A-list Unis Aus

Invitations are out to the Jobs and Skills Summit with Universities Australia getting a guernsey

So did TAFE Directors Australia – word is Independent Tertiary Education Australia might be there.

UA appears to be the only university group invited.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Angel Calderon on the ARWU ranking HERE. (Plus, scroll down).

with David Chinofunga (James Cook U) on creating maths courses: remember to include what students already know. This week’s contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally’s Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

plus Frank Larkins (Uni Melbourne) on Queensland public universities 2021 financials: good  results – for reasons that won’t all happen again.

The m in mRNA stands for Monash

The Moderna mRNA 100m doses a year vaccine plant at Monash U is confirmed

The Victorian Government and the Commonwealth were “finalising all arrangements” with the company yesterday, for a ten-year partnership.

The plant will reduce Australian dependence on imported vaccines against present and future pandemics.

“I can’t think of a better place than Monash University…  to be the centre of mRNA technology, research, product development  and possibility,” Vic premier, Daniel Andrews said.

The agreement finalises a deal dating from December but there was no word yesterday on partner financing.

Dan Andrews on the sort of research that really matters

At the mRNA launch yesterday Mr Andrews spoke on the work of universities, which is, “not just pure knowledge not just about understanding, not just about the accumulation of wisdom as important as that it is but about the translation of that knowledge into products and services, into jobs, into opportunities, into prosperity, from the laboratory to the factory, from the bench to the bedside.”

The discovery research message has a way to go.

Deakin U down a dean: Vanessa Lemm leaves

Late Monday VC Iain Martin told staff she was gone “effective today”

Professor Lemm was Executive Dead of Arts and Education. She joined Deakin U from Flinders U in January last year.

Professor Martin’s brief statement “acknowledges” her contribution and wishes her well, but is otherwise silent on her time at Deakin.

Professor Lemm was in India earlier this month meeting universities. “Looking forward to seeing Deakin in action in India and making new connections for Deakin ArtsEd,” she tweeted August 5.

AsPro Meghan Kelly “will continue” to act as ED, “while we explore a longer-term solution,” Professor Martin stated.

Angel Calderon explains the new ARWU

Uni Melbourne is Australia’s top university on the ARWU ranking for a tenth straight time

The Academic Ranking of World Universities presents another good year for Australian universities, with Uni Melbourne in the world top 50 and Uni Queensland joining it. Five more members of the Group of Eight are in the global top 100.

All up there are 33 Aus universities in the top 500, up from 13 in 2003.

However Angel Calderon (RMIT) warns success is largely based on the output of highly cited researchers, which he warns is “not sustainable.”

“The absurdity of this ranking is that the ups and downs of an institution are largely attributed to the overall count of highly cited researchers,” he writes in Features this morning.

Monash U new student survey timing

Evaluation of teaching and units will now be open until the end of the first week of exams

Now previous practise was “to collect feedback whilst the unit is still running to ensure that the feedback is not related to the marks or experience of the final assessment.”

This matters, observers suggest, because student evals are used in performance assessment of teaching staff, which can include consideration for promotion.

However last night the university stated the change was a response to “concerns raised by students over a number of years” and was trialled with two (unnamed) faculties earlier this year,  “in consultation with faculty education leaders.”

“Student feedback on the trial indicated a strong preference for a later survey period because it allowed them to provide feedback on a fuller experience of learning and teaching in a unit.”

The “conventional SETU survey collection period” was over five weeks, from week nine to week 13 of semester. Under the new approach, the survey will open in week 11 and close in week 14 to allow four weeks of data collection.

“However exam marks will not have been released during the survey period.”

Colin Simpson’s must read, listen and play ed tech picks for the week

“yeet nitro boosted”: A Postdigital Perspective on Young People’s Literacy Engagements With the Discord Platform from Literacy Research: Theory, Method and Practice

To ‘yeet’ is to forcefully throw, with little concern for the consequences. To my knowledge, it hasn’t previously made an appearance CMM and there are probably good reasons for that. Chief among these would be the expected audience and the norms of communication in this community. This article veers slightly away from this idea, exploring the impact of the platform itself on communication and literacy. Discord is essentially an on-line forum, popular particularly with videogamers but used more widely. I am seeing it used increasingly in Higher Ed as a space that students will choose to visit when existing platforms are seen to not meet their needs, so understand its quirks seems like time well spent.


Exploring the specification of educational compatibility of virtual reality within a technology acceptance model from Australasian Journal of Education Technology

The technology acceptance model (TAM) is an interesting beast in the ed tech world, in essence seeking to describe the importance of factors including ease of use and perceived usefulness in relation to intention to use different tools. This study from researchers at Uni Adelaide and QUT looks at adding elements relating to educational compatibility to the usefulness equation, finding that this may indeed be conducive to greater engagement.


The learning styles hypothesis is false, but there are patterns of student characteristics that are useful from Theory into Practice

In my professional circles there are few things more likely to get eyes rolling than discussion of learning styles (visual/auditory/kinaesthetic) by people who should know that these have been debunked. (Other than “digital natives” perhaps). I try to find the positives, feeling that even if the ideas are outdated, at least there is a healthy conversation happening around how information is shared and activities are designed. This helpful article offers some useful suggestions for more evidence-based approaches including drawing on student prior knowledge, learning strategies and motivation.


Two Point Campus game from Sega

At some point I suspect that many people working in Higher Ed have had the thought that they could do a better job running the university than the powers that be. This colourful university management game from Sega now gives you the chance to prove it. Design buildings, approve courses, manage finances, hire and fire staff, run what looks suspiciously like a faculty for wizards – the power is finally in your hands. Available on PC and consoles.

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

At the Australian Law Awards Mitchell Adams (Swinburne U) is named academic of the year. Teela Reid (Uni Sydney) is Indigenous Leader.

Judy Bailie (Uni Sydney) receives the Australia Council Don Banks Music Award. Pianist and composer Dr Bailie is a giant of jazz (CMM is a fan, she once played Bernstein’s “Some other time” when he asked.

Belinda Ferrari is appointed Associate Dean, Research at UNSW Science,