People’s best friend

There is no evidence that cats and dogs are a source of COVID-19 the University of Sydney advises. “You are way more likely to catch something from a human than a pet,” Mark Lawrie from the university’s Vet teaching hospital says. Plus, pets aren’t anal about toilet paper.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning;

Maria Raciti (Uni Sunshine Coast)  on the joined-up education-to-occupation blueprint low SES students want. It’s a new essay in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Plus, Merlin Crossley (UNSW)  points out the positive prejudice when scientists give talks,

And Tim Winkler  lists ten ways to deal with the virus crisis.

Research kept in quarantine

There’s a bunch of virus science that isn’t open

For-profit journal giant Elsevier has created an open-access resource of published research on COVID-19 (CMM January 30) which is good.

But not quite good enough, considering how much research on corona viruses it, and other journal producers have produced.

According to Vincent Larivière, Fei Shu and Cassidy R. Sugimoto, writing for the LSE, there are 13 800 research articles on coronaviruses listed on the Web of Science – and less than half are open access.

Macquarie U steps-up for casual staff in virus crisis

The university is open for business but it has a plan if it can’t

Macquarie U will stay open, for now, with Vice Chancellor S Bruce Dowton telling staff and students, “cancellation of MU public gatherings at this time would not be proportionate, nor particularly effective.

However, Professor Dowton assures the community the university has a plan if it has to close, specifically to assist casual staff. “I recognise the loyalty and commitment of our casual workforce and that many of you rely on your shifts to meet day to day expenses.”

Professor Dowton commits the university to;

*  allowing casuals whose jobs permit to work from home

* rearranging shifts where possible

* assisting other casual staff by paying them for rostered work for two weeks. If the university is closed for longer, “we will review the situation accordingly.”

CRC RACE winner

The feds have announced one of the Round 21 Cooperative Research Centres

It’s the Reliable, Affordable, Clean Energy for 2030 CRC. Lead partner is UTS, with Monash U, Curtin U, UNSW, Griffith U, Uni SA, RMIT, QUT and CSIRO all involved. There are said to be three more CRC announcements. It must be tough for the other winners to keep shtum, given they have known for weeks.

Uni Melbourne works on social media

It’s been four days since a ranking but relax there’s a new issue of one that is different (no surveys, just stats)

Uni Melbourne leads Edurank for February. The UK analytics outfit measures university brand (audience size) and performance (user-growth, posts engagement) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  The principality of Parkville is in top spot on both brand and performance, ahead of UNSW and Uni Sydney. No surprises here – the three have big social media presences.

But it gets interesting after that. The next three have a less to work with, in terms of content-volume and brand-bulk – Swinburne U, Uni SA and La Trobe U. They are ahead of much bigger organisations, Uni Queensland seventh and Monash U, ninth (RMIT is eight).

While social media mavens explain this is the result of search engine optimisation and what not it might be down to good stories cleverly told and artful messages, well-packaged.

The Academy of Science demonstrates how it is done. Back in 2018 it cracked a million Facebook likes, five times it’s US equivalent, (CMM October 5) and it now has 2.1m followers. Creating content that people want to watch and read will do that.

Students ignore comms from campus

More experienced students ignore messages from uni

Study support provider (and CMM advertiser) Studiosity surveyed student attitudes to university correspondence to find the more experienced they are the less attention they pay. Some 84 per cent of the sample studying for five or more years were the least likely to open comms from campus.

And 13 per cent of students surveyed said they never open university messages.

Across the board 30 per cent thought messages were irrelevant, 29 per cent that they had no value for them and 13 per cent that the comms were too long.

As to how they receive messages, 64 per cent want them by email (so much for suggestions the young don’t use it) and 19 per cent by social media.

Picture this

Visualise your Thesis is on for a second year.

It’s a competition for research students presenting their big idea in 60 seconds, using a supplied digital template. (CMM November 8 2019).

Some 15 universities, so far, are participating, including Uni Melbourne where research managers created the idea.

CMM is waiting for somebody to take the trifecta, winning this a, three-minute thesis presentation and dance your PhD.

Six ed-tech challenges

Ed-tech is arriving ready or not.

Neil Selwyn (Monash U) and colleagues set out six challenges for schools in the 2020s.

* “new forms of digital in/exclusion”: “Those individuals who are well-resourced and have strong educational backgrounds are likely to benefit the most from digital education.”

* AI using platform economics: “artificial intelligence will increasingly become the engine of education, and student data the fuel”

* “divisions of learning across humans and machines”: “re-establish the value of formal education in an era of ubiquitous learning (by machines, from ‘our’ data)”

* IT corporates in education: “school systems will continue to be subject to major pushes for privatisation of the digital infrastructures”

* edtech in age of climate change: “planning future education technology use with a primary aim of ‘coping with finiteness’ ”

* finding alternatives: “educational technology designers taking time to think about who they are designing for, who their most vulnerable users are, and who their designs might harm as well as benefit.”

Neil Selwyn and ors, “What’s next for ed tech: critical hopes and concerns for the 2020s,” Learning, media and technology