Relax and smell the coffee at Monash U

VC Margaret Gardner came perilously close to joie de vivre in yesterday’s welcome back to campus message

“When you return to campus, reconnect with your colleagues – whether for coffee or a walking-meeting to take in the fresh air, or to simply sit and observe the vibrant sounds of renewed campus life,” she wrote.

Even better – Monash U management will shout the coffee. Vaccinated continuing and fixed term staff are getting their $50 reward vouchers, good at campus retailers (CMM September 24).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) sets out the seven gaps between university managements’ rhetoric on the state of finances and the very different realities

Plus, Robert Vanderburg and Michael Cowling (both CQU) on what to expect if there are no lectures, “apathetic students staring at screens or refusing to attend on-line classes lacking humans, a reduction of the hidden curriculum developed by human interactive learning experiences: respecting authority, respect for other students’ opinions, punctuality, aspiring to achieve, and having a work ethic.” This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

And Merlin Crossley, makes the case for science comms and the good that comes from getting the word out

Uni-industry engagement to build biotech

Industry Group AusBiotech sets out ways to better commercialise publicly-funded research

ABt’s new  decadal strategy, includes new and better uni-industry connections;

* “tailored early research translation, and commercialisation support/advice, for the commercialisation of research from publicly funded institutions”

* a virtual Australian Commercialisation Institute, “that transcends borders, boundaries and agendas”

* incentives for companies to train leaders and for universities to encourage industry fellowships

But ABt adds a culture shift is needed;

“for those intent on a commercialisation path, an enabling culture of rewarding entrepreneurs is largely non-existent. Australia’s higher education system does not incentivise or reward experts and academics who move between academia and industry.”

The low-down on City of Light layouts

CMM missed World Planning Day yesterday, but the calendrists at Uni SA were on to it

“What better place to study urban planning than in one of the best planned cities in the world – Adelaide!” they tweeted. Urban planning course recruiters at Uni Adelaide, which also teaches the discipline, should thank their colleagues along North Terrace for sharing the plug.

DESE does better

The feds have improved oversighting how public money is paid to the private sector

The Australian National Audit Office has audited federal wage subsidies paid in a range of programmes administered by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment to find its administration is “largely effective.”

“System controls support the accurate processing and management of wage subsidies. There is a largely effective compliance programme in place, based on risk, “the ANAO reports.

Makes an excellent change from the VET FEE HELP student loan scheme programme administered by the then Department of Education and Training, which was rorted by some private VET providers, to a cost to the Commonwealth of $2.2bn. The ANAO reported, “as the responsible department, Education did not establish processes to ensure that all objectives, risks and consequences were managed in implementing the expanded scheme. … The department’s focus on increasing participation overrode integrity and accountability considerations that would have been expected given the inherent risks.” (CMM December 21 2016).

What the Medical Research Future Fund will do next

The board that oversights the Medical Research Future Fund announces seven strategic directions

The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board does this every five years. Through to 2026 emphases for the MRFF are.

 *  New or emerging areas of health need

* existing areas of unmet health need, “with a focus on achieving equity in health outcomes, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other priority populations

* promoting adoption of evidence-based practices, enabling equitable health outcomes

* social, environmental, and cultural factors, including strengths-based approaches that leverage patient/consumer and community knowledge and experience

* translation of research outputs … including through commercialisation of research outcomes and implementation of policy changes

*  investments in priority areas, by fostering collaboration between research groups and across disciplines and addressing gender equity

* encouragement of adaptive approaches to emerging challenges

Word on investments in them follows.

Colin Simpson’s Ed Tech must-reads of the week

Examination of the SAMR model for effective technology integration through an adaptive leadership approach from i-Managers Journal of Educational Technology (paywall).

The SAMR (Substitute – Augment – Modify – Redefine) model offers a framework for increasingly sophisticated uses of a given technology in learning and teaching. It is underused in education and particularly in areas responsible for planning educational transformation, but Heatherton and Trespalacios (Boise State University) offer some useful suggestions for its application. While the article does focus on the K-12 sector, their suggestions are easily applicable to tertiary education as well. Their discussion of the need for flexibility in a space where change has become a constant is equally valuable.


