Insta influencer

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is trialling Instagram, with 160 info-graphics on the page. Bound to make AIHW prominent in the fiercely competitive health policy brand category.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Chris Walsh and Michael Ratcliff (Victoria U Online) set-out out the four fundamentals that “make or break” the on-line experience for higher education students. They are this week’s authors in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series Needed Now in Teaching and Learning.

Professor Walsh is also speaking at the Needed Now … conference (Wednesday May 26, 2.30 AEST). Details here.

Plus, Merlin Crossley (UNSW)  likes podcasts that roll out weekly and create a sense of community  – maybe they could work for lectures.

Needed Now: the conference

The best way to learn how students coped with study in 2020 is to talk to some – which is what Victoria U VC Adam Shoemaker will do at the Needed Now in Learning and Teaching Conference. The session is on May 25 11.30 AEST. Details here

Thanks to Sally Kift for creating the conference and to sponsor, Online Education Services.

Live and in-person at Murdoch U (just not for lectures)

It’s part of a plan for “authentic learning experiences”

No-lectures was announced last year by PVC E Kylie Readman to, “shift the focus to student-centred learning and assessment design to ensure that students are engaged in high quality and authentic learning experiences,” (CMM October 9 2020).

The new teaching model involves continuing tutes and lab classes on campus but with lectures on-line from this year.

Murdoch U pitches the model, (“greater flexibility to study in a way that suits you”) in an admirably economic YouTube video.

“To give you greater choice in how you participate in lectures” there are options “to engage with lecture content on-line.”

“It’s all designed to allow you to access your education in a way that works for you.”

“There are lots of reasons to come to campus” Murdoch U assures students, (the library, to hang-out with friends, for example) and there are “lots of options to enrol in face-to-face experiences.”  Just not for lectures.

TEQSA gets down to cases on cheating

The Tertiary Education and Quality and Standards Agency has given HE providers a dataset of deplores

Researchers working with Turnitin identified 2628 “substantially similar” assignments which the regulator has provided to Australian education institutions, including 34 universities, in 2015-19.

TEQSA says it is investigating “a number of services … with a view to pursuing further enforcement action.” In March CEO Alistair Maclean told a federal parliament committee the regulator would “be announcing very shortly” court orders to block cheating websites, (CMM March 12).

There is no word from TEQSA on the subject areas of the errant assignments and whether students submitting were local or internationals

Hospitality and tourism on the work menu for international students


After a year of largely staying silent on international student hardship the government relaxes on work restrictions

There were two announcements over the weekend regarding international students.

The first is that the 40 hour per fortnight work restrictions will be lifted for those who find work in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The second adds tourism and hospitality to the 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa, which is valid for 12 months and may be renewable.

“Government has listened carefully to the states, territories and industry and is introducing these changes to support critical sectors for Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery,” Immigration Minister Alex Hawke says.

But the international education sector was taken by surprise.

Phil Honeywood from the International Education Association of Australia said that the combined peak bodies are hosting a meeting with Minister Hawke this morning to seek clarification on the implications of these measures for students.

He adds, that “in most cases Home Affairs have a strict interpretation that work would be capped for anyone on a student visa. This moves away from the previous position. Clearly our sector wants to maintain the integrity of our student visa system.”

Given the government that has been mostly silent on international student hardship requirements over the past 12 months this announcement appears a backflip.

Issues that the international education lobbies will want to discuss with Mr Hawke include:

* whether this means regular work for more international students over a longer timeframe, or just an easy-hired, easy-fired source of staff as business picks-up and drops-off as states go into and out of lockdowns during pandemic times

* most international students need to work and 2020 was tough for them. This change helps just some of them with more hours

* it creates a temptation for students to put work before their studies and will drive behaviour of students seeking to stay in Australia for work rather than those waiting for a chance to go home

*  the risk of visa hopping. The new arrangement applies to students in the last 90 days of their course and unless there is a “no further stay” condition people could put their course on hold, switch to the 408 pandemic visa and then switch back to study in the future.

Nor does this announcement do anything for struggling independents in the VET and ELICOS sectors – but they, like their international students, are not who these announcements are meant to help.

