NERO at the National Skills Commission

The National Skills Commission is using “nowcasting,” “an emerging methodology that typically uses both traditional and real-time data, as well as big data techniques, such as machine learning, to estimate current trends in a timely manner.”

Good-o although the NSC adds its estimates “are broadly consistent” with Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Survey Data.

The commission calls its new product Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation, or NERO – yes, as in the Roman emperor who committed suicide after the establishment turned against him. Omen or not, it adds to NSC products with improbable acronyms, there already is the Jobs and Education Data Infrastructure, or JEDI.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

 Liz Johnson (Deakin U) on six learning activities which belong on-line. This week’s contribution to commission editor Sally Kift’s series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

James Guthrie (Macquarie) took a deep dive into the UWA annual report. Here’s what he found.

Plus, Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on student cheating and what to do about it. “Given limited resources we will have to prioritise. One possibility is that we might prioritise investing more in programmatic – senior year – assessments, and rely on “assumed knowledge” in the early years. It may be foolish to attempt to grade everything, and certify every learning outcome in each educational snack from cradle to grave.”

And, Kirsty Abbott and Amanda-Jane George (both CQU) explain what’s in the government’s new patent box for university researchers. Perhaps not a lot, ‘The general conclusion from existing research,” they warn, “is that similar schemes often do not achieve their desired effects of encouraging innovation or local research and development,” they suggest.

Redundancy rate for the job at Deakin U

Student adviser Lizeth Rodriguez was made redundant by Deakin U

Ms Rodriguez’s substantive position was a .5 fractional appointment at Geelong Waterfront but she was seconded to an .8 position at Burwood when she was made redundant. She thought the redundancy payment should be based on the Burwood hours but management thought that as it was her Geelong job which was gone, the .5 rate applied.

The disagreement ended up in the Fair Work Commission, where Commissioner McKinnon found for Deakin U, on the grounds Ms Rodriguez was being made redundant from her continuing job at Geelong and that the acting role at Burwood was not hers, “but the position of another person on extended leave.”

The difference for Ms Rodriguez is $13 000 less in redundancy.

More official sleep-overs at ANU

The university will quarantine-host  Australian travellers who are “returning,” “vaccinated” and “officials”

They will stay at the university’s Liversidge Street flats. The last lot, returning from the G7 meeting were put up at the Davey Street apartments (CMM June 21), which are now reserved for students who need to quarantine upon arriving from exotic destinations, like Sydney.

The ANU-Uni Canberra quarantine plan to bring internationals back presumably remains filed under F – for forlorn hope.

HDR work experience: sooner not better

The government plans to change how some of the $1bn research training programme is allocated

The idea is to use RTP funding “to reward universities” for having research PhD students take a three-month industry internship in their first 18 months.

The principle does not appear to be a problem, the Australian Council of Graduate Research and peak employer association Ai Group think linking PhD students with industry is good for both, – there’s a case for extending it to HDR masters.

But not all agree with a three-month placement in the first 12 months of study. Later could be better, ACGR suggests, “when PhD students have had a chance to develop their research expertise and transferable skills.”

“This narrow eligibility may result in unintended consequences which impact on the training of the next generation of researchers and not have the intended effect of boosting the interactions between universities and industry partners.”

Back in May the Department of Education, Skills and Employment stated the “government will be consulting shortly with the sector on implementation.”  When “shortly” will be is not stated – but research funding watchers say it has not happened yet and it needs to – the new model is set to start in January.

There might be another reason the research training community wants consultation to start soon-ish. The discussion paper for the government’s research translation inquiry asks, “would an Industry PhD programme help improve collaboration outcomes?” (CMM April 27).

If the inquiry decides it would, that could be another demand on the RTP and universities would want existing issues sorted before responding to the next bunch of bright ideas.

It would, a research translation veteran suggests, might all be easier if the McGagh review of the research training system had been adopted. At least the recommendation for a national placement for HDR students, run by an independent organisation (CMM April 14 2016).

RUN hard on new teaching review

The Regional Universities Network responds to the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review discussion paper

Back in March Education Minister Alan Tudge created the unfortunately abbreviatable Quality Initial Teacher Education Review, to “consider the next evolution of reforms to teacher education,” (CMM March 12). QITER issued a discussion paper last month (CMM June 21) to which RUN comprehensively responds, with points including,

* the network warns against relying on the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank as an indication of ITE students, suitability for teaching, certainly at RUN members, where many are mature age and are not accepted to study on an ATAR.

* it acknowledges that in ITE “the majority of students are still white, middle class and female” and suggests marketing, scholarships and promotion of the profession to expand the backgrounds of teacher education students

* it warns there are not enough ITE students to remedy teacher shortages, notably in regional, rural and remote Australia

* it calls for a more flexible accreditation system, for example to “facilitate pathways” for tradespeople into teaching

* and it speaks-up for its members’ academics, “ITE teaching staff comprise a mix of teacher educators with high level educational qualifications and who are current and active researchers in the field of education, as well as recent and practicing teachers with current and demonstrated effectiveness as a teacher in the classroom”

RUN also suggests that the reforms of Christopher Pyne’s Tertiary Education Ministerial Advisory Group CMM February 13 2015), which QITER is meant to build on, “have been rolled out for a relatively short period (four years), and it is still too early to determine their impact/success.”

Appointments, achievements

Australian Catholic U announces Queensland judge Martin Daubney will become chancellor in January. Melbourne lawyer Virginia Bourke will become pro-chancellor in July next year.

 The Australian Council for Education Leaders in NSW 2021 awards include. * Paul Brock Award (for a significant contribution to education): Patrick Duignan, (ACU), Pasi Sahlberg (UNSW) * Research Award: Rachel Wilson (Uni Sydney) * Scott Eacott (UNSW).

 Thom van Dooren (Uni Sydney) wins the Ludwig Fleck Prize for a book on science and technology studies for The Wake of Crows: Living and Dying in Shared Worlds (Columbia UP).

 The Genetics Society of AustralAsia announces its 2021 awards. * Medal for excellence in research: Kathy Belov (Uni Sydney) * Mid-career researcher: Camilla Whittington (Uni Sydney) *Early-career researcher: Seth Cheetham (Uni Queensland) * Best PhD: Emily Roycroft (Uni Melbourne, now ANU) * Educator: Phillip Wilcox (Uni Otago) * PhD travel award: Stephanie Chen (UNSW) *

The International Gynecologic Cancer Society includes Australian based researchers in its new honours. * Lifetime achievement: Michael Quinn (retired) * Teaching: Andreas Obermair (Uni Queensland)

The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and MRI allies, with the Picchi Brothers Foundation announce the Picchi Awards for cancer research. * Basic Science: Kenji Mark Fujihara (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) * Population Health: Martin Vu (Uni Melbourne) * Clinical Science: Stacie Shiqi Wang (the MRI formerly known as Walter and Eliza Hall).