Aid for Indonesia

La Trobe U has $200 000 via DFAT “to assess” nursing standards in Australia and Indonesia “with a view to informing improvements” in the latter

“What, the La Trobe U which ceased enrolling new students in its Indonesian language course last year?” you ask. That’s the one (CMM April 13 2021).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Flinders U introduced an on-line enabling programme last year – which worked!  Jane Habner and Pablo Munguia explain why pass rates were way up on national averages. It is this week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

with James Guthrie (Macquarie U) who has a detailed look at the University of Sydney’s annual report and what management wants to do with the bucket of money it reveals

and Conor King (Tertiary Education Analysis) on why changing HECs for some students isn’t easy (scroll down).

Union election for top job set to start

Nominations open Monday for National Tertiary Education Union elections

The big choice for members is expected to be for national secretary. Incumbent Matthew McGowan is not standing, making it a choice, at this stage between La Trobe U  activist Anastasia Kanjere and NSW state secretary Damien Cahill.

Dr Kanjere has a support base among casual academics, the group where job losses really hurt as university managements responded to COVID 19 by cutting staff  and who opposed the union’s national leadership attempt to secure a system-wide agreement with managements on temporary trade-offs on pay and conditions in return for job protections.

Dr Cahill is standing on a ticket with national president Alison Barnes and national assistant secretary Gabe Gooding, both running for second terms.

The polls will be open throughout August.

Uni Sydney shares some of the wealth

VC Mark Scott announces a 2.1 per cent pay rise in July and a one-off $1000 payment

Professor Scott tells staff they are “in the context of increases to the cost of living,” and with enterprise agreement negotiations extending into the second half of the year, (the existing agreement expires June 30, but stays in force until there is a new one).

Smart move on two counts.

Count one is that Uni Sydney’s 2021 annual report reveals an operating surplus of $1.04bn last year – which management was quick to point out was more apparent than actual, what with it including non-discretionary income. The number management preferred was a surplus of $453m (CMM May 24).

But a $1bn profit is an easy number to remember and anything that demonstrates staff are being rewarded for creating it can’t hurt.

Count two is that the last pay rise under the expiring agreement was in July last year and this one is probably intended to be the first, pre-dated,  of the new one, which may not be agreed for a while. Bargaining with the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union is not zipping along – the comrades have gone out twice already, without payrises being a big issue.

But sooner or later it will be. The union’s national leadership have upped its all-uni pay demand from 4 per cent per annum for three years to five per cent by three, citing inflation (CMM April 21). By getting in first management at least sets a base for negotiations.

Up to a point.

Last night NTEU state secretary for NSW, Damien Cahill responded that “‘while the pay rise of 2.1 per cent is welcome, it is well below what the university can afford, well below what staff need to keep pace with rising living costs, and well below what staff deserve given it was their sacrifices and dedication that allowed the university to get through the last two difficult years.”

New head for VCs’ IR advisers

In July Craig Laughton will become ED of the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, which includes most public universities

Mr Laughton is a lawyer, presently director of Uni Melbourne’s New Ventures.  He is a previous policy, advocacy and public practice manager at accounting member organisation CPA Australia where his portfolio included the Fair Work Commission.

AHEIA president Carolyn Evans (VC Griffith U) tells members, “Craig has told me how much he is looking forward to joining … at what is a transformative moment in higher education.”

Mr Laughton replaces Stuart Andrews, retiring after eleven years in the role.

Locals wants more med students at James Cook U

North Queensland LGAs call for places in Mackay and Cairns

JCU has long wanted the additional 80 (CMM November 15 2021) which were promised in the budget brought down by the previous government (CMM May 16).  And now councils in the region have backed the places.

To the south CQU has a new 40-place pre-med degree at Rockhampton, feeding into Uni Queensland’s medical programme.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that many VCs of regional unis without a medical school would love one – and those that have them want to keep student places to themselves.


Colin Simpson’s ed tech must reads of the week

2021 to 2022: The Decade of the MOOC from Journal of Interactive Media in Education

Remember when MOOCs were going to be the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs of Higher Education? As with most predictions about the future of learning and teaching, that wasn’t the case but MOOCs have found an important niche in the ecosystem nonetheless. This review article from JIME looks over 25 MOOC related articles published in the journal, finding four key themes: situating MOOCs; learning design and roles; MOOCs and languages; and accessibility and inclusion. It’s an enlightening read.


What role will MOOC platforms play in UK universities online futures? From Neil Mosley

Having looked backwards, this post from Neil Mosley offers some valuable insights into the plausible future of the use of MOOCs in British Higher Ed in terms of university partnerships with key external providers as they gradually reposition their commercial purpose. Some of the big picture ideas that Mosley addresses include how the use of MOOCs might be used to further teaching and research agendas and how universities might expand access to lifelong learning.


The fine art of teaching with a ‘Light Board’ from Video Teaching

A major challenge in filming teachers teaching has long been the question of how to capture them writing on the board as they explain and work through concepts. Clearly, a recording in which someone has their back to the camera half the time is far from ideal and options like writing on a tablet can require messing around with multiple inputs that take the educator out of the moment. Lightboards put the lecturer on the other side of a “glass” whiteboard, letting them write normally (the video is reversed) as they speak directly to the camera. This post offers some handy tips.


Combining Augmented Reality with Peer Learning Pedagogy: iPEAR Theoretical Framework from AACE Review

Much has been made of the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) in Higher Education, the use of mobile devices to add graphical overlays on reality to add meaning and context. There has been far less discussion of the pedagogical approaches needed to support it. This ambitious post in the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education explores some possible options for integrating AR technologies with peer learning


Webinar – Wednesday 1st June, 5pm (AEST) – Student perspectives on Audio Feedback from the ASCILITE Transforming Assessment SIG

Feedback is widely recognised as one of the most important parts of learning yet often one of the most overlooked. There is a growing body of work around new ways to provide students with meaning, personalised feedback that will enhance their engagement in the process. This webinar on Wednesday features two presenters discussing their work in using audio feedback. While the results are mixed, there are some useful lessons to take away.

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

Glyn Davis (former VC Uni Melbourne and Griffith U) is appointed permanent head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, effective Monday. He moves from the Paul Ramsay Foundation, (“break cycles of disadvantage in Australia by investing in partnerships”).

Darren Goodsir joins Uni Sydney as chief of staff to VC Mark Scott. His substantive predecessor was Kirsten Andrews who moved up to VP External Relations. Mr Goodsir worked with Professor Scott at the NSW Department of Education and a ways back at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Michelle Lam joins MTPConnect (the medtech and pharma growth centres) in Melbourne, to be medtech clinical trials and commercialisation manager.