Just like last year. In March 2020, the government lifted the then capped 20 hours per fortnight in-term for international students who already had jobs stacking supermarket shelves (CMM March 16). But this only applied for a month, reverting to 20, “as more Australians are recruited into these roles” (CMM April 6).

How Mr Hawke’s new arrangement will work out is anyone’s guess.

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent

Charles Sturt University (still) recruiting a VC

CSU has appointed a search-firm to help find it a new vice chancellor and the university says it expects the recruitment process to be completed by August

No, this is not a speedy process.

Andrew Vann went on long-leave, prior to departing, June last year. His job was advertised immediately and a closing date for applications at the end of that month (CMM June 19 2020)

Since then John Germov has been in charge, first as Acting VC and then Interim VC, (CMM February 12).

Union budget bid: international students “aren’t bags of money”

The NTEU says it is time for universities to receive “reliable public funding”

In a budget week submission, the National Tertiary Education Union calls on government to continue the $1bn research funding injection announced last year and “restore reliable public funding to public universities.”

“The courses you can chose from at university should not be based on the state of the international student market in the years that you go. International students should be treated as an important part of our university communities, not bags of money,” National President Alison Barnes says.

And the union renews its call for a higher education commission “with regulatory and funding responsibilities … at arms-length to political structures.”

The union also calls for “supercharged” COMPACTS, the half-hearted performance agreements Commonwealth officials now strike with each public university.

A manual for venture catapaultists

The education minister is looking for ideas on research translation. There’s a report in the industry portfolio which could be useful

Last week Education Minister Alan Tudge was keen to talk to UK science minister Amanda Solloway about research commercialisation, particularly the Brits’ Grand Challenges programme and Catapult Network (“transforming great ideas into valuable products and services,” (CMM May 6)).

What you ask, the Catapult Network that influenced the establishment of the Australian Industry Growth Centres? That’s the one, learned readers reply.

The industry growth centres are in the Industry portfolio and LRs hope that its minister, Christian Porter, gave Mr Tudge the ACIL Allen report on the centres.

But if Minister Tudge has a copy his is one of very few. The report is not released and LRs who generally know where to find papers buried by bureaucrats say they can’t find it anywhere.

Which seems strange, given the report was completed before the last election and friends of the industry growth centres might welcome good news. In 2019 CMM reported a Nous Group review praised the programme with faint damns, “Feedback from stakeholders, ‘is generally positive’, ‘data collection and performance measurement practices currently lack the rigour required for consistency and alignment,’ ‘more work is required to develop consistent and appropriate approaches …’ ” (CMM July 31 2019).

Whatever ACIL Allens reported needs to be known. Mr Tudge’s interest in research commercialisation is not abstract, the government is contemplating a major university-industry research translation scheme.

“If we are going to base another Australian programme on Catapult , it might be worth figure out if the first one is working,” a LR remarks.

Vic trainers can do it their way

Friends of TAFE are pleased with the Victorian Government’s budget promise of $86m to create the Victorian Skills Authority

The now imminent agency was recommended by the Macklin Review of post-secondary education and training (CMM February 4). It will develop a Victorian skills plan and develop a VET funding model to implement it.

And won’t people at the Commonwealth’s National Skills Commission be pleased! The NSC has built a comparative price model to identify what the states and territories charge for the same subject, (CMM April 9), perhaps in the hope of using the data to create a national approach on pricing.

But now the Victorians will have the data to support doing it their way and ignoring the feds.

As CMM oft, remarks – federalism – ain’t it grand!


Appointments, achievements

Kim Beswick becomes director of the Gonski Institute for Education (UNSW). She moves from leading the School of Education.  Former director Adrian Piccoli was not mentioned in the announcement. Pasi Sahlberg stays deputy.

Grant Lovelock (ex Department of Education) is head of the Australian Public Service Academy, which will open in July at Old Parliament House (CMM February 22). He will move from first assistant commissioner-academy implantation at the APS Commission. According to Assistant Minister for the Public Service, Ben Morton, the academy will offer “a new, networked model for learning and development.”

The Royal Society (no, not The Royal Society of anywhere), THE Royal Society announces new fellows, including; David Craik (Uni Queensland) and Marilyn Renfree (Uni Melbourne)