Plus ça change with Alan Tudge

The Education Minister, AFR conference speech, September 30 2020

“I’m optimistic that Australia will remain a destination of choice for international students, and that the sector will continue to support local jobs and national income. This optimism is backed by reality. Why? We have a plan.”

The Education Minister, AFR conference speech, yesterday

“In the short term, the effort is being undertaken to get international student pilots up and running. … When our borders start to open, I am confident that students will return in significant numbers.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the strong Australian showing in the new Academic Ranking of World Universities. Want to know how it happened? Mr Calderon explains how the rankings work in CMM (August 12) here.

with Margaret Lloyd (QUT) on the sameness of happy on-line classes and the individual misery of those that aren’t. Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

and Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the triumph of open science – humanity will think its way through COVID-19

plus Colin Simpson’s (Monash U) new column on what’s hot in ED TECH (scroll down)

Uni finances: 2020 could have been worse, this year will be

Frank Larkins and Ian Marsbman crunched the numbers on university financials (ex SA) to find 2020 was not as bad as widely expected

In Features this morning they set out the universities which took the hardest income hits (UNSW was down $182m), which cut deepest (UNSW, again at $120m), among a mass of mainly miserable measures (only three universities increased income from fees and charges).

And they conclude worse is underway. “With no prospect in the short or medium term of borders being re-opened to international students, an extended lockdown in NSW and repeated lockdowns in Victoria, the financial challenges occurring in 2021 are likely to be greater than in 2020.”

DECRA: big wins for Group of Eight and tech unis

There are 196 researchers new Discovery Early Career Research Awards, just 20 per cent of applicants

Successful applicants received $83m of the $87m they asked for.

As to where they work, it is the usual outcome, with researchers at the big six accounting for the biggest share of awards, * Uni Melbourne – 25 * Uni Sydney – 22 *Uni Queensland – 21 * UNSW – 17 * Monash U – 15 * ANU – 14. Group of Eight outliers were Uni Adelaide – five and UWA – two.

Australian Technology Network members did well, Deakin U and UTS won nine each, with RMIT picking up six. The ATN’s pal Uni Newcastle won five.

Between them the Eight and ATN account for two thirds of the pool.

The overall success rate for all applicants is 20 per cent.

Mining mentioned

Uni Adelaide announces research to “help find a path to sustainable mining”  

It’s U A researcher-led work on battery supported electric vehicles at the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre. Apparently, diesel-driven vehicles account for 30 per cent-50 per cent of mine energy use.

Jove, a university promoting mining research! It’s not a topic that gets many mentions from universities outside SA and WA.

Campus safety survey set to start

The excellent Social Research Centre will conduct the new National Student Safety Survey next month

The survey will discover students’ perceptions of safety on camps and “experiences relating to sexual harassment and sexual assault.”

It “will build and extend” on that conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2016. SRC will work with Anastasia Powell (RMIT) on a re-design. In May Universities Australia, which is funding the project said “there will be key differences” between this year’s and 2016, “comparability between the prevalence rate … will be limited (CMM May 26).

The SRC (the people who create the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching) will have the survey of all universities in the field September 6 – October 3.

Colin Simpson’s Ed Tech must-read opportunities of the week


Why returning to the lecture only model is a bad idea from The Ed Techie

Martin Weller is one of the more interesting practitioners in the ed tech space and this thoughtful post breaks down recent discussion in the UK (but, arguably everywhere) about where we need to go with technology enhanced learning when we (eventually) emerge from the pandemic.

Education Technology Competency Framework: Defining a Community of Practice across Canada from Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology (Open Access) What is an education technologist? What do they do, what do they know, how do they help educators to navigate the digital age of learning and teaching? This article by Sonnenberg et al. outlines recent work to describe their practices and proposes some useful ways forward for edtech teams in transforming “the academic experience for learners and teaching faculty”. While the focus is on the Canadian experience, the ideas translate very well to Australia.

Kevin Gannon thread about tips for first time lecturers with replies (via Twitter) this is invaluable practical suggestions for new lecturers (faculty). Among them, capture students’ attention early with a wicked problem that the unit will equip them with the skills to solve in time.

The Melbourne EdTech Summit 2021 from EduGrowth. The Melbourne EdTech Summit is a free four-day education technology and innovation showcase beginning on Tuesday August 17. The first two days are K-12 focused and the Thursday/Friday relate more to higher education, VET and industry. It offers an opportunity to explore new technologies from Australian ed tech vendors and engage in broader discussions about the emerging future of learning and teaching. EduGrowth is an umbrella body of education institutions, industry and ed tech entrepreneurs. Speaker highlights include Martin Dougiamas (Moodle) on the Wednesday, Liz Johnston (Deakin U) and Chris Campbell (Griffith/ASCILITE) on Thursday, and Belinda Tynan (ACU) and Claire Field on the Friday.

These Maps Reveal the Hidden Structures of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Books from Atlas Obscura. Branching scenarios and decision-tree type activities are becoming increasingly popular in learning and teaching due to the ease of creation via user-friendly tools such as H5P and Twine. Some of us got our first taste for these through the popular Choose Your Own Adventure book series in the ‘80s and ‘90s. This article from Sarah Laskow describes some of the ways these branching stories are mapped, offering insights for our own work in designing them.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology in the tertiary sector since 2003 and tweets as @gamerlearner. He is employed in the Monash Education Innovation team but his opinions are entirely his own

Appointments, achievements

Jenny Dodd becomes interim CEO of TAFE Directors Australia. Ms Dodd was CEO of TasTAFE 2018-2020. She replaces Craig Robertson who becomes inaugural CEO of the Victorian Skills Authority.

Robyn Gallagher (Uni Sydney), Theresa Green and Claire Rickard (both Uni Queensland) become fellows of the American Academy of Nursing.

Southern Cross U names Peter Harrison a Distinguished Professor for his work on coral reproductive ecology and restoration.

UWA announces three new fellows funded by the Forrest Research Foundation, Jessica Kretzmann (School of Molecular Sciences), Sam Starko (marine biology) and Neil Robinson (Fluid Sciences and Resources). The fellowships are open for researchers at all five WA universities. They are funded by Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation.