who has worked with Moodle in a number of institutions of the years though, the key ideas here certainly resonated. What do you do when a perception emerges that your institutional system seems “tired” or “dated”? Is this valid or are there other factors influencing this? How much can and will recent updates to Moodle change this?

The Teaching Game from Wharton Interactive

Developing good learning and teaching practices in educators in Higher Ed has its challenges. This short interactive game developed by the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania does a lot of heavy lifting in showcasing some key concepts as players work through a fun 10 min teaching scenario.

ChatGPT – what do we need to know now? – CRADLE/TEQSA webinar Wednesday February 15 2pm – 4pm AEDT

Featuring Margaret Bearman (Deakin), Helen Gniel (TEQSA), Jeannie Marie Paterson (Melbourne), Rowena Harper (Edith Cowan) and Jonathan Roberts (QUT)

This webinar explores the ethical, policy and management issues immediately raised by the presence of generative AI, along with a perspective from an educator who is currently redesigning their course in response to ChatGPT.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 at CIT, ANU, Swinburne University and Monash University. He is also one of the leaders of the ASCILITE TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner (or @[email protected] on Mastodon)


Kathryn Hore becomes associate director of Uni Melbourne’s Archives and Special Collections. She moves from Deakin U.

Uni Sydney VC Mark Scott is the new chair of The Conversation Media Group.

Engineering and management consultant Ross Waring becomes director of the Technology Resources and Critical Minerals Trailblazer programme at Curtin U