Ideas for universities in post COVID communities

How campuses connect to the cities and regions they serve is critical

Four university leaders talk about how it’s done at CMM’s new Zoom conference. Join Helen Bartlett (VC, USC) Glyn Davis, (former VC Uni Melbourne), Brian Schmidt (VC, ANU) and Deborah Terry (VC, Uni Queensland) today week. Details here.


ARC delay

Australian Research Council 2022 Future Fellowship applications were supposed to open tomorrow. They won’t.

The ARC announced yesterday it will advise when they do. There is no word on why. Perhaps the ARC is making sure there is no reference to pre-press citations being banned in the ultra-fine print, perhaps the minister has yet to approve the end of that widely unpopular rule.

Could be. As ARC chair Sue Thomas says in the October issue of agency’s e-mag, “The ARC continues to work through the change to preprint requirements including for schemes that were already open, as well as still to open. This is an ongoing process that requires a number of important processes, system and legislative changes and we appreciate patience while these are put in place.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Universities will open but that does not mean students want to be on campus. Samantha Hall (from Campus Intuition) has ideas on encouraging them. Hers is a new contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning. There will be more from Dr Hall at CMM and partners’ Reimaging the lives of the lectured conference next week.

plus, Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the power of youth in life, and university administration.

and, Garry Carnegie (RMIT) on the transformative power of rankings. “What we value is what we are, what we measure is what we become.”

Making really big data deliver  

There are a hell of a lot of devils in the  big data detail –it will take new gvernance to control them

A new paper from the Australian Academy of Science suggests the growth of available data and ways to analyse it, “are opening up new opportunities for research that ask questions not answerable before.”

Which means researchers will need “more sophisticated data skills,” and if some of the paper’s recommendations are an indication, more resources and governance. The paper’s proposals include,

* Chief Scientist “mandated to lead a national reform of research data”

* a national eResearch infrastructure council

* costs of research data management recognised in research funding

* data science recognised as an academic discipline, at four and six-level FOR code recognition

* direct infrastructure support for the Australian Data Science Network

* a national integrity statement for data-driven research

Cost of student consultation

A new workload model at Uni SA is expected next year

However, ahead of that the National Tertiary Education Union wants compensation for staff who it estimates gave up to 400 hours of their own time to assist students in 2020-21. “That’s a lot of free labour” the union tells members, announcing it intends to take the issue to the Fair Work Commission.

“Management asserts it has provided additional discretionary allocations here and there but these are random, opaque, and a drop in the ocean when measured against the voluntary contribution of staff,” NTEU state secretary Andrew Miller, tells Uni SA members.

CMM invited Uni SA management to respond but the university declined.

Medical benefits

The National Medicines Policy is being reviewed – Research Australia wants its members included

The lobby states it, represents “the whole of the health and medical research pipeline” and wants the research community to be, “explicitly identified as partners in the NMP.”

Researchers, “have an important role in evaluating innovative programmes delivered under the NMP, including in terms of effectiveness, cost, implementation outcomes and programme sustainability,” RA states.

The NMP now includes health practitioners, the medicines industry and healthcare consumers.

Colin Simpson’s Ed Tech reads for the week

This Former English Prof Built and Sold a Company: Here’s What She Learned from Roostervane

One thing commonly discussed about education technology companies is how well they understand the experiences and needs of teachers and students. One thing commonly asked of academics is how applicable their skills and knowledge are to “the real world.” This quick read from Roostervane, a Higher Ed oriented careers site, talks through some of the experiences of someone who moved from academia to ed tech and offers suggestions for those interested in this path.


Discussion on consistency in online course design from Neil Mosley (Twitter)

Ideas of “academic freedom” in terms of how courses should be designed and taught often butt heads with usability principles and institutional priorities when it comes to on-line learning. This debate is well captured in a tweet from @neilmosley5 and the subsequent string of responses, that cover ground include standardisation of courses, Geocities, cognitive load, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and some rather tortured analogies. Well worth a read to tour the many perspectives.


Student Guide to the Hidden Curriculum from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

Starting tertiary study can be a confusing experience for students, particular those who are first in family. There are labyrinthine systems to navigate and new terminology and concepts that are often treated as assumed knowledge. What is a PhD, a journal article, peer review? This guide, while UK-centric, offers clear and well-written explanations designed to support new students in this new world. I absolutely wish I had something similar when I started uni. (Thanks Thao for sharing).


Call for contributions – Innovation in Higher Education Assessment in COVID19 from JUTLP

The Journal of University Learning and Teaching Practice is an open publication hosted by the University of Wollongong. They are currently calling for contributions to an upcoming issue relating to innovation in assessment in the time of COVID19. Abstracts are due by November 1.


The Dreambank from University of California, Santa Cruz

Most of the time, hearing people recount their dreams can be a little tedious. They don’t fit conventional story structures and the details can be somewhat liminal. This site however, from psychology researchers at UCSC, captures brief (~100 words) retellings of more than 20,000 dreams from people aged between 7 and 74 over decades. It also includes discussions between the researchers and dreamers about the dreams. I spent way too long trawling through these one evening but it is a marvellous window into the minds of people we’d never otherwise hear.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner


Appointments, achievements

Trade Minister Dan Tehan appoints former RMIT VC Martin Bean a “business champion” for Australia and Vietnam.

Peter Leggat (James Cook U) becomes a knight of the Order of St John (as in Ambulance). He was its national director of training 2013-19. Professor Leggat is also the new president of the International Society of Travel Medicine (CMM May 28).

Paul Wappett is the new CEO at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. He was previously CEO of the Australian Institute of Business.