Get it in typing: Macquarie to trial ending handwritten exams

Plus all the new Academy of Health and Medical Sciences Fellows

So behave the lot of you!

“More vertical blades for UNSW”, the university announces the new science and engineering building, via Facebook yesterday.


Long and getting longer

They like a long protest at the University of Sydney. Yesterday students opposed to moving the Sydney College of the Arts out of its premises in bayside Rozelle dropped a banner of many metres (14×7 no less) off the roof of the main campus Quadrangle. The banner read “U$yd is killing our art school.” Students are also six weeks in to an occupation of the dean’s office – not that the old one minds much, Colin Rhodes resigned last month, ( CMM September 15).

CMM can only wonder how cross SCA students would be if the university had stuck with the original plan to hand the college over to the University of New South Wales, (CMM July 29). Back then management said that while SCA could stay courses would have to go and it would have to move to the less scenic main campus to save money – but students were not having any of it with the protest showing no sign of ending.

Devilry in the data

The learned Deb Verhoeven (Deakin U expert in research crowdfunding) and colleagues from 15 universities have convened the Digital Data and Society Consortium. The group intends to apply social science and humanities perspectives to the way government and industry uses big data sets. “The consortium meets the pressing need for researchers who can identify the potential and risks of big data,” says the bCanberra’s Professor Deborah Lupton.


Get it in typing

Macquarie University will test technology that allows students to use their own technology, instead of pens, to write exams. CMM sympathises – his penpersonship was never great and now resembles Summerian script written with broken fingers. “The reality is that our students have to use ‘pen-and-paper’ in high-stakes final exams, which may disadvantage those students who are not used to typing,” Macquarie’s Alana Mailey writes (well probably types).

Next year the university will trial a bootable USB in exams, which runs off students’ kit and does not need a network connection.

APP of the day

LaTrobe U has adopted smartphone application CellOPark, for parking on its eight campuses. Users install the app on their phone and pay for parking by logging on via a QR code on parking spots. The system replaces the previous manual system. Sadly CellOPark does not create spots when and where parkers need them.


Not them again

Simon Birmingham should be well-pleased with responses to his proposed VET student funding scheme, even the deplore-a-grams are supportive, accepting the scheme but complaining it is billion of dollars late. But Wilhem Harnisch of Master Builders Australia has unintentionally pointed out the scheme’s fatal flaw, the government’s promise that “new funding arrangements will be focused on strong links to employers, improving completion rates and employment outcomes.” And who pray is going to do the focusing? The Department of Education, which designed VET FEE HELP, and the Australian Skills Quality Authority, which has not done an especially good job in over-sighting legislation is who. Confidence this does not inspire.

Hard to sell

Waleed Ally nails why the government’s innovation agenda is such a hard sell, talking to Industry and Innovation Minister Greg Hunt about the end of the car industry, ABC radio, Melbourne yesterday. “How many welders are now going off and designing software for cars?”

Beginning as they mean to go on

In the first industrial action of Enterprise Bargaining Round Seven union members at Murdoch U have begun voting on taking protected industrial action as negotiations stall. This is far more significant than it sounds. Both the federal National Tertiary Education Union and the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association are looking at Murdoch U as a trial run of both style and substance in strategies that they will roll out at universities across the country as bargaining moves on.


Tweets tell all

The Kiwi comrades are appalled (and quite possibly outraged) by New Zealand Education Minister Steven Joyce’s indifference to the humanities. The National Tertiary Education Union  turned to Twitter for evidence, finding Mr Joyce tweeted about science 254 times, IT 90, engineering 45 and the humanities never.

Just keep writing

If you missed out on a Nobel Prize this week, do not despair, keep writing and researching. According to Vincent Lariviere (U Montreal) and Rodrigo Costas (Leiden U) in PLOSOne the more papers published the higher the proportion of them are among the most cited, especially among older authors. The relationship is strongest in the medical and life sciences, followed by natural sciences and then weakening through behavioural and social sciences. For all but humanities, “the longest career length is associated with the highest proportion of top 1% most cited papers,” they conclude.


