University of South Australia still hacked

If whoever has hacked Uni SA has demands, they can’t email them

Learned readers report Uni SA email was still down at 7pm last night following a weekend security breach (CMM yesterday), which they speculate could be caused by Ryuk file-encrypting ransomware.

The university isn’t commenting on anything, stating that they have referred whatever has happened to “the authorities.”  Presumably among them being the Australasian Higher Education Cybersecurity Service.

There are also suggestions that the hack was about acquiring staff data to on-sell, as occurred in a huge way at the University of California, (CMM April 7). But five days on, observers suggest there is nothing to indicate that staff-files are compromised. The attack appears to be straightforward cyber stand-over, with the perpetrators wanting to be paid to go away.

This would not be the first Ryuk ransom attempt in South Australia– Onkaparinga Council was hacked Christmas 2019.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

People whose partners sabotage their education through coercive control need help – university communities should provide it. Angela Hill, Braden Hill, Fiona Navin and Michelle Rogers (all Edith Cowan U) make the case.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese proposes funding a “start-up year” for students and new graduates “with ventures attached to a tertiary institution or designated private accelerator.” But how will they know how to start their start-up? Flinders U has a university-wide programme teaching innovation and enterprise skills and competencies. Vice Chancellor Colin Stirling  explains what it does and why it works.

Major outcomes from micro-credentials not assured  (and what to do about it)

As providers pile into short courses Michael Healy warns micro-credentials “do not, in and of themselves, guarantee career or employment success”

This is not exactly the implication in university marketing campaigns for short courses, which former education minister Dan Tehan started last year, as a COVID-19 recovery programme for people needing to re-skill and which continue.

Writing in the Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, Mr Healy (Uni Southern Queensland), suggests four career problems with M-Cs,

* people who think they need them for a job might not

* people might misunderstand market demand or not know what the entry requirements are for particular jobs

* “reactive or anxious learners” might accumulate M-Cs “haphazardly”

* people with M-Cs may not know how to explain their benefits to employers

“Education providers have a responsibility to ensure that career information and support is actively offered to micro-credential learners, just as it is for students in degree programmes,” he suggests.

Mr Healy is participating in a panel discussion on employability next Thursday at the Needed now in teaching and learning conference.

Uni Melbourne’s Professional Services Redesign rolls on

An announcement on Stage Two outcomes is expected “in a couple of weeks”

PSR was announced in August, as a part of a pandemic savings programme.

Stage One, has not been much fun – certainly not for staff made redundant in February, 198 took VRs and another 107 were told to go, (CMM March 25). But exits for some are said to be delayed – with people being asked to stay on for a bit, to staff student recruitment, what with open day on the way.

Management has also faced vigorous protests from staff.  A proposal to outsource the functions of the training and engagement team in Research Computing Services was dropped, the function moves to the Data Analytics Programme (CMM February 22). And now grounds-staff will keep working, at least until next year, after a grass-roots (sorry) campaign. Nor has the campaign made savings equivalent to all the jobs going – by end March 76 new positions were announced.

Uni Melbourne observers suggest staff are also anxious, with confusion as to who will do what work under PSR1.

And now people are anxiously awaiting news on stage two. “Phase 2 PSR changes continue in a tone-deaf approach to pandemic ‘recovery’,” the new National Tertiary Education Union branch leadership, Annette Herrera, David Gonzalez and Graham Schaffer, tell members.

At Uni Wollongong senate speaks up

Management has changed the membership mix of Academic Senate, to reduce the number of elected academics (CMM April 15)

This has not gone down well with some newly former, and current members.

A special meeting of Senate on Tuesday resolved that the university’s Council should consult with Senate and the wider university community on the changed membership. Uni Wollongong management says council will consider the resolution “in due course.”

However, the university adds, “the reshaped Academic Senate can now move forward with fulfilling its important role in overseeing academic matters.”

The National Tertiary Education Union, which has campaigned against fewer elected academics on academic senate, has a different perspective. NSW division secretary Damien Cahill calls the Senate resolution, “a great victory for collegial governance and against rampant managerialism.”

International students want what they pay for but aren’t getting

People caught overseas when the borders closed aren’t happy

Students now learning on-line question, “whether it is worth the high tuition fee” the Council of International Students Australia reports. And “the continued delay in returning international students presents a stark contrast to competitive study destinations such as the UK and Canada.”

“More transparency is needed from the government about when they are able to come back,” survey analyst and CISA national president, Belle WX Lim reports. Specifics in the survey include:

* over half of the sample are “very unsatisfied” with on-line classes, mostly due to an absence of interaction with peers and teachers and when they are on, “many reported having to attend classes in the middle of the night”

* students studying on-line in their home countries are not getting a big part of what they signed-up for – experiencing life in Australia

* students want fees reduced by at least 30 per cent because learning is on-line and they cannot access campus facilities

And yet even with all that, “ultimately,” Ms Lim reports, “students are desperate for a plan to return.”

What students (really) need now

Two big issues shape sessions at the Needed Now … conference next Thursday

* Student mental health and wellbeing: No longer under the radar, with Chi Baik (Deakin U), Nicole Crawford (National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education), Rachael Field (Bond U), Ian Hickie (Brain and Mind Centre, Uni Sydney) and Ben Veness (CQU)

* Employability: what, when, where, how and for whom, with Dawn Bennett (Bond U), Michael Healy (Uni Southern Queensland), Jess Vanderlelie (La Trobe U) and Troy Williams (Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia).

Full programme for the week here.

Appointment, achievement

Michelle Eady (Uni Wollongong) becomes Asia Pacific VP of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Niko Sünderhauf (QUT) is an honourable mention on the AI 2000 Most Influential Scholars in Robotics list. Inclusion is based on citations and author order in “selected papers” for the last decade.