Election app of the day

It don’t mean a thing if it don’t explain that swing

Griffith U re-announced its Queensland election  app yesterday. Readers who want to out-green Anthony should consult it for a mass of demographic data seat by seat.

UTas delivers what the MOOC is made for

The University of Tasmania’s Understanding Dementia MOOC does what it says and now there’s one on MS

Staff of the university’s Wicking Centre wanted to know what impact their MOOC had, so they surveyed a sample of the 42 000 people (no CMM did not add a 0) who have completed it. Claire Eccleston and colleagues report the results in the journal Science of Learning.

Using Wicking’s Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale, they discovered that people, with all sorts of experience in dealing with dementia and different levels of education increased their knowledge.

This is very good indeed. “The current data indicate that the UDMOOC is effective in improving awareness and understanding of dementia, across groups including informal carers, care workers, health professionals and the general public,” the team suggest.

So, listen-up ministers and mandarins, what works for dementia may also be delivered by MOOCs a bunch of other community needs where the state relies on citizen carers to carry the burden.  It’s time for powerful people to ask Wicking about what they have done and how they have done it.

And then they can ask about a new JV at UniTas, between Wicking and the Menzies Institute for Medical Research. They will launch at the end of the month a six-week MOOC, Understanding MS.

“Members of the public will increase their knowledge of MS-related issues and those in the MS Community will be empowered to create and contribute to personalised MS management plans.”

Good stuff, really good stuff.

A deal is done at QUT

Staff approve a joint uni-union proposal

Enterprise bargaining for QUT academics is over, with staff voting 523 in favour of the new agreement and 31 agin. And this was an informed electorate, just 16 per cent of eligible staff went to the polls. The proposal was supported both by the university and the National Tertiary Education Union and terms and conditions are broadly in-line with other outcomes in the present negotiating round –

It ends a grown-up negotiation, neither management nor union did the other any favours but it always appeared civil, certainly in contrast to the nupathons at other universities.

La Trobe funded for country-teacher programme

Outgoing government funds teaching for the regions

News that the outgoing government feds are funding La Trobe U for a programme for graduates to take up teaching in rural and regional schools will generate hollow laughter among some LT U education academics. There are claims the university is gutting teacher education at regional campuses, which management rejects. Teacher ed academics also say management will replace  staff on regional campuses with FIFO lecturers from metropolitan Bundoora  ( CMM March 21 and March 22).

UNSW and Uni Queensland lead in linkage grants

The last 12 Australian Research Council Linkage Grants awarded by the (first/only) Morrison Government are announced

Dennis Del Favero (UNSW) has $463 000 to research ways a “multi-located museum collection … can be aesthetically explored.” The grant is in partnership with the NSW three-site Australian Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. This follows Professor Del Favero’s November Linkage Grant to develop an interactive archive in collaboration with the Australian War Memorial.

Kim Foster (Australia Catholic U) and colleagues are funded to investigate mental health nurses’ “resilience, retention and quality of practice.”

Melanie Sawell from Flinders U will lead work to preserve the history of video games in Australia by emulating obsolete operating systems in the Cloud.

At ANU, Dragomir Neshev has $400 000 to research miniaturised optical systems to measure driver fatigue.

And a Uni Queensland team led by Kevin Thomas is looking to estimate tobacco and nicotine consumption in the community by waste water analysis.

All up UNSW and QUT have three grants each, Uni Queensland has two and Australian Catholic U, ANU, UTS and Uni Newcastle one each.

Elsevier out Cambridge U Press in at Uni California

The uni system wasn’t dreaming when it walked away from Elsevier

In negotiations over journal pricing the U Cal network asked publishing giant Elsevier to make articles by its academics open-access. According to UCal, Elsevier’s response was an offer that increased costs for the university (CMM March 4).

So, the university network walked, and is still walking, towards open access offers. U Cal now  it has struck a deal with University of Cambridge Press, “one of the first and largest transformative open access publishing agreements in the United States to date.”

A new model in the making for journal giant: Elsevier appears to be holding the line on open access to content in its journals, setting article processing charges, paid by academic authors or more likely their institutions, ranging from US $150 to US $5000.

But its overall strategy is changing as it diversifies from publishing into data services and analysis. Elsevier’s subsidiary Mendeley is working with Monash U and three international universities on ways to track the location of research data, with a new product due year end.

It’s a ways from the old journal model but when U Cal cancels subscriptions it needs to be.

A pronouncement of pundits

Nick Economou from Monash U is first in a campaign-series

The National Party heartland seat of Mallee, in the west of Victoria will go to preferences. The outgoing member Andrew Broad won it in 2016 with 64 per cent of first preferences.

Appointments of the week

TEQSA announced yesterday Joan Cooper is appointed a commissioner. The former academic and recent chair of TAFE NSW’s academic board has a five-year term at the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency.

Rod Cam joins NOUS consultants, based in Brisbane. Mr Camm led the Australian Council for Private Education and Training through the VET FEE HELP debacle, and did so with political, well, nous.

Christina Turner is the new HR director at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She replaces Mark Nugent, who has retired.

ANU’s David Lindenmayer is elected a fellow of the Ecological Society of America. In other awards to ANU-ites (ANU-ers?) emeritus professors Tom Griffith (History) and Libby Robin (Environment and Society) are jointly awarded the American Society for Environmental History’s distinguished career award.

Kent Anderson (ex ANU and UWA, now in advisory roles) is renewed as a member of the Australian National Library’s council.

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute is expanding its board with five appointments; Anne Baly from consultants PhillipsKPA. Sue Barrell, ex Bureau of Meteorology. Robyn Owens, DVC UWA.  Joe Forbes co-founder of commercial maths and analytics company, Biarri. Andrew Peele, director, Australian Synchrotron.

Ian Watt joins the Australian Maritime Museum CouncilDr Watt wrote the 2016Research Policy and Funding review (CMM December 7 2015).


Telling Siri to shut-up

Marnie Hughes Warrington used to write about the complexities of university management. Now she poses hard questions

In her new series the ANU historian is thinking aloud about the way history is constructed, by people asking or ignoring hard questions and embracing or avoiding ambiguity. It’s an issue embedded in the way we live now, when Siri can tell us what we should have asked and Amazon knows what we want to read. And it imposes an artificial certainty on us. “Sometimes you are the one that should be asked the question; or told about things you did not ask for; or told that there is no simple yes or no,” she writes. Great issues to address, on the day the election was called.