About Twitter Spaces from Twitter

Spaces is new, relatively unheralded functionality on Twitter that enables live audio conversations. It seems to be Twitter’s response to the mobile app Clubhouse, extending some functionality natively to desktop and laptop users. (It is possible to listen to Space’s audio there but not speak). I stumbled across a Spaces session hosted by medical researcher @upulie while idly browsing Twitter one evening and was struck by the tool’s potential for innovative use in teaching and educational CoPs.


Using head mounted display virtual reality simulations in large engineering classes: Operating vs observing from Australasian Journal of Educational Technology

The recent palaver about Facebook’s ambitions in the Mixed/Virtual Reality (XR) “Metaverse” prompted some discussion about one of the biggest practical issues faced by institutions –  access to and management of sufficient hardware. In this handy AJET article from earlier this year, seven scholars from Engineering at UWA explore whether everyone actually needs to have a go to benefit.


Microsoft Teams enters the metaverse race with 3D avatars and immersive meetings from The Verge.

While we are talking about XR and the metaverse, it’s worth noting that Microsoft announced last week that they plan to bring their own toys (Mesh and HoloLens) into their communication and collaboration platform Teams next year. The most notable functionality in this would seem to be the ability to be represented by an animated avatar in Teams meetings. Given that one of the struggles of Zoom classrooms in the COVID era has been the cameras-on/cameras-off debate, with students feeling over exposed but teachers wanting connection and non-verbal feedback, avatars may offer a middle ground if they work well enough.


Simulating a university Twitter thread from @BryanAlexander

Bryan Alexander is an “education futurist” and one of the more engaging speakers I have seen in recent years. He recently posted on Twitter that he was planning a seminar for his students which would involve a game simulating a university over the next decade. He called for suggestions of random events for them to grapple with. The responses were wide-ranging and at times hilarious.

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

Appointments, achievements

The Australasian Research Management Society announces office holders, * Tania Bezzobs, president (Swinburne U) * Susan Rose, treasurer (Deakin U) * Lesley Ashton, secretary (QuoVadis Consulting)

Winners of the Australian Business Deans Council awards include, * Kym Davis (James Cook U) professional management * Andrea Haefner (Griffith U) international education * Alexander Newman (Deakin U): research * James Wakefield (UTS): teaching and learning

QR for qualification records

The PDF transcript tied to each VET unique student identifier now has a QR code that links to the on-line record

The transcript is a record of all an individual’s VET outcome since 2015, but people can choose “extracts” of their record to show people. But (there had to be a but), providers update records either quarterly or annually, “so there may be a delay in displaying recently completed training.”  Still, at least everybody has a record – populating a USI scheme for HE  students starts in January (CMM October 15).

The new Social Science Fellows

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia announce its 2021 Fellows

* Frederik Anseel, (UNSW) * Wayan Arka (ANU) * Bernard Balleine (UNSW) *Adrian Barnett (QUT) * Mark Bellgrove (Monash U) * Michael Berk (Deakin University and Barwon Health) * Heather Booth (ANU) * Andrew Burton-Jones (Uni Queensland) * Ray Chambers (Uni Wollongong) * Catharine Coleborne (Uni Newcastle) * Susan Danby (QUT) * Sara Davies FASSA, Griffith U)

* Chris Edmond (Uni Melbourne) Nisvan Erkal (Uni Melbourne) * Robert Faff Uni Queensland)* Michael Farrell (UNSW) * Marilyn Fleer (Monash U) * Clinton Free (Uni Sydney) * Nicole Gillespie (Uni Queensland) *  Boyd Hunter (ANU) * Andrew Jakubowicz (UTS) * David Kalisch (Uni Canberra) * David Kinley (Uni Sydney)

* Paula McDonald (QUT) * Bronwen Morgan (UNSW) * Nathalie Nguyen (Monash University) * Yin Paradies (Deakin University) * Lyn Parker (UWA, ANU) * Martine Powell (Griffith U) * Kalpana Ram (ANU) * Alison Ritter (UNSW) * Sean Scalmer (Uni Melbourne) * Rosemary Sheehan (Monash University) * Tom Smith (Macquarie U)

* Deborah Stevenson (Western Sydney U) * Frans Verstraten (Uni Sydney) * Helen Watt (Uni Sydney)