Freshly hidden

‘Defence is proud to sponsor Fresh Science 2021 to help empower young researchers and bring Fresh Science to the attention of the media,” Defence, Science and Technology, via Twitter, yesterday. Just not all the media – the link was broken.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Lisa Andrewartha (La Trobe U) on the challenges study involves for people with caring responsibilities and how to help them. This week’s piece in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed Now in Teaching and Learning.

plus, Angel Calderon’s (RMIT) analysis of THE rankings (look outside the top 100 for the big Australian achievers)

and Tony Peacock on the new Cooperative Research Centre P announcement – late but great (scroll down).


Jobs unis have to offer

The Fair Work Act now requires employers to give casuals a pathway to permanent employment. Unis are getting onto it

Letters are being sent to  staff setting out what the Act now requires managements to do and who qualifies (CMM April 21).

The key ones are having worked in a position for over 12 months and in a consistent pattern over the previous six.

Universities are obliged to offer casual staff  who meet the tests permanent FT or PT employment.

Peak bodies warn education visas being gamed

Providers (are) offering courses with excessively low fees and low study expectations, often designed to enable students to maximise working hours beyond what might be facilitated under their student visa”

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia and TAFE Directors Australia jointly warn such “non-genuine onshore transfers” put institutions, who brought students involved to Australia, at risk of breaching their obligation to maintain visa standards, even after individuals had transferred to other providers.

Such low-cost and low-hours colleges also force quality providers to reduce fees, “leading to viability challenges and the potential of provider closure, potentially harming students and tarnishing the reputation of Australian international education at a time when the sector is trying to rebuild through and out of the pandemic”.

ITECA and TDA call on the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment and HE and VET regulators TEQSA and ASQA to engage, “in upholding conditions for fair competition, in a market that government has created and also regulates, as well as ensuring participants in that market fulfil their designated legislated entry obligations.”

ITECA and TDA also urge the Commonwealth to engage with peak bodies and propose “policy responses” to the apparent problem.

ITECA and TDA do not refer to students by nationality however Dirk Mulder has reported an apparent trend in international enrolments of Indian students already in Australia moving to low cost courses (CMM May 21).

On your marks

And get set for the Regional Universities Network conference

RUN unis are the heart of their communities, pumping job-generating money into cities, circulating ideas that improve lives and industry and energising the next generation of leaders they educate. How they do it and what they need to do more of it is on their conference agenda.

New Super man

UniSuper announces Peter Chun starts work as CEO (via LinkedIn). There’s the usual blather about what a splendid job UniSuper does, with the required, “past performance is not an indicator of future performance” disclaimer. CMM is sure this means the fund.


Colin Simpson’s ed-tech picks

This week’s must reads and watches in education technology

Facilitating online breakout groups from Dave Cormier

Good breakout group activities online are far less common that we might hope. Often students find themselves sitting quietly in a small Zoom room, unsure what to do, until one brave soul hazards a guess and starts the conversation. This seven minute YouTube video from the Office of Open Learning at the University of Windsor (Canada) offers some valuable ideas to ensure that the time spent in these sessions is productive and that help teachers track activity across all rooms at once. It is demonstrated in Blackboard Collaborate but the principles are universal.


The Australian Ed Tech directory from EduGrowth

This site provides links to more than a hundred Australian businesses working in education technology and adjacent spaces. It appears to be focused more on the business and investment side of things as there is an option to filter by sector and export market but not by the kinds of tools or services they provide. All the same, it is an interesting way to get an overview of how the market perceives the needs and priorities of the education sector.


Forget lone lecturers – pandemic shows teaching must be a team sport from Times Higher Education

Neil Mosley succinctly outlines the complexities of modern tertiary teaching practice, with “the new normal”, ever increasing accountability requirements, and a constantly evolving technology landscape making it hard for time-poor educators to keep up. Institutions have skilled and experienced teaching and learning support teams ready to assist, yet many lecturers still choose to go it alone. Mosley explores why this might be and shares some new ways to resolve this. The article offers an informed, practical counter to some of the sadly ignorant takes on these support systems and professionals that we still see in the discourse far too often.


Manifesto for teaching online webinar today from CRADLE

CRADLE at Deakin is one of the foremost research centres in Australia in the digital learning space, and the University of Edinburgh is also a heavy hitter. This webinar today brings them together, with Professor Sian Bayne discussing Edinburgh’s updated Manifesto for teaching online, which advocates for “strongly research-based, critical and creative practice” in modern teaching.


Tortured phrases in published research from @big science energy on TikTok

Plagiarism is as much a known problem in research as it is in learning and teaching, but the use of AI as a writing tool to bypass “traditional” similarity matching systems is starting to result in some bizarrely humorous language in published papers. This quick TikTok video discusses a recent research paper about this phenomenon, which sees established terms like Artificial Intelligence morphing into “counterfeit consciousness” instead.

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

Pandemic leave at Charles Sturt U

Charles Sturt U has established five days “Stay at Home Order” additional leave for staff, pro-rata for part-timers. It’s so staff “feel able to prioritise their families, personal lives and mental health as needed.” Availability will be reviewed fortnightly.

Appointments, achievements

Johan Arberg becomes director of Study Canberra. He moves from ANU.  

At Uni Melbourne Damian Glass steps up to A/D Strategic Communications.

 Uni Southern Queensland announces Tony Dreise will be inaugural PVC, First Nations Education and Research, starting month end. He will join from ANU. As of October 4, Shawn Walker (now Charles Sturt U) will become PVC Engagement 

 2021 Young Tall Poppies of science are announced

for South Australia

Linda Armbrecht (Uni Adelaide). Eddie Banks (Flinders U). Yee Lian Chew (Flinders U). Ashley Hopkins (Flinders U). Brenton Hordacre (Uni SA). Alice Jones (Uni Adelaide). Vitomir Kovanovic (Uni SA). Dominic McAfee (Uni Adelaide). Catia Malvaso (Uni Adelaide). Hannah Wardill (Uni Adelaide).

for Tasmania

Vanessa Adams (U Tas). Carlie Cullen (U Tas).