Ultimate double whammy

ARC-funded researchers from Curtin U are part of a team analysing core samples extracted from a crater in Mexico. They find that the asteroid that caused the mass extinction of dinosaurs triggered a giant tsunami. That will get you every time.

Cisco signs-on with La Trobe U

LT U will join Cisco’s IT innovation network with a research programme, including a co-funded chair in the Internet of Things

It’s Cisco’s second Melbourne partnership in four week – last month it announced a cyber-security training centre at Victoria U.

And last week Cisco signed an MOU with TAFE Directors Australia, to focus on digital skills and cybersecurity.”

It also works with Flinders U on a cyber-security degree, has an IoT censor-based energy conservation research project at UTS, is a member of the Edith Cowan U based Cooperative Research Centre for Cyber Security and has supported a Curtin U MOOC series on IoT.

And then there are the Cisco Learning Academy Partners; (deep breath) UniSA, Flinders U, Charles Darwin U, Federation U, Charles Darwin U, Victoria U, La Trobe U, RMIT, Swinburne U, Deakin U, Curtin U, Murdoch U, Uni Southern Queensland, Western Sydney U, UTS, Uni Newcastle, Uni Queensland, QUT, Uni Sunshine Coast, UNSW, Griffith U and U Tas – plus a swag of school and colleges.

As a way of ensuring the next generation of network practitioners and researchers are friendly to and familiar with Cisco and its works this is all very hard to beat.

From selection to election via QUT

QUT is taking applications for its new pathway to politics programme

It’s open to all women who are graduates of any Queensland university and would like to run for elected office but don’t have the keys to a factional machine.  It is modelled on the University of Melbourne scheme that started in ’17. Three  women who did the programme there won seats at last year’s Victorian election.


Edtech is where it’s at

By Claire Field

It’s the global edtech conferences and events where education is discussed

In reflecting on last week’s TAFE Directors Australia conference, it occurred to me that one thing was missing from the program … a dialogue about improving educational performance.

It’s not just a TDA issue. All leading conferences in the sector (and yes, ACPET as was, ones too when I was there) discuss government policy change, funding, regulation, responsiveness to the changing world of work, educator capability building, etc. Rarely do they focus on improving student learning.

By contrast, it’s now the global edtech conferences and events where education is discussed.

The edtech sector has moved beyond simply facilitating more online delivery at a lower cost. Edtech companies are scientifically studying learning and using the evidence, combined with the power of AI, to change teaching and assessment practices. They now have proof they can teach learners more and have them retain that knowledge for longer than traditional providers can via face-to-face delivery.

That’s why corporates, like Optus who spoke at the TDA conference, are looking beyond the formal tertiary sector for their upskilling needs.

There’s more here if you want a run down on some of the edtech companies I’ve been impressed by and the results their learners are getting, or here if you prefer a podcast version (Episode 2).

Claire Field advises on VET, international education and private higher education.

More building at ANU

There is $80m for new Art and Design facilities

The university will refurb the existing school and build a new space, “to revolutionise the way the two disciplines are delivered.”

In August ANU announced a 20-year plan to transform the campus into a pedestrian pleasure, with more space for strolling and less for on-street parking. Both follow the completion of the $260m Kambri complex.

The state of NSW TAFE

The education minister and officials were asked a bunch of questions by well-informed MPs at Budget Estimates

It was not quite Kim Carr in full cry, as admired by connoisseurs of Senate Estimates, but everybody was deep in the weeds at Legislative Council estimates on Friday. There were wide-ranging questions, including many on needed courses not being taught, about fewer students and more casual teachers, declining enrolments and skill shortages.

One asked by David Shoebridge (Greens) summed it all up – why international student numbers at TAFE fell from 4400 in 2015 to 2555 last year (no CMM has not left a zero off). Acting managing director Kerry Penton replied:
“Certainly in the international student area I think what I can say with respect to that, when you look at the time period, part of that is impacted by what is happening in the market and the numbers of students who are interested in studying, and I think it would also be fair to say that as we have been undertaking our large modernisation program through this transition, given the size and scale of it, particularly from an international perspective, also ensuring that we meet the regulatory requirements in the international sector, there has been an impact and certainly there is a focus for TAFE NSW to improve in this space.”

Everybody clear on that?

Journal giant Elsevier creates new demands for its services

The journal giant is running separate strategies in its campaign against the open access push 

One of them is to defend its existing business model, notably in the dispute over open access with the University of California. Another is to demonstrate to researchers how much they need Elsevier’s vast information and analytics resources. The newly released Trust in Research survey presents Elsevier as a valuable resource.

The survey finds a third of researchers are sceptical of the research they read, which is presumably why half of the total sample only read peer-reviewed journals.

“We don’t think it’s fair that researchers should have to work harder than ever to verify and validate the information they build their research on,” Elsevier states, pointing to its Mendeley (research management) and Science Direct (platform with 16m peer reviewed books and articles).

And, and it is an and which is interesting indeed, “we plan to continue developing new capabilities to help researchers manage complexity while staying in control of their work and freeing up time to focus on their goals.”

Appointments, achievements

Antje Blumenthal (Uni Queensland is the Life Sciences Research Leader in the 2019 Women in Technology, Queensland awards.

Uni Queensland’s Jo Bowles (biomedical science) and Kate Schroder (molecular bioscience) are joint winners of the emerging leader award from the ANZ Society for Cell and Developmental Biology.

Sarah Joseph reports she will move to Griffith U’s law school in February. She is now director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash U.

Jacques Miller (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) shares the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award with Max Cooper (Emory U). Their work is said “to have launched the course of modern immunology.”

Michael Wesley joins the University of Melbourne as DVC International. He moves from dean of College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU.