Enough already

At QUT the National Tertiary Education Union’s enterprise bargaining log of claims includes “no individual be subject to an organisational change process” across the three years of the next agreement. This, the union states, is, “to mitigate against the negative impact of repetitious and disruptive change management.” Gosh, the members must be cross indeed.  Even at Macquarie U, where restructures appear regular, the union says there can be one per agreement (CMM November 10 2021).

PM explains: there are unis and there are unis

“A university sits at the heart of pretty much every successful economic regional plan you care to nominate anywhere in the world, let alone in Australia,” Scott Morrison said at a Uni Newcastle launch yesterday (scroll down)

Which is the sort of university he likes. “It’s a university that’s very practical and understands the opportunities, whether it’s in science or medicine or in any other areas or fields of enquiry and research, and is raising up a workforce and a generation of people that can actually transform the region in which they’re living. Now that’s what the University of Newcastle’s been doing.”

As opposed to another type of university, “that, you know, keeps itself separate from the rest of the community and walks around in gowns and looks down on everybody. And, you know, only looks at things that are remotely interesting to anyone.”


There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) and Basil Tucker (Uni SA) on the “accountingisation” of research assessment. “Calculative practices and numbers become powerful forces determining the reputation of individuals, disciplines and the universities themselves and the progression of academics within them,” they argue.

plus Frank Larkins (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education) looks at COVID-related job losses across the states and reports staff at NSW universities had the worst of it – with managements there appearing to anticipate more declines in student demand.

and Linda Corrin (Swinburne U) on cooking up a learning analytics storm. The ingredients are just the start. Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed know in teaching and learning.

Drivers for diversity in HE

“Institutional diversity could be described as the holy grail of Australian higher education” Kerri-Lee Krause suggests. So how goes the quest?

In a new paper (Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management), Professor Krause  (Avondale U) suggests providers “mimic and imitate the behaviour of others, thus considerably reducing the possibilities of diversity, variety and innovation.”

But, she adds, the pandemic-caused closing of borders and pivot to on-line learning and the new provider category standards may mean the times are ripe for change.

Professor Krause proposes three drivers

student and community needs drive diversity: this will require “values-driven government policy” and HE leaders “equipped to think and operate outside the square,” plus “innovative institutional policies” for teaching excellence, civic leadership and translational research

an “ecosystemic” approach: a “boundary-spanning mind-set” among leaders, policy-makers and the community to “traverse traditional siloes.”

a paradigm shift from aspiration to action: public funding for “a wider variety of institutional types”  and differential funding, “according to mission and mandate.”

“How to achieve parity of esteem within a traditionally binary higher education system, represents a rich vein of further investigation,” she concludes.

Imminent election

Now where would you get that idea?

Well perhaps from the prime minister turning out to open Uni Newcastle’s $72m Central Coast Clinical School and Research Institute. That’s central coast as in Gosford NSW, north of Sydney, where the seat of Robertson is held for the government by Lucy Wicks, with a 4 per cent margin.

The facility is funded by the Commonwealth and NSW governments and the university. In the 2019 campaign Labor promised $29m for Uni Newcastle’s Gosford campus.


Macleay cancels journalism: TEQSA has concerns

The college told students late Friday it is cancelling its bachelor and dip in journalism due to low enrolments and will only teach the present semester (CMM yesterday)

Is this allowed, CMM asked the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency. TEQSA states, “The Higher Education Standards Framework (2021) requires providers that cease offering a course to support students to complete the programme or offer alternative arrangements.”

As to the Macleay specifics, “TEQSA is seeking further information about the provider’s decision and support that is being offered to affected students to complete their studies. The timing and manner of how this was communicated by Macleay College to their students is also of concern to TEQSA. Without prejudicing the outcome of our enquires, should TEQSA identify a breach of the Higher Education Standards Framework, we will take the appropriate enforcement action to ensure student interests and the standards are upheld.”

Which raises two questions, what can TEQSA do to help students and when.

The private provider association also wants to know what is going on

Independent Higher Education Australia (Macleay is a member) told CMM yesterday, that it “works with all members to ensure student protections and standards are upheld, particularly when business models or market conditions change.

“We are currently clarifying the circumstances regarding course discontinuations at Macleay College and will assist the College to ensure TEQSA requirements are met.”

Colin Simpson’s ed tech must reads of the week

List of Centres for Teaching & Learning / Digital Education teams from Alexandra Mihai

Most universities have their own units dedicated to supporting and enhancing learning and teaching. Their Twitter feeds often provide the first glimpse at interesting applications of technologies in teaching in these places. Alexandra Mihai has assembled an ever-growing list of these accounts to help you to connect with the wider Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching world. (Something I learned is that Twitter gets thingy if you follow too many accounts at once so you may need to space it out)

Fundamental Design of Flood Management Educational Games Using Virtual Reality Technology from International Journal of Online and Biomedical Engineering

This seems somewhat pertinent at the moment – perhaps someone might share it with the PM’s empathy coach. Rismayani et al., researchers in Indonesia, developed and tested a mobile VR based flood simulation to help teach the residents of Makassar how to respond better to flooding. They outline the hardware and software design and approaches taken to working with the local community.

Ethics, EdTech, and the Rise of Contract Cheating from Academic Integrity in Canada

The question of how we deal with academic integrity and contract cheating is never far from the minds of institutional leaders. Ed Tech vendors make great promises but Brenna Clarke Grey argues that overreliance of these solutions are not the answer and what is needed are more robust cultural changes and better stewardship of student data.

Professional services staff digital insights survey from JISC

The shift to working from home due to the pandemic has profoundly affected ideas about how we work in tertiary education. The ripples of this will no doubt be felt for years to come. Jisc has recently released a report from a survey of UK professional staff shedding light on their experiences working online and considering options for doing it better. (It follows previous surveys of students and academics)

Aloud – Dubbing video into other languages from Google

Google’s Area 120 is their experimental hub. Their latest offering is Aloud, which offers to transcribe, translate and dub your videos into another language – currently Portuguese and Spanish with Hindi and Bahasa-Indonesian to come soon. The service is free but not yet widely available – you can register for early access. The dub is generated synthetically, there is little information about how the translation is done – if it’s Google Translate it could be interesting.

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