There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

“It is a prime national interest – of all nations – that politicians, the masters of the here and now, avoid interfering with research,” Ofer Gal (Uni Sydney) on the dangers of the government’s National Interest Test.

Plus Margaret Lloyd (QUT) on how she became one of “those” mature-age students. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning

Charles Darwin U announces much-needed masters

Huzza! the course will “train much-needed audiologists” in the Northern Territory

Too right they are needed.  In 2019 the Menzies School of Health Research warned nine in every ten Aboriginal children, under the age of three, in the Northern Territory, suffer from otitis media, or “glue ear” (CMM July 31 2019).

And yet, CDU states, in 2019, 3,100 First Nations children and young people in the NT were on a waiting list to see an audiologist.

The announcement extends CDU’s health education service strategy – a pharmacy masters was announced last week, (CMM Jan 28).


TEQSA announces new university college

The regulator anoints “multidisciplinary Christian,” Alphacrucis College as the fourth university college   

The university college category was created last year, with the first being Avondale UC, followed by the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Moore Theological College, and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (CMM July 2).

According to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, UC status  “recognises high-quality institutions and provides them with new opportunities to develop course offerings that meet the future needs of students, employers, industry and communities.”

The category can also be a step towards becoming a full university. TEQSA upgraded Avondale from UC to U in July.

And Alphacrucis wants to follow. “Our vision is to ultimately be a global Christian university, transforming neighbourhoods and nations. This decision takes us one step closer towards that goal.”

It also wants to grow, “there are 125 million Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians in the Asia-Pacific alone, with no Pentecostal universities. We hope this new category will help Australian faith-based higher education institutions engage with new educational markets within our regional environment.”


Unhappy anniversary

It’s a year since the military coup in Myanmar

Which is deplored in an open letter from, among others, the Asian Studies Association of Australia, the Association of Mainland South East Asian Scholars and researchers at ANU, Griffith U, UNSW, Uni Sydney  and Western Sydney U.
“The consequences of the coup on higher education are disastrous. After decades of debilitating dictatorship, universities and institutes in Myanmar were just beginning to find their feet when the military again seized control. The universities remain closed to students. With their shutdown go the hopes of another generation for quality education in Myanmar,” they write.

They also demand the release of political prisoners, including Australian economist and advisor to Aung San Suu Ky, Sean Turnell (hon prof Macquarie U) who has been imprisoned since the coup.

Victoria U stays flexible on returns to campus

Public health will set the strategy

Prac training and assessment for 5000 TAFE students at the dual sector institution have started on nine campuses, with staggered hours. University classes start Feb  18, with essential lab and clinical classes face to face and others live on-line.

The university expects to ramp-up live on-campus classes until they are a majority of teaching end April.

But VC Adam Shoemaker warns that if the public health situation “worsens” the university will “pivot.”

What is fixed however is that people on campus must be fully vaxed (ex exemptions) and wear masks in-doors.

VU will canvas student preferences and staff views February-March “to ensure that the highest standards of safety are maintained.”

Colin Simpson’s ed tech must-reads of the week

How not to write about HyFlex or online learning from Bryan Alexander

While most academic discourse follows intellectually rigorous conventions, there is one area that seems resistant to them. Commentary about technology enhanced and on-line learning, particularly from those who are new to it, often reveals a lack of understanding of the field and dwells instead on anecdata and laments for the good old days. Bryan Alexander steps through some of the most common flaws in these kinds of pieces in an entertaining post that calls for better conversations about this space.


Reverse engineering the multiple-choice question from The Effortful Educator

Multiple-choice questions (MCQs) are invaluable for making assessment at scale manageable and providing learners with quick feedback about their understanding of material. As learning tools though, they can be superficial and rarely reflect authentic uses of knowledge. The alternate approach to MCQs laid out in this post asks students to craft questions that use provided answers instead – the Jeopardy! approach to quizzing perhaps. While it may be more labour intensive to assess, this adds a richness to these kinds of questions.


Framework for Ethical Learning Technology from Association for Learning Technology

As the education technology market has grown and usage has become the norm, valid questions have been raised about factors beyond learning and teaching benefits. What are the drivers for businesses and university leadership in using them? How do we ensure that the focus stays on what learners need? The UK’s Association for Learning Technology (ALT) is developing a framework in four quadrants – awareness, professionalism, care and community and values – to help guide thinking in this brave new world.


Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching MOOC 2022 from Council of Australasian University Leaders in Learning and Teaching

Many universities offer some form of educational development to their teachers, but if yours doesn’t or you would like to supplement it, this MOOC developed by 10 Australian universities under the auspices of CAULLT is a particular rich free course to consider. Enrolments for the 2022 offering (28/2 to 29/7) are now open. It covers everything from teaching your first class to collaborative learning and the politics of Australian higher education.


Best puzzle games // 10 indie puzzle games you need to try from Cutie Indie Recs

I’ve long believed that education can learn a lot from game design in terms of creating engaging and enriching learning experiences. This nine-minute video from Cutie Indie Recs showcases some of the incredible variety and creativity that can be found in PC and mobile games now. I’m not entirely sure how to convert these to teaching but maybe inspiration will strike.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. He is also one of the leaders of the TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner

VC does the honours

Uni Wollongong has opened its new campus in Dubai. VC Patricia Davidson was there, so was another UoW luminary, David Hurley

Yes that David Hurley, the governor-general, who hails from the Illawarra and has a UoW hon doc.

Mr Hurley is in Dubai for a trade event and meetings with ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and ministers.

And yesterday the Governor-General was a guest at the campus launch.

Yes, UoW assures CMM the VC, not Australia’s head of state, officially opened the campus.

TAFE Directors’ set a test

TAFE Directors Australia’s Jenny Dodd reports the present industry engagement system makes updating first aid qualifications (really) difficult

She points to the new Industry Cluster system (CMM December 7 2021) which is supposed to simplify such things and sets a test;

“who will make the practical decisions that are good for students? In the case of first aid there was an easy solution. The new structure asks Industry Clusters to collaborate, but will that be enough to solve these types of problems?”

Once the cluster that oversees first aid is up and running it might want to make answering Ms Dodd’s questions a priority.

Appointments, achievements

Andrew Condon becomes industry professor for veterans and their families at Australian Catholic University. Mr Condon served 27 years in the army.

 Economic Society of Australia’s 2021 awards go to, * Public policy fellow: Stephen King (Productivity Commission) * Honorary fellow: Russell Ross (Uni Sydney) *Young economist:  Stefanie Schurer (Uni Sydney) * David Throsby (Macquarie U): Distinguished fellow.

John Evans becomes Swinburne U’s inaugural PVC Indigenous Education. In April he will move from UTS, where he is professor of Indigenous health.

Janet Wallace becomes professor of oral health at Uni Sydney’s School of Dentistry.

CSIRO COO Judi Zielke becomes acting CEO of the Australian Research Council this morning. She replaces Sue Thomas who announced in December she would leave the ARC end January, five months before her first term expired.