Now, you know it’s serious

A permit here, a permit there and pretty soon you are taking about serious money

Monash U announces it is cancelling red ($998 cash pa) and blue ($533) staff parking permits for Caulfield and Clayton campuses. “We acknowledge that many of our staff will no longer require a parking permit at this time,” the university advises.

You know there’s a problem when a university gives up parking revenue.

Uni SA announces $10m fund

The university announces it has set-up a $10m fund, “to assist our students through these difficult times”

Details are to come but the university is already asking for friends and alumni donations to kick-in as well.

The uni’s student association calls the news, “a huge relief for students who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“USASA commends the University of South Australia for this important announcement and further welcomes their decision to ensure student representation in the administration and delivery of this fund.”

There’s more in the Mail

Chie Adachi (Deakin U) on staying connected in on-line learning while social distancing – she has a MOOC on how to do it. It’s a new essay in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series, on what’s needed now in teaching and learning.

Kevin Bell wraps his series on teaching and learning on-line in crisis-time.

Merlin Crossley’s lab is working from home, here’s how it is going.

Chinese students want to go home

Bized faculties in Melbourne are starting to hear from students who have had it here and want to go home to China

Word is some say if they have to study on-line they may as well do it where their families are.  Plus, it’s getting tough here, their jobs are mostly, mainly, gone.

Granted getting into China isn’t easy and there are no hard numbers yet but it does not augur well for international numbers later in the year.

Dawn Gilmore’s on-line learning advice of the day

Your content is online, what’s next? Tip Six: encourage your students to prepare for the first assessment 

Assessment are a high-stakes time for students, triangulate your support to reach as many as possible. You won’t regret taking this approach.

Dr Gilmore is Director, Teaching and Learning at RMIT Online. She has a masters in education design from Uni Pennsylvania and a PhD in on-line learning from Swinburne U. Tip five was in CMM yesterday.


Hard data for all on COVID-19

The Academy of Science thinks the data the government uses for COVID-19 decisions should be public. The feds agree

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says there will be a meeting this week where epidemiology will be “unlocked” and “people will be able to ask questions.”

“I think we have been quite open with components of the modelling but I respect there is a large number of ways that modelling can be done so we need to be more open transparent, and we will be,” Professor Kelly said at a briefing late Monday.

Correct response says the Academy. President John Shine led a push for open access to the data, saying, “Australia must make full use of leading scientists’ expertise to deepen our understanding of COVID-19 and to sharpen our response,” (CMM March 26).

Students stretched as they rack-up study on-line

Universities are acknowledging the strain of switching to all-digital

“Our premise is that no student should be disadvantaged in their studies due to the current global pandemic situation. For example, we will ensure that your grades are not affected by the changed teaching and learning approaches on offer,” Uni Adelaide DVC A Pascale Quester to students.

“This pause will provide our students with time to catch up with assessments as many are struggling to cope with their on-line workloads coupled with the impacts of COVID-19,” Uni Newcastle VC Alex Zelinski on one reason why the Easter break is being extended.

Claire Field on good (and not so much) COVID-19 news


Firstly the good news – since last week’s piece was published, it has been heartening to see:

* a moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants for the next six months, helping domestic and international students, staff who work in the sector and many private and not-for-profit providers.

* ASQA and TEQSA responding flexibly to the crisis

* the Tasmanian government providing significant additional funding to unemployed people needing to upskill or reskill during the crisis

* the significant funding initiatives for businesses and their workers being provided by the Commonwealth (and to a lesser extent state governments).

It has been disappointing though to see international students have not yet been a focus for government support; although my twitter feed has been full of institutions actively helping their students – hat tip in particular to CQU.

It has also been disappointing to see other governments have not yet followed Tasmania’s lead and announced additional funding for unemployed people to upskill/reskill. I note Andrew Norton’s recent blogpost ends with his observation that the university sector may need additional funding as international and, potentially, domestic student numbers drop.

I am unsure that domestic student numbers will drop but to my mind the best way to help educational institutions through this crisis is to support them to enrol more domestic students (in both short courses and full qualifications). In doing so the government would be directly helping people affected by this crisis. As Brian Roberts suggests, to fill the job void “the current crisis should be used to develop e-based knowledge to acquire new skills and expertise”.

If you are interested in how COVID-19 is impacting educational institutions around the world make sure you catch the latest episode of the podcast.

 Claire is the host of the “What now? What next? Insights into Australia’s tertiary education sector’ podcast.”

Dolt of the day

Is CMM, who yesterday left the c out of Schubert, as in Misha Schubert, chief executive of Science and Technology Australia.


Appointments, achievements

Swinburne U confirms Bronwyn Fox as DVC Research and Enterprise. She has acted since February, replacing Aleksandar Subic who left for RMIT.

La Trobe U announces three Tracey Banivanua Mar fellows; Kerry Fanson, (endocrinology), Jillian Garvey (Indigenous Australian archaeology) and Sianan Healy (Indigenous experience of assimilation, education and housing). The fellowships are to, “reduce the impact of career breaks and/or intense care-giving responsibilities on research productivity.”


Virus wrap: what unis are doing

Uni SA census date was yesterday

But the university is gracing people who haven’t made up their minds about off-campus study delaying financial liability day until May 1.

Uni Newcastle creates a breathing space for staff and students

Staff are already getting the Tuesday after Easter off and now Vice Chancellor Alex Zelinsky adds the rest of that week as special paid leave. The university will also be off the following week, which workers will have to use their holidays to cover. Only staff working on course content for on-line delivery and people in critical functions are on-duty for April 20-24. Staff with not enough accrued leave will get the time in advance.

Professor Zelinsky acknowledges not all staff will welcome the delay to the start of next semester but, “I hope most of you will see it as an opportunity to pause, rest and restore.”

Monash U is shutting down more but academics can go in and teach in empty rooms

VC Margaret Gardner has a detailed statement on what is open on campus, (not much) and who can be there (not many).  But academics who are not across teaching technology can still go to work. Essential on-campus services include, “academics to live stream or record lectures, or deliver other teaching activities that they cannot deliver from their home,” and related technical support.

All Uni Adelaide tutes are on-line and on Friday they will be the only option (when face to face classes stop)

However, the university will stay open, for researchers, essential service and students who can’t study remote.

ACU in NSW and Victoria open only for essential staff

Chief Operating Officer Stephen Weller advises portfolios are, DVC Education and International, Corporate Services, Campus Ministry and rostered academic and professional staff in faculties. People are the VC and office director, COO, incident convenors, associate VCs and campus deans.

Campuses are also open for, “students who cannot study at home.”