A major survey identifies the size of the problem and what universities can do about it


Flinders U finds a new market for the MOOC in aged care

QUT gifts Caboolture campus to U Sunshine Coast

Innovators with impact: Clunies Ross award winners


Melbourne on the CASE

The University of Melbourne has won a university marketing insiders-award for its Made Possible by Melbourne campaign.

The campaign used 14 adshells around the Melbourne CBD featuring university research and explaining its benefits. When launched, CMM  described it (November 2 2016) as “a brilliant way of presenting the university as not just the acme of research but a community  service provider as fundamental to community need  as health services.”

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education agrees its pretty good, presenting UniMelbourne with its 2017 platinum award for best practise in communications and marketing with the judges saying it is, “one of the most integrated (geographically and with messages) marketing campaigns they had ever seen … very innovative and highly creative.”

Cheats and what to do about them

Some 6 per cent of higher education students in a nation-wide survey admitted to cheating on exams and/or assignments. However penalties are “more lenient” than experts advise.

The findings appear in a major survey of contract cheating by students in Australia led by Tracey Bretag and Rowena Harper from the University of South Australia and involving academics from UNSW, Sydney and Griffith universities and Swansea U in the UK.

The survey of a cross-section of Aus universities found students committing a range of “outsourcing behaviours” ranging from 27 per cent who had provided another with a completed assignment to 0.2 per cent who had somebody else take an exam for them. In 18 per cent of these cases students used a commercial service.

The survey revealed males account for 54 per cent of cheaters, with 40 per cent of the entire sample speaking a language other than English at home. Two thirds of cheaters were domestic students and 55 per cent of them were at Group of Eight institutions.

The survey also found that while well over 90 per cent of honest students thought all cheating behaviour is wrong some 46 per cent did not object to buying/selling/trading notes.

Associate Professor Bretag and her colleagues found 68 per cent of surveyed staff suspected some of their students had outsourced assignments but only 56 per cent of those that did handed the matter to Academic Integrity staff. An alarming 8 per cent ignored the issue, with the remainder acting themselves.

Staff reported that penalties in proved cases of outsourced assignments range from warnings (37 per cent), through zero marks (27 per cent) to exclusion (2 per cent).  “Penalties seem far more lenient than those recommended in the literature,” the survey report states.

In cases of exam “assistance” 46 per cent of students were warned or counselled, 11 per cent allowed to re-sit, with 36 per cent marked zero and 12 per cent excluded.

The research team concludes universities should:

support the development of ‘personalised teaching and learning relationships’ with students

recognise the particular needs of international and LOTE students

use assessments that are less likely to prompt outsourcing

ensure processes of breach detection, reporting, substantiation, penalisation and  communication

support campaigns to get students more concerned about this problem

What’s in a name

The excellent ORCID explains why Korean scientists need to sign up for its open researcher and contributor ID scheme.

ORCID points to the way Kim, Young Soo appears no less than 665 times in the KoreaMed articles database. Koreans are not on their own in having common names. Metrics maven Anne Wil-Harzing points out that a certain Y Wang has published 100 papers in 73 disciplines. “Academics with unique names, cannot ‘compete’ with the super-authors created by the amalgamation of many namesakes, and are thus ranked much lower in the list of highly cited authors than they should have been,” she said last year (CMM May 30 2016)

MOOC of the morning

Flinders U has a MOCC ready to go on working with clients across cultures in the aged care industry.

The new course is taught by dementia researcher Lily Xiao and colleagues Michael Cox and Sue Stoecker.  It is set to launch at a Flinders conference next week. The product is designed to help both aged care consumers and the 32 per cent of industry staff from non-English speaking backgrounds.

The MOOC comes from Australian provider openlearning and Flinders has partnered with providers Resthaven and Anglicare SA. The federal government is also funding the project, which is excellent news – MOOCs can reach immense audiences for health issues and community needs for far, far less than the advertising and social media campaigns governments run. That the MOOC as community service can also generate income for universities is entirely incidental, but surely should be included in the coming Australian Research Council impact and engagement measures.

Sunshines on Caboolture

Greg Hill continues his plan for world domination, one Queensland campus at a time.