Heads Up: the week’s winners at work

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences inducted 50 new fellows last night, “through ordinary election.” They are:

Professor Kylie Ball Deakin University, Professor David Bowtell Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Professor Richard Bryant University of New South Wales, Professor Roger Byard University of Adelaide, Professor Allan Cripps Griffith University, Professor Susan Davis Monash University, Professor Basil Donovan, University of New South Wales, Professor Greg Dore, University of New South Wales, Professor Elizabeth Elliott University of Sydney, Professor Geoffrey Farrell ANU Medical School, Professor Stephen Fox Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Professor Simon Gandevia Neuroscience Research Australia, Professor Jürgen Götz, University of Queensland, Professor Jane Gunn University of Melbourne, Professor Jane Hall University of Technology Sydney, Professor Graeme Hankey University Of Western Australia, Professor Ian Harris University of New South Wales, Professor Richard Harvey Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Professor Rob Herbert Neuroscience Research Australia, Professor Ken Ho Metro South Health Service Qld, Professor Maria Kavallaris Children’s Cancer Institute NSW, Professor Tom Kay St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Professor Richard Kefford Macquarie University, Professor Ben Kile Walter & Eliza Hall, Professor Trevor Kilpatrick University of Melbourne, Professor Jayashri Kulkarni Monash University, Professor Fabienne Mackay University of Melbourne, Professor Christine McDonald Austin Health, Vic, Professor Ross McKinnon Flinders University, Professor Catriona McLean Alfred Health Vic, Professor John McNeil Monash University, Professor Jonathan Morris University of Sydney, Professor Robyn Norton George Institute for Global Health, Professor Terry O’Brien University of Melbourne, Professor Ian Olver University of South Australia, Professor Vlado Perkovic George Institute for Global Health, Professor Rodney Phillips University of New South Wales, Professor Miles Prince Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Professor William Rawlinson NSW Health Pathology, Professor Linda Richards University of Queensland, Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher University of Newcastle, Professor Christobel Saunders University of Western Australia, Professor Paul Scuffham Griffith University, Professor Roland Stocker Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Professor Andreas Strasser Walter & Eliza Hall, Professor Jane Visvader Walter and Eliza Hall, Professor Claire Wainwright Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Professor Harvey Whiteford University of Queensland and West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, Professor Ian Wicks Walter & Eliza Hall, Professor Keryn Williams Flinders University.

Geoff Favell is confirmed as the first Queensland Training Ombudsman. He has acted in the post since it’s recent creation. Mr Favell is a veteran Queensland training administrator.


Michelle Simmons is the L’oreal-UNESCO Asia-Pacific woman in science for 2016. The award comes with a 100 000 Euro prize. The UNSW scientist is honoured for her “ pioneering contributions to quantum and atomic electronics, constructing atomic transistors en route to quantum computers.” Professor Simmons leads the 180 researcher, six university ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology.

Michael Kirby-Lewis is the new director of the Council of Australian University Directors of IT’s Leadership Institute. He takes over from Liz GoslingMr Kirby-Lewis was CIO at the University of New South Wales from 2007 until May this year.

University of Waikato VC Neil Quigley is the new chair of the New Zealand Reserve Bank Board, which oversees the RB’s governor.

Peter Heilbuth is leaving TAFE NSW to become PVC VET at CQU.

Professor Paul Grabowsky (Monash Academy of Performing Arts) and Vince Jones (cool cat) have won this year’s ARIA for best jazz album.  In August Grabowsky won the Art Music Awards jazz category for a collaboration with the Young Wagilak Group. CMM remembers when the professor was merely Count Paul Grabowsky.

University of Tasmania fisheries management researcher Keith Sainsbury will serve a further three-year term as acommissioner of the Australian Fisheries Management AuthorityAssistant Agriculture Minister Anne Rushton announced his reappointment yesterday.