A seriously good time at  U Tas

The university announces a “festival of assessment” from Monday, “a week of workshops and activities related to the principles and practises of good assessment.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Needed Now in Teaching and Learning

Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series is back for ‘22 – this week Sandra Jones (RMIT) and Marina Harvey (Macquarie U) on distributed leadership, why it works and why it really is needed now.

Everything in the research garden isn’t lovely and two UNSW DVCs have thought on what needs to be done

Merlin Crossley (DVC E) URL  argues government must respect the research system and get out of the way.

And Nicholas Fisk (DVC R) suggests while the ARC is in a sorry state, the fundamentals are sound.


No CMM Australia Day

Back Thursday.

No workers comp for UNSW staffer’s “terrible and shocking experience”

In 2018  UNSW employee Mohammed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen was charged with planning a terror attack and held in custody for a month but the evidence against him was fabricated by another university worker

Mr Nizandeem claimed workers compensation from the university which responded his psychological injury had, “no connection or relationship to his employment.”

The NSW Personal Injuries Commission has found for UNSW, that while Mr Nizandeem’s experience was “terrible and shocking” the psychological injury he sustained did not arise “out of or in the course of his employment with his employer,” which the state’s Workers Compensation Act requires.

To go boldly where no plan has gone since last week

Last Thursday the Australian Academy of Science launched its space policy plan (CMM January 21) and now the Australian Space Agency releases its ten-year roadmap for robotics and automation “in earth and space.”  It’s the third in a series from the agency.

“This will support the long-term sustainability of outer space,” the ASA announces.

CMM had no idea space is a finite resource but good to know Australian agencies are on to it.

Colin Simpson’s ed tech reads of the week

Vignette – Blogs for cogs from Lexi Keeton.

While there is a lot of discussion about replicating face to face learning in the on-line environment, this misses the point that there are rich opportunities in this space to rethink education entirely. The Internet is a space where, for good or bad, everyone has a voice. Student work no longer needs to be read by a teacher and nobody else, it can be part of a bigger conversation – “learning into a megaphone” as Deakin Education student Lexi Keeton puts it in this insightful reflection on using blogs as part of her assessment.


What does ‘academic freedom’ mean in practice? Why the Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy employment case matters from The Conversation

If you’ve been fortunate enough to miss it, on-line discourse around the pandemic in the last two years has been an utter cesspit. As with other areas of science, academics offering public commentary about COVID19 have found themselves abused and threatened. This article from Jack Heinemann discusses employers’ responsibilities and academic freedom through the lens of a recent employment case brought by two academics at the University of Auckland about whether their institution has failed in its duty of care to them.


Does digital education research have an integrity problem? from Neil Mosley

Research surrounding education in higher education sometimes occupies a strange liminal space. While it should ideally be objectively evidence based and geared towards ever better learning and teaching practice, it is often diminished by educators who perhaps don’t like what it has to say about their existing practice. This is doubly so when it comes to on-line and technology enhanced learning and teaching. As with most things though, it’s much more nuanced than this and Neil Mosley, a UK based digital learning designer, steps through some of the complicating factors in this thoughtful piece.


Time to reboot and start the new semester from The Educationalist.

Yes, it is still January and there are weeks to go until “normal” semester one starts for many educators, but this list of bite-sized actions that you can fit around research and other responsibilities right now will serve you and your students well. Alexandra Mihai offers tangible steps to reflect and renew your upcoming course in this brief post, as well as links to many other valuable resources.


Discord Educational Toolkit from CUNY

On-line communication between educators and students most commonly occurs via email, Zoom/Teams meetings and discussion forums in the LMS. For the most part, these are perfectly acceptable and get the job done. In the world outside the institution, you may find that your students connecting with their sub-communities in platforms like Discord, which was initial built for on-line gamers. Discord can seem daunting at first, throwing around terms like “set up a server” but it has come into its own as feature rich space for group communications. This in-depth resource from CUNY steps you through setting it up and using it effectively in teaching. Just be mindful that you probably won’t be able to get help from your institutional IT team if you have technical problems and you should probably also be mindful of institutional privacy and security policies.

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

Minister not moving on research vetoes

Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert publicly commented yesterday on his Christmas Eve veto of six HASS projects the Australian Research Council had approved for Discovery Programme funding.

Asked why by Michael Rowland on ABC TV, Mr Robert said he is obliged by legislation to ensure funded research is in the national interest and he decided the six “weren’t value for the Australian people.”

But given the grants were approved according to ARC rules should he have vetoed them, Mr Rowland asked.

“I’m sure all organisations want their voice to be the last voice, but that’s not how our democracy works,” Mr Robert responded.

And there it ended – the minister probably did not convince anybody in the research community – but given the veto is a minor part of a set of major policy changes on research funding (CMM yesterday) it is unlikely Mr Robert much cares.

Monash U’s trainload of problems with rail plan

The environmental effects of building the Melbourne suburban rail loop is up for discussion

Deakin U raises a bunch of issues but overall recognises the project is a good-thing for its largest campus, at Burwood, which gets a station, calling it a “a once in a generation opportunity.”

CSIRO scores for a concern on a different spectrum to the usual development application worries about noisy new residents. It’s anxious about electromagnetic interference impacting electron microscopes.  CSIRO adds it will need more time to analyse data on groundborn vibration “before making a determination on the longer-term impacts to our site and the operation of sensitive equipment.”

And while Monash U is “very pleased” there will be a new station near the Clayton campus, its submission on environmental impacts warns the project “will affect the university’s ability to operate and meet its longer term strategic goals.”

In particular, MU mentions it will lose land bought for future growth and for existing  childcare and international student accommodation “potentially without compensation  and currently without replacement.”

There’s much more on many issues, including electromagnetic interference, and Monash U uses them to make a point; that it wants to work with the government authority in charge of the project rather than contractors and for the state to “provide for the contractor to make good when impacts have not been mitigated to the satisfaction of the stakeholder.”



Paul Brunton is incoming DVC A at Curtin U, moving from PVC Health Sciences at Uni Otago.

Stephen King (now an adjunct professor  at  Monash U) has a new five-year term as commissioner of the Productivity Commission.