 QUT’s Caboolture campus will pass to the University of the Sunshine Coast in January. QUT now teaches business, education and nursing there and USC VC Greg Hill says his university will “replicateprogrammes currently offered, “tweaking” them over time, “in line with local demand”.

The move is part of an expansion plan which started in 2013 when USC opened in Gympie (inland from Noosa) followed in 2014 when it picked up the University of Southern Queensland’s Hervey Bay centre. In 2015 USC started work on a campus at Petrie in Brisbane’s far north, which is scheduled to open in 2020. (CMM November 19 2015). However Caboolture will continue post Petrie; “as a regional university that lives or dies based on its relationship with the local communities, there is no thought of reducing provision/access to this community post 2020,” Professor Hill says. QUT has not sought compensation for infrastructure investments at Caboolture.

Industrial kabuki at WSU

There’s good news for fans of the Kabuki-complexity that occurs in the Fair Work Commission – a new saga is starting at Western Sydney University.

The drama started this week with the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union announcing it would ask the Fair Work Commission for a protected action ballot order. This is necessary for members to vote on taking industrial action against management  over a claimed lack of progress on enterprise bargaining.

Management replied that this should not be on, because the union is not seriously negotiating. To which the FWC commission replied that it, “does wonder whether the university maintains that the NTEU is not ‘genuinely trying to reach agreement’,” which observers suggests is FWC-speak for “oh pleeeze!”.

WSU management took the hint and withdrew its objection to the union applying for a vote on workplace action. And we are only at the start of act one.

Innovators honoured

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering has announced the 2017 Clunies Ross Awards, which “recognise contributions by dedicated individuals to the application of technology for the benefit of Australia.”

Scientist and entrepreneur Andrew Wilks is the Entrepreneur of the Year for his 25 years of work in creating blood cancer drugs.

Darryn Smart from the federal government’s Defence Science and Technology Group wins the knowledge commercialisation award for technology to counter radio activated explosive devices, used against Coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Mike Xie from RMIT receives the innovation award for a construction design technology.

Ok at Innovation, science and engineering not so much

Australia slides, but not by much, on the new Global Innovation Index.

Australia is 23rd of 127 countries on the new edition GII, announced last night, down four places on last year. The country rates 13th overall for R&D but 32nd for industry-university research collaboration. And the message about the importance of educating more scientists and engineers is yet to have much effect – Australia is 79th in the world for graduation rates.

Dolt of the day

Is CMM who referred to the $413 000 lifetime total cost to the state of people who never complete year 12 as the annual cost in a report on new Mitchell Institute research. How did that happen?, you ask, stupidity CMM replies.


Big wins at work this week



Ian O’Connor, the long serving VC of Griffith University, became an AC in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. Other ACs include Ross Gaurnaut and ANU and Princeton moral philosopher Philip Pettit.


 Linda Kristjanson (VC, Swinburne U), Peter Dawkins (VC, Victoria U) and University of Melbourne provost, Margaret Sheil  joined the Order or Australia as AOs. For a full list of academics and researchers honoured, see Tuesday’s issue.


Julian Elliott has won the Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research. Associate Professor Elliott is based at Monash U and Cochrane Australia, which produces “systematic reviews that are free from commercial sponsorship.”


Chris Earley is leaving the University of Tasmania to become dean of business at UTS.


Edith Cowan chief information officer Elizabeth Wilson is leaving the university after five years. She is returning to her native Victoria to become CIO of the state’s department of education and training.


Swinburne University’s Grainne Oats and Dan Hunter have won the American Accounting Association’s 2017 award for Innovation in Accounting Education for their “content-neutral gamified mobile learning platform,” Quitch.


Valerie Linton is the new dean of engineering at the University of Wollongong, where she is now a professor.


Griffith University’s research award winners, announced this week are:  research leadershipPaul Tacon (rock art sites), early career researchLyndal Bates (road policing), mid-career/senior researcherVicky Avery (drug discovery), research supervisionCordia Chu (from the Centre for Environment and Population Health), research group/teamMichael Good and the Laboratory for Vaccines for the Developing World.