Experiences not reported

Deakin U reminds students that this is the last week of the Student Experience Survey and that, “your answers are used to shape the future of higher education.”

“What?” you ask,” “that SES, the one which is part of the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching, the 2021 all-HE provider results from which have not been released by the government, five months after they are normally made public?”

That’s the one.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

“First in family” university students is a metric that matters – but it covers all sorts of circumstances. The challenge is to celebrate their achievement without assuming they all have the same needs, suggest Sarah O’Shea, (National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education) and Sally Patfield (Uni Newcastle). Theirs is  a new contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series Needed now in learning and teaching.

plus Rhetoric about elite education is obsolete, Conor King (Tertiary Education Analysis) argues. “Education institutions should be expected to cater for all those who needs their services. Exclusivity whose rationale is to create exclusivity should not be part of the system.”

with Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on getting into a socratic style. “I will be accepting invitations and I’ll also be looking to consider whom I might invite to participate in my teaching,” he writes

MOOC of the morning

Matthew Wright (UWA and Fiona Stanley Hospital) teaches a five week OA course on the basics of blood-film analysis, as in haematology, not Tarantino movies

It’s via Coursera and access to a haematology lab “is desirable but not essential.” Coursera sees the market in Indian Ocean rim nations. It’s just started.

Yet another excellent example of the MOOC as community service.



Victoria U smart strategy to supply essential skills

The university has a partnership with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect to its friends)

It is to expand and upskill the workforce, with Victoria U students in relevant disciplines able to take placements and internships with Aspect. Agency staff can access relevant VU courses.  And the partners expect to establish a service hub at VU St Albans.

Victoria U has a similar partnership with mental health service, Orygen.

And in May the university announced it would teach its Bachelor of Early Childhood Teaching in two years, rather than three to people with diplomas in the field, with the Victorian Government providing a $25 000 grant for students (CMM May 18).

The agreement with India that matters most

India’s education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, was in Sydney yesterday, part of a four day Australian visit

Western Sydney U was quick to announce that Minister Pradhan and his Australian equivalent Jason Clare met at the university’s Parramatta campus. And Unis Australia wanted it known that it, and UNSW, co-hosted a dinner last night for the two ministers.

UA added that there are 452 formal partnerships between Aus and Indian universities a four-fold increase on 2007.

But, as UA alludes to, there is one that really matters now, the trade agreement that may allow Australian access to the education market in India

TAFE lobby calls for one post-school system

TAFE Directors Australia backs the proposed new Jobs and Skills Australia agency and suggests a bunch of issues it should address, including one to transform education and training

TDA makes its case in a submission to the Senate committee considering the two bills to create JSA.

Overall TDA says the proposed statutory body will provide long-lacking advice on skills and training.  And it has some advice on what it should consider, including;

* pricing : standardising prices for courses (the previous government was keen) “inadequately considers the needs of thin markets, disadvantaged students and regional communities”

* continue to prioritise funding for full-qualifications, “this focus cannot be diluted by the calls for industry for more short course funding”

* funding life-long learning, including micro-credentials

And then there is an innocuously expressed suggestion that looks to end generations of university dominance in post school policy.

“To compete in a global market, and in a market where access to a skilled workforce is in short supply, enterprises require a changed approach. TDA promotes that the regulatory, policy and funding environment must be altered to create one tertiary education system. As more jobs require higher level knowledge and skills then it must be possible to combine higher education and vocational education more easily. JSA therefore should be responsible to help to create the conditions through which this might occur. This will require funding, policy and regulatory change. Currently the disconnect between VET and higher education is not helpful for employers.”

With TDA attending the Jobs and Skill summit this is an idea set for a big run.

Colin Simpson’s ed tech must-reads (and listens) of the week


Online learning is still challenging for students – they need our support from Times Higher Education

One thing I’ve always found strange in discussions of on-line learning is the hard line that seems to be drawn between the in-person guided experience and everything else that students do in their learning. Arguably, there has always been an expectation that students will do the bulk of their work in their own time and space. This piece by Lodge, de Barba and Broadbent, academics at Uni Queensland, Uni Melbourne and Deakin U respectively, explores some of the challenges that learners face in self-regulated online learning, offering some broad suggestions on what educators might consider to better design and facilitate learning that is done outside the classroom.


Teaching Enhancement Resource Curation from Danielle Hinton

This padlet assembles more than 50 different resources (mostly crowdsourced Twitter discussions) covering the gamut of tips for improving learning and teaching practices in Higher Education. It includes everything from teaching while masked to learning spaces, teaching with technology to assessment and feedback researchers, and small group teaching and the importance of data. It’s absolutely a rabbit hole but definitely one to bookmark at the very least.


Demystifying Instructional Design Podcast from Rebecca Hogue

Instructional design is more commonly referred to as learning or education design in Australia but the underpinning principles are the same. Working with education/learning designers can be another very effective way for time poor educators to find new ways to support learners in the brave new on-line world. The interviews cover many facets of instructional design including behaviour change, asynchronous activities and creating social presence.


Amazon launches Udemy Competitor from ClassCentral

Education technology and on-line learning is a multi-billion dollar business, so it’s unsurprising that Big Tech has been edging into the space for some time. Microsoft Teams gets more like an LMS by the day, Google has its Classroom platform and now Amazon has pitched its stake in the micro-credential short course space. This post provides a brief overview of their tech focused offerings, which on first glance seem to fall into the common trap for these platforms of treating learning as content rather than experience.


Digital Ethics: Sustainable ePortfolio Practice – Blended workshop Thursday 25/8 9.30 – 11.30am from AAEEBL

ePortfolios can be an incredibly rich tool for learning and assessment but it is important to be mindful of the workload involved in using them well. This joint workshop from ePortfolios Australia and the Association for Authentic, Experiential & Evidence-based learning can be attended on-line or in person at hubs in Melbourne, Brisbane and Townsville.

 Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 at CIT, ANU, Swinburne and Monash University. He is also one of the leaders of the ASCILITE TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner

Appointments, achievements

Exercise and Sports Science Australia announces two new fellows, Amanda Benson (Swinburne U), and Niamh Mundell (Deakin U).

Iain Hay (emeritus professor Flinders U) is foundation director of the Royal Geographic Society of South Australia.

Mary Ryan (Australian Catholic U) is re-elected president of NSW Deans of Education. She is joined by Michelle Simons (Western Sydney U) as deputy-president, Sue Gregory (Uni New England) is secretary and Will Letts (Charles Sturt U) treasurer.