The stroke of doom for CRC P bids

Submission for the next round of Cooperative Research Centre Project funding were due yesterday and CRC Association chief Tony Peacock was warning bidders not to leave it late. “The system will shut-down right on 5.00pm and the Department” (of Industry, Innovation and Science) “runs the atomic clock, so you can’t argue.”

Dr Peacock is way too polite to mention the time when a temperamental computer system in the department caused CRC bids to miss a deadline (CMM October 26 2016).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features Melissa Zaccagnini and colleagues warn safeguarding higher education from academic misconduct, “may restrict the very practices that are a cornerstone of 21st century learning.” It’s another essay in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series in what we need now in teaching and learning.

And Susannah Marsden and Paul Abela  offer ideas for next week’s ATEM conference.


Cash for construction at ANU

Last year ANU VC Brian Schmidt announced no more growth in student numbers (CMM July 25 2018). The university annual report, explains why

Total international enrolments grew from 7425 in 2016 to 10 623 at the end of ’18, with revenues up over $100m between 2017 and 2018, to $1.375bn, in total income, driven by a $63m lift in fee paying “and predominantly international student revenues” which were $353m last year.

This is not an especially high proportion of overall income by Sydney-Melbourne standards. But with an underlying surplus of 7.59 per cent ($104m) and a big fund for building ANU is in a happy place and does not need to build international student numbers.

Research also earned for ANU, providing just over half its 2018 revenue, with a $78m year on year rise to $649.5m.

So, what’s it going to do with the dosh? “Invest some $550 million in new or upgraded facilities,” by 2025 is what. “The university is using its current financial strength to deliver a once in a generation renewal of many of its ageing facilities.”

MOOC of the morning

Learned readers recommend a MOOC to advocates of an independent agency to check scientific research

It’s, “Dangerous Questions: why academic freedom matters,” from the University of Oslo (via Future Learn). The course includes include, “threats and their consequences for academic freedom and its importance in democracies.”  The next run starts October 28.

RMIT signs on with Amazon for cloud courses

RMIT will teach Amazon Web Services six-week cloud computing courses

The university is offering Cloud Practitioner which is an entry-level prep course for the AWS certification exam. And Cloud Architect, “will offer a deeper exploration into the tools and services available in the Amazon Web Services ecosystem.” Completers receive an RMIT “credential” and qualify to sit the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – associate exam.

They follow last year’s announcement of short courses in AWS Sumerian, a tool to build virtual and augmented reality applications for mobile devices, head-mounted displays, digital signage and browsers.  These courses “prepare” completers “to gain micro-credentials and AWS certification.”

Students in the (naturally) on-line courses cloud courses, announced yesterday will be “mentored” by “leading industry organisations.  There is no word on course costs, however, RMIT announced Sumerian last year at $1400.

RMIT knows the short-course and corporate specific market. The AWS offerings add to the 175 subjects it teaches, ranging from programming to pattern making (as in clothes).

In 2017, it also signed with Cisco to offer course-eligible students free access to the company’s on-line training programme, which aligns with Cisco certifications in digital security, programming and networking (CMM August 16 2017).

Feds to announce new allocation for sub-degree and PG places  

Back in November a government discussion paper floated “new arrangements” for funding enabling and sub-degree places in 2020.

But as for now publicly funded coursework masters, “it is important any government investment is appropriately targeted to ensure benefits to the broader community are also achieved” (CMM November 14).

Responses to the paper were due in February and the Innovative Research Universities nailed the challenge the feds face in the masters-space, “the growing array of specialisations within broad professional categories along with the trend for professional bodies to raise the requirements for practice means the array of courses leading to professional practice continues to develop,” (CMM February 18).

So, with 2020 imminent what will the government  do? “The government is in the process of finalising the redistribution arrangements for enabling, sub-bachelor and postgraduate Commonwealth supported places. Universities will be notified of the arrangements for reallocation of these CSPs shortly” the Department of Education told CMM yesterday.

“The arrangements will be informed by the submissions to the consultation paper, and take into account which universities are fully using their allocated places and which have demand for places they cannot currently meet.”

More ups than downs in new biz journal ranking

The Australian Business Deans Council pulled their draft new journal ranking last week, now there’s a new draft of the draft

The first list was pulled because not all assessor recommendations were acted on (error not insubordination is said to be the cause.)  But last night a new version was being dissected by bizoids interested in who is up, down and staying the same in the market place of ideas.

Of the 2740 or so journals assessed, 137 were upgraded, 15 were downgraded and 130 were ranked for the first time, appearing since the last ranking, in 2013.

Student loans: one size doesn’t fit VET

I wasn’t the only one pointing out problems (CMM September 18) with VET student loans last week, Claire Field writes

NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, Geoff Lee, expressed concern about the more generous HECS-HELP loans creating a “perverse incentive” and steering students away from VET and into university.

It is not just the more favourable HECS-HELP loans which create problems for VET students and providers. There are other issues.

For example, Sydney-based students unable to access one of the small number of diploma places available at university and backed by a HECS-HELP loan have other options. If they want to do a diploma of business they can borrow:

* $5,171 through the VSL scheme to study at TAFE NSW and pay the remainder of the $6,400 tuition fee upfront (or hope to be eligible for some state government funding to offset the additional cost), or

* $31,000 through the FEE-HELP loan scheme, which is the cost of studying the diploma at UTS Insearch.

These are not anomalies peculiar to these institutions. The same disparities are evident right across the country.

Further issues emerge when you look at the differences in state government funding for VET.

As VET reviewer Steven Joyce found,  the diploma of nursing receives “subsidies of $19,963 in Western Australia, $16,388 in Victoria, $10,250 in New South Wales, $8,990 in the Australian Capital Territory and $8,218 in Queensland – a difference of $11,745 between Western Australia and Queensland.”

Claire Field advises on VET, international education and private higher education.

Royal Institution of Australia honours lead appointments, achievements

After a two-year search, Flinders U has appointed Penny Edmonds dean of research for the arts, humanities and social sciences college. She joins from Uni Tasmania in February.

RMIT On-Line appoints Claire Macken (ex KPMG) as leader of its Future Learning unit and Narelle Stefanac (from LinkedIn) as RMIT Online growth director

Dragan Masevic (Monash U) Abelardo Pardo (Uni SA), Lisa Angelique Lim (Uni SA) and Sheridan Gentili (Uni SA) are among the authors of the best paper award at the European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning for, “Discovering Time Management Strategies in Learning Processes Using Process Mining Techniques,” here.

The Royal Institution of Australian announces four new Bragg members. Named for scientists William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg, membership “recognises excellence in scientific achievement and commitment to science in Australia. The four new members are:

* Nalini Joshi (maths professor, Uni Sydney)

* Helene Marsh (conservation of threatened species, Australian Academy of Science)

* Catriona Wallace (founder and ED of AI fintech company Flamingo Ai)

* Alex Zelinsky (computer scientist and VC, Uni Newcastle)