By when it’s probably too late

“Ask yourself, what country are you in.” Monash U staff standards manual, on drinking at overseas events while representing the university.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Lynda Shevellar (Uni Queensland) on universities encouraging a sense of belonging among students when campus is not the core of their lives. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

plus As the debate over international comparisons and the merits of metrics over peer review hots up, John Byron (QUT)  asks if the ARC needs to reform Excellence for Research in Australia or just give it a rest, so researchers can “get on with, you know, researching.”

CQU in the right place for Labor

The Opposition promises $9m for an EV training centre in Mackay

The election commitment is for a TAFE training centre at CQU in renewable energy production, including for hybrid diesel-electric marine engines.

It follows Labor’s peomise of $50m towards a new CQU campus in Cairns and $15m for marine ecosystem research at CQU Gladstone (CMM November 11 2021). Warren Entsch holds the Cairns‘ seat of Leichhardt for the coalition with a 4 per cent margin. Gladstone is in the safe conservative seat of Flynn, although the electorate generally goes with the state-wide swing, making it a chance for Labor if Queensland abandons the coalition.

Mackay is in the safe coalition electorate of Dawson but close to Capricornia, where the Labor vote collapsed in 2019 but which is generally marginal. With the party now only holding six seats in Queensland it is the sort of electorate Labor needs to win back if the state is to help deliver it government.

CQU Bundaberg should not get its hopes up, it’s in the seat of Hinkler which the Coalition held with 64 per cent of the two-party preferred vote in 2019.

One big U SAAFU

Learned readers suggest David Lloyd missed the real problem in the Premier Malinauskas proposal for a merger of SA universities (CMM April 15)– what to call it. The two obvious names Uni SA and Uni Adelaide are already taken. SAAFU would be accurate but uninspiring.

Staff at Sydney universities ready to take industrial action

Question is how managements respond

Uni Sydney members of the National Tertiary Education Union will strike May 11-12, “as the opening move of an escalating industrial campaign.” They will go out again if “sufficient progress” in enterprise bargaining with management is not made.

The union nominates issues including jobs security, maintaining the existing 40 per cent of time for research by continuing academics, work from home rights for professional staff and converting casual jobs to continuing ones (CMM April 14).

Management is said to be wedded to more teaching-focused academic positions (CMM October 22 2021, November 15 2021) which will make for interesting bargaining if the union is opposed – when it digs in stays dug, The NTEU bargaining team for the last enterprise agreement drove then vice chancellor Michael Spence to what looked like distraction. At one stage, he tried to go round the comrades by polling staff on what they thought of management’s offer, with a view to putting it to a formal vote without union support (CMM September 5 2017). The answer was not much (61 per cent of people voting did not like the idea of a management only offer) so bargaining with unions continued (CMM September 7 2017).

Even when the union’s national leadership intervened and terms were agreed, activists kicked up and wanted to fight-on (CMM September 22 2017)

What happens next is up to management. Vice Chancellor Mark Scott likes to keep things calm, as ABC MD he managed to make changes without an all-in brawl with the union.

What other universities will watch is what Uni Sydney does about casual conversion and especially moving academic staff to teaching-service only roles. As bargaining at Uni Sydney goes so will negotiations elsewhere.

Western Sydney U staff  prepare to go out

Across town at Uni Western Sydney an equally enormous proportion of NTEU members turning out (96 per cent) have also voted for a range of industrial actions. Issues there are workloads, a pay rise and job security.

The state of casual staff there is an issue that management recognises. “We do need, both at an institutional level and where possible across the sector, to develop new approaches to reduce high levels of casualisation,” Vice Chancellor Barney Glover said last year, (CMM October 1 2021).

ATN election watch

The Australian Technology Network announces its own campaign-watch, with added-analysis

The site will send updates on funding promises, where party leaders are campaigning and commentary from policy experts at ATN members. Smart brand-building move.

Colin Simpson’s ed-tech must reads of the week

Blended vs Hybrid learning – the debate continues from Clare Major

If there is one thing we love in Higher Ed, it is an ongoing debate about what things should be called. The nomenclature of modes of teaching is certainly a key part of this. In this lively Twitter thread discussion, Clare Major (@ClaireHMajor) asks whether the use of “hybrid” to describe synchronous teaching with an in-person and an on-line cohort represents a recent definitional shift. It doesn’t necessarily resolve the question but there is a wide range of perspectives about the language used and why it is.

Do you have the skills to succeed in the online learning industry? From The Tech Edvocate

As the blended/hybrid/virtual/online/flexible learning space continues to expand – not just in universities but also in schools, government and corporates – a growing number of academics are considering career shifts. This brief (American) article outlines some of the key roles that you might find and the key (mostly technical) skills needed to be employable.

Integration of Instructional Design and Technology (Volume 2) from Pressbooks

This rich free resource was created by participants studying the EDUC5103: Integration of Instructional Design and Technology unit at Cape Breton University (Canada). It’s a mixed bag, ranging across project-based e-learning, the pedagogy of AR/VR, accessible student feedback and connectivism for ESL but is handy and also nicely showcases the functionality of the Pressbook authoring platform.

Mobilising screencast technology and ipsative design to transform feedback practices from Academic Voices

Ameena L Payne from Deakin University takes a deep dive into new ways to think about feedback from both technological and pedagogical perspectives in this fascinating chapter of a recent book about COVID led changes to learning and teaching. She offers a vision of feedback that is more dialogic and supportive of student engagement in the process via the use of well-considered questions and comments. It additionally adds richness by including video with audio commentary of work as it is marked up and discussed. Always great to see thinking on feedback moving forward.

Moises – Mastering and audio extraction app powered by AI from

This is an interesting example of AI being applied to playing with music. It is far from the only tool like this but it is simple and fast and allows you to upload or link to music files, which it then splits into component tracks (e.g., vocals, drums, bass and guitar) that you can adjust or mute to create basic remixes or jam along. I was able to add links to YouTube video and songs on Bandcamp that it magically sucked in in a matter of minutes. It also supports basic remastering of poor-quality phone recordings informed by a better reference track. It is a freemium tool for mobile and desktop

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

Dolt of the day


A learned reader takes exception to CMM Thursday describing Figshare owned by Springer-Nature. In fact, the open data repository is jointly owned by founder Mark Hahnel and Springer’s parent company.



Appointments, achievements

Chris Davies will be Interim Dean of Monash engineering, May-June while substantive dean Elizabeth Croft is on leave. There is no word on who will take over from July, when Professor Croft moves to the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

At Uni Adelaide, Michael Goodsite will lead the new Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Resources.

Jane Johnston becomes CEO of destination marketer Study Adelaide. It’s an internal appointment.