Let joy be unconfined

We have restored access to more forms as we continue work to implement essential upgrades in the TEQSA provider portal.” The regulator makes everybody’s Monday, via Twitter, yesterday.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Stephen Colbran, Colin Beer and Michael Cowling (all CQU) set out the ChatGPT challenge – regulate or liberate.

plus Anthony Weber, Robert Vanderburg, and Amy McIlwraith on how CQU empowers students to reduce academic misconduct, with Angela Brew’s preview of this week’s Australasian Council for Undergraduate Research conference. Both are selections by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series Needed now in learning and teaching.

and Merlin Crossley asked ChatGPT for a blog on issues facing Australian universities (don’t use it for an O’Kane Review submission)

Big call for UNE chancellor to go

In December staff and graduates of the University of England voted for Chancellor James Harris to resign – the margin was decisive

The vote occurred at an unprecedented meeting of the university’s convocation – called following extended campus disquiet over the implementation of former VC Bridget Heywood’s restructure plan and the university council’s support for her in the weeks leading up to her resignation last year, following assault charges, (CMM December 5 and 14). Professor Heywood denies the charges and the case is listed for mention in court today. The 410 to 46 vote for Mr Harris to go is reported in the draft minutes of the meeting, circulated to convocation members yesterday.

The meeting also carried two other votes, for a standing elected committee of convocation, “with strong staff representation” to meet at least biannually and for the university council and senior management to “strengthen accountability to the university community and ensure transparent and collaborative decision-making.”

All three proposals will go the university’s council, however two meetings of convocation, which includes students, graduates and eligible staff under the University’s act of parliament, are already proposed for this year.

Union books look good

The National Tertiary Education Union made an inconsequential loss last financial year, $34 000 on $25.34m revenue, almost all of which, $22.5m, came from member subscriptions

The union leadership released its annual report just before Christmas.

Income from members was up marginally, to $22.5m with membership dropping 800, to 26 100. While the union is silent on the cause, it may be the result of university job cuts in  the first pandemic year.

Employee benefits fell $460 000, but officeholders received a combined increase of $340 000.

The union had $32.9m in reserves

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

The AI (ChatGPT) future: what do we do now? Webinar Thursday 2/2 12 noon AEDT – Update

Due to higher than expected interest, we have moved it to a Zoom webinar platform kindly provided by Monash. If you previously registered, you should have received a new invitation with the updated details. The session will be recorded and a link to the recording provided here in the near future.

Microsoft announces new multibillion-dollar investment in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI from CNBC

In news that should surprise nobody, Microsoft last week significantly lifted investment in the OpenAI organisation. Why does this matter? There is reasonable speculation that they plan to integrate generative AI functionality into the Office suite of software by the end of the year. For those institutions still straddling the fence between block and control in terms of these tools, that would make it virtually inescapable. Are we ready for SuperClippy?

Are A.I. Image Generators Violating Copyright Laws? From Smithsonian Magazine

Some of the most passionate arguments you will hear against these technologies come from creatives, particularly visual artists who raise valid questions about the extent to which AI generated works informed by libraries of billions of images may infringe copyright or at least moral rights. Some have been able to point to elements of images that directly match their own – and sometimes even find their signatures. The rise of these tools has already had a chilling effect on work for copywriters and artists. I sympathise greatly but suspect that the genie is truly out of the bottle. This piece explores the current legal landscape in the US.

Can AI detectors save us from ChatGPT? I tried 3 online tools to find out from ZDNET

As the potential impact of generative AI tools like ChatGPT has become clearer, some people’s hopes have turned to detection tools. This space seems to be the second new goldrush in education, as I see wild claims and huge promises by the day. This piece from David Gerwitz tests three leading detection tools, with fairly unconvincing results.

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

The Chinese student arrival challenge: it’s looking do-able


There is emerging confidence that those who want to be here for first semester can be

On the weekend China announced nationals enrolled with overseas universities must be on campus for the start of the imminent semester (CMM yesterday).

With a bare month to go this looked like an impossible ask for Chinese students enrolled, but not yet in, Australia.

However an industry meeting yesterday  hosted by officials from agencies including Home Affairs and Education, heard China’s government is signalling flexibility. Phil Honeywood, CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, says, “ it is a good indication that a transition period may be on the horizon. While certainty is not guaranteed, it is hoped students will be able to commence first semester on-line and potentially complete the semester in face-to-face mode, on-campus in Australia.”

A second statement from China’s  Overseas Study Service Centre also advises students who cannot get to their overseas universities for the start of semester that they should submit their academic records on course completion for consideration.

There is also good news on arrivals. Mr Honeywood says there are 42 000 Chinese students out of Australia who have valid visas,  and while there are 5500 new student visa applications in the system average processing time is 14 days. “These new applicants should be processed in time for the start of first semester, Mr Honeywood says.

And getting here is now much easier – CMM understands direct flights from China have increased from nine per week late last year to 45 now.

Dirk Mulder advises education and business clients on trends in international education. He writes regularly for CMM

Appointments, achievements

New Australian Institute of Criminology research grants go to, * Rebecca Scott Bray
and Greg Martin (Uni Sydney): impact on criminal justice of coronial inquiries/recommendations on deaths in custody * Hilde Tubex, Victoria Hovane, Stella Tarrant (UWA): “use of force by Indigenous women” * Meredith Rossner, Miranda Forsyth, Janet Hope, Lorana Bartels (ANU): survivor-centred restorative justice in response to sexual violence * Mary Iliadis, Delanie Woodlock, Michael Slater, Zarina Vakhitova (Deakin U): trauma informed responses for sexual assault victims * Sarah Bennett, John Gilmour, Kristi Anderson (Uni Queensland): reducing case attrition in sexual offence investigation

Adeeba Kamarulzaman will become CEO of Monash U Malaysia in May. Professor Kamarulzaman moves from Universiti Malaya. She is a medicine graduate from Monash U.

Ms Australia (as in multiple sclerosis) marks its 50 anniversary with 50 awards to individuals and organisations, “recognising the outstanding, consistent and selfless service and many contributions towards the MS movement.” Institutions awarded include, ANU, Menzies IMR, Monash U, Uni Adelaide, Uni Melbourne, Uni Sydney, UWA.

 At Griffith U Cindy Shannon becomes DVC (Indigenous, Diversity and Inclusion). She moves up from Griffith’s PVC Indigenous.