There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Lydia Woodyatt on burnout and what leaders can do to help staff. No, “awkward cake” in the lunchroom isn’t part of it. A new contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

plus Fion Lim (UTS) on the big markets for Australian trans national education – India is not about to replace China.

and Merlin Crossley on how journal eLife picks up the pace on peer reviewing and why it matters, really matters.

NHMRC still explaining gender equity

For years the National Health and Medical Research Council copped criticism for the way year men consistently received more grants than women. And so this year the NHRMC did something about, but only after consulting and then consulting some more

But it appears even now the message not reached all researchers. CEO Anne Kelso is in the Medical Journal of Australia on-line, explaining the what and why of its new policy to award equal numbers of Investigator Grants to men and women. “Among those who participated in the consultation, there was overwhelming support for a new intervention to improve gender equity in the scheme,” she writes.

Which might explain why she is explaining still – people not engaged with the issue not paying attention.

Gosh, now who might they be? CMM has no clue, but does remember the NHMRC commenting on Investigator Grant distribution that, “the predominance of male applicants at the most senior levels of the scheme, where budgets tend to be largest, is a major factor underlying the award of more grants and more overall funding to men than women,” (CMM February 4 2022).

TAFE lobby leader makes case for fewer VET private providers

Questions must be asked about the long tail of VET providers,” says TAFE Directors Australia chief Jenny Dodd

Ms Dodd contrasts the 29 TAFEs and dual-sector universities with 3800 private providers.

The public sector organisations are large (average 900 staff) and their workforces “operate to public service codes of conduct.” However the average private registered training organisation has 12 training staff, “which produces a very different training model.” Ms Dodd states, “we support the role of quality independent for-profit RTOs. However …” (and she follows with an himalaya high rhetorical question”, “whether we should be spending more and more on regulation of the long tail or should we raise the barrier to entry?”

“ How do we get to a market structure that reduces the cost of regulation, improves outcomes, and ensures Australia’s VET reputation? Reducing the number of providers may be what’s needed now,” she adds.

Colin Simpson’s ed tech must reads of the week

Not drowning, waving: The role of video in a renewed digital learning world from AJET

Most discussion of video for teaching in Higher Education centres around specific applications but this insightful study from Meg Colasante (Deakin) offers a multidimensional typology which should be invaluable for anyone with an interest in the bigger picture. She examines the use of video through functional purpose, academic focus (knowledge type) and pedagogical strategy to support educators and educator advisors in taking video far beyond a passive learning experience.

The effect of pre-questions on learning from video presentations from American Psychological Association PsycNet

Asking students questions about concepts or information that they have not yet been exposed to (‘pre-questioning’) has long been considered a useful tool for signposting and demonstrating contextual value in teaching. Carpenter and Toftness point out that some studies on the use of pre-questioning with reading exercises can have mixed results but see a positive overall impact when it comes to the use of video in this interesting article from 2017.

Ethical guidelines on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data in teaching and learning for educators from Publications Office of the European Union

The seeming explosion in AI tools this year has left many of us scratching our heads at how it will reshape learning and teaching in the near future. Fortunately, the EU continues to lead when it comes to meaningful action on emerging technologies, publishing this handy overview as part of current work towards a regulatory framework. The focus is more on the use of AI to enhance learning, it doesn’t really touch on the swathe of academic integrity issues presented by automated generation of text, but it is encouraging to see how these tools can be used well and justly.

“Do we have to use a wiki, Miss?” How Web 2.0 technologies can support students as inquiry learners in a secondary school from Lynette Hay (thesis)

Evidently I am in a 2017 kind of mood this week, as this rich doctoral thesis from Lynette Hay (CSU) is also from that year. This thesis explores the factors shaping student usage of a range of collaborative Web 2.0 tools that position users more as a web creators than as passive consumers. She offers handy suggestions on how to best support learners in finding the tools that best suit their needs.

Making the Move: Shift from Twitter to the Fediverse from Around the Corner

While the shenanigans on the Twitter side of the web continue to be hilarious, for those of us that have found community there, concern grows for the future. I must admit that I haven’t spent much time yet in Mastodon and it still feels not quite right but hopefully some of the tips in this migration overview will help.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 at CIT, ANU, Swinburne 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)

International student numbers: better on the one hand, not so much on the other

Numbers were largely unchanged on 2021 in the eight months to August, at 640 000 this year compared to 665 000 in ’21

But YTD commencements across the system were up, from 232 000 in ’21 to 289 000 this year. However compared to pre-pandemic 2019, starts were down 30 per cent.

Higher education starts this year are 126 000, up on 96 000 in ’21 and closing on 2019’s 157 000.

But China commencements in HE are down YTD, 42 000 this year against 48 000 last and 59 000 to August ’19.

In contrast, the number of commencing Indian HE students is strong, up from nearly 10 000 last year to 23 000 this, but thisw still substantially down on 35 000 in 2019.

In the Indian market the figure to watch is VET enrolments. It remains as was in the two previous pandemic years around 27 000 – significantly higher than 2019 (19 500).

As of August 1, 28 per cent of Chinese students enrolled in Australian institutions were not in Australia, compared to 3 per cent of Indians.

Victoria U addresses deficit

Late yesterday VC Adam Shoemaker announced a restructure

Five of the university’s higher education colleges are being combined into two. The First Year College, (“our job is to make you university ready”) is outside the process. The new structure is part of the university’s plan to address a projected $29.6m year-end deficit.

“We all care deeply about the future of VU and that is why we have taken these essential decisions. For us it is always a matter of “strategy first and structure second.”  That is what we have done—and why we have done it,” Professor Shoemaker said last night.





Monash U loses FOI case

A former staffer asked the university for access to electronically/digitally stored documents relating to a completed workplace investigation

The university allowed access to some but not others, on the basis that ordinary access provisions of the Freedom of Information Act did not apply. The university also wanted to charge a higher fee for providing documents stored electronically than if they were on paper.

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner did not agree with Monash U, neither did the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

So the university went to the Supreme Court of Victoria, seeking leave to appeal VCAT’s ruling. Judge Cavanough granted leave but dismissed the university’s appeal.

His judgement is HERE. Believe FOI matters? Worth reading.

Appointments, achievements

At Griffith U, Jennifer Boddy becomes dean of Sustainable Development Goals Performance. It’s an internal appointment.

Hunter Medical Research Institute 2022 awards go to, * Michelle Kennedy: early career researcher, * Nicole Nathan and the Physically Active Children in Education team: team excellence * Brett Nixon: research excellence, * Pradeep Tanwar: mid-career researcher,

Eric Morand (Monash U) receives the Hess Award from the Lupus Foundation of America.

Yiannis Ventikos is appointed dean of engineering at Monash U. He joins from University College London.