Don’t spend the $1bn for research all at once

The international students fee rivers of gold that fund a great deal of research will not flow soon.  “International travel, including by tourists and international students, is assumed to remain largely closed off until late next year and then gradually return over time,” says Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.



There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley on why Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna deserve their Nobel Prize in Chemistry and what they won it for.

David Kellermann (UNSW) on creating a serious solution for on-line lecturing. Curated content from Microsoft.

Kym Fraser (Swinburne U) and Denise Chalmers (UWA) on why quality teaching should be the basis of performance funding.  This week’s selection by Contributing Editor Sally Kift for her series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Tehan funding package passes Senate

The government’s higher education bill passed the Senate late afternoon. But critics should keep the venom on ice.

The government has agreed to a review of the legislation in 18 months.

Critics of the now reduced funding rates for STEM subjects will use this to make their case. In fact, they already are.

Last night Science & Technology Australia’s Jeremy Brownlie said the review, should “assess the adequacy of funding rates for STEM so we don’t end up with fewer STEM places when the government wants more of them.”

(The Senate committee inquiry into the then bill had proposed a review in two years, CMM October 1)

MOOCs: suitable for scholarships

Here’s something scary for scholarship fund-raisers – philanthropy paying for MOOC study

Macquarie Group (as in the bank) will pay student fees for “skills-based” courses offered via edX.

There’s $1m, “to support economic recovery by assisting learners seeking skills-based programming.”  Funding is focused on people from Australia, India, the UK and US.

edX offers a spread of prices. You can spend a few dollars for a completion certificate, say $69 for ANU’s Introduction to Actuarial Science through to $25 000 for a full masters, say Uni Queensland’s leadership innovation degree.


Can naming rights be far away?

Murdoch U sages on virtual, interactive, stages

Students who want will still be on campus, just not for lectures

Next year Murdoch U will “continue to shift the focus to student-centred learning and assessment design, to ensure that students are engaged in high quality and authentic learning experiences,” PVC E Kylie Readman tells staff.

What that means is less lectures, at least of the people in a room, kind. “Even without the impact of COVID-19, this is a contemporary and pedagogically sound approach that increases students’ flexible access to learning and is aligned to our technology enhanced learning strategy,” she adds.

Not that there will be no students on campus. “The feedback from students has been clear – they have enjoyed having the flexibility of engaging with the subject matter at a time of their choosing and have a preference to maintain some face-to-face contact for tutorials and labs, allowing them to maintain academic and social connections.” So, pandemic permitting, “most tutorials, workshops and laboratories will continue to be held face-to-face – as will all other activities requiring a specialised location,”

But, less so lectures, even for students actually on-site. “Content previously shared in lectures can be replaced by a number of options, all of which give you and your students more time to interact, collaborate and work with the subject matter in smaller group activity modes – on-line or on campus.”

Professor Readman proposes multiple methods:

* mini-lectures, with associated online activities and interactions.
* curated content with “associated online activities and interactions”
* integrating lecture content with active-learning (without growth in overall contact time)
* and if these aren’t possible, on-line synchronous lectures which are timetabled, recorded and includes interaction with and between students “in the synchronous mode.”

COVID-19 on campus

People on CQU Sydney and Macquarie U campuses have tested positive for COVID-19

Macquarie U closed its sports centre yesterday, which is expected to reopen today. The rest of campus stayed open.

CQU is closed, at least for today. Staff and students on campus from September 23 will require a negative test to return.

There was one infected person at each university.

Job losses in Uni Queensland TESOL

In August Uni Queensland announced a plan to retrench 46 of 87 positions, in its Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education, what with demand being down 70 per cent. 

In response to which staff kicked up, (CMM August 25), making a comprehensive case for watching and adapting to changing demand.

Management responded by putting on hold disestablishing 22 teaching and academic manager positions, “in light of higher than forecasted student numbers for the remainder of the calendar year. And there was “no precise date” set on abolishing 24 targeted admin positions (CMM September 8).

That’s going to change – the professional staff consultation committee has voted on the 24 jobs and has sent their decision up the line. If approved by senior management, a university representative states, “affected staff will have the option to look for other opportunities with the university.”

Dolt of the day

Dolt of the day

In CMM. In the email edition yesterday, reported TEQSA has renewed Murdoch U’s registration. In fact, Murdoch U met a compliance assessment, widely seen as an essential step for re-registration.

Appointments, achievements

Of the Day

Harlene Hayne will become VC of Curtin U in April. She moves from Uni Otago where she has been VC since 2011. She joined Otago in 1992. “What started as an academic adventure … has turned into a career that has been second to none,” she told the university community yesterday.

Of the week

Eric Chow (Monash U) wins the 2020 Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research.

CQU announces the VC awards for learning and teachingSonia Saluja (Health, Medical and Applied Sciences). Physiotherapy team; Vanesa BochkezanianLuke HealesSasha JobSean Ledger, Steven ObstTanya PalmerAnthony Schneiders, and Samantha Swain.

Diana Glenn becomes head of Australian Catholic University’s School of Arts. Professor Glenn moves from Flinders U.

Anne Henderson and Gerard Henderson (both from the Sydney Institute) receive hon docs from Australian Catholic University

Jenni Judd is appointed academic lead and mentor for CQU’s First Nations Research Higher Degree Academy. Professor Judd is based in the university’s Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research.

Brian Martin (Monash U) is awarded Eucalypts Australia’s Bjarne K Dahl Medal for “a significant and sustained contribution.”

Australian Catholic U promotes Michael Ondaatje to Deputy Director of the new Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 Marie Sierra is the incoming dean of Uni Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. She will join from UNSW.