Message for premiers

“I think we’re going to see international student numbers return to where they were pre‑pandemic very quickly,” Trade Minister Dan Tehan, yesterday, on Southern Cross radio with Steve Price.

Gosh, whose fault will it be if not (scroll down)?

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Frank Larkins and Ian Marshman (Melbourne Centre for the Study of HE) on the states with HE hardest hit in the pandemic year.

 and Theo Farrell and Alyce Mason (Uni Wollongong) on the digital transformation of teaching and learning, why it will stay and how, if universities get it right it, “digitalisation can improve equal access to higher education.”

with Chris Ronan (Country Universities Centre) who explains  how regional students can study successfully by combining on-line courses and a local learning community.  This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series Needed now in teaching and learning.

plus Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on more metrics for education-focused academics. “Developing them is important if we want to provide opportunities for great university teachers, invest in them, and bring in new blood.”

Redefining value for HE

Big ideas on three days at the last CMM-Twig event for the year

Day one: What makes a university brand and matching graduates to job

Day two: New directions in marketing and the end for open days

Day three: all over for the ATAR plus courses in demand (and not)

Check out the experts addressing the issues here.

Commonwealth pressure on premiers over international ed arrivals

The federal government’s announcement that students who are fully vaxed and visa-ed can enter Australia as of December was enthusiastically applauded by the industry yesterday

Unsurprising, give it is the nearest thing to good news of any moment since the pandemic started.

-But there is confining of the joy in the announcement, “travellers to Australia must comply with the quarantine requirements in the state or territory of their arrival, and any other state or territory to which they plan to travel.”

Which probably accounts for elements of educator enthusiasm – with the states not exactly in raptures about opening en masse the industry needs to apply all the pressure it can.

Of the three markets that matter size-wise, NSW and Victoria do not require internationals approved by the feds to quarantine but, until yesterday at least, small numbers arriving were anticipated. NSW has pilot schemes to bring in hundreds, which will stay for a while. NSW VC committee convenor Barney Glover says there may be a shortage of incoming airline seats.

On the weekend, Victoria was referring to a “limited number” of arrivals.

And Queensland proposes allowing 250 students a week in, who would have to quarantine for 14 days, at least until the state reached 90 per cent domestic doubled vaxxed.

Allowing students landside at international airports is the one thing the Commonwealth can do, what the states require from them is the rest.

Uni Adelaide sticks to savings

The university says it still expects a shortfall of $50m from ’23 and its plan to save $30m, sent to staff consultation in July, stays

However, the final version announced yesterday includes changes;

* the Maths Learning Centre remains as is

*  the Environment Institute continues as a stand-alone

* professional staff positions will be reduced by 96, eight less than originally proposed

* processes now maximise opportunity for displaced staff “to secure new roles”

The changes do not apply to academics – “a separate body of work” involving them will be considered next year. Presumably this will account for the rest of the savings. The university plans to earn $20m a year of the needed $50m.


UNSW told not to publish student evals of courses

The university wanted to publish data from student assessments of courses on an “interactive dashboard.” Nothing-doing the union responded and the Fair Work Commission agrees

While the university did not plan to publish the names of academics along with course evaluations, opponents of the idea argue it would not be hard for the campus community to work out which staff taught what courses – and that could lead to effective league tables of staff performance.

But it cannot happen, the National Tertiary Education Union, told the Fair Work Commission, because of clause 27 (e) of the UNSW enterprise agreement. It states that ex legal and regulatory requirements, “course evaluation data will not be published in a form that identifies individual staff members to any persons beyond relevant line management … or students involved in the relevant course.”

To which management responded in the FWC, that the union, “overstates the effect of this clause and seeks to impose a restriction on UNSW which goes beyond the words used in the agreement.”

However, Commissioner Johns found, “by merely looking at the published data staff members are not named. They are not identified expressly. But the publication of course numbers, names and the term in which it was taught assists to identify staff. The form of what is published makes it searchable. Once a search is conducted staff are identifiable.”

As such, this would be inconsistent with the agreement.

But the commissioner had a suggestion for management and union. “I should not be taken to be expressing any view about the disability of publishing data that is accessible for staff and students (even if it identifies staff members). That is a separate issue. It is an issue the parties could address in the context of enterprise bargaining.”

The university’s enterprise agreement expires in April.

Last night the university stated, “the data included was limited to courses where there were two or more teaching staff and where 10 or more students had responded. As such, the course survey outcomes were not attributable to any one person.

“UNSW does not consider that, in making quantitative course outcomes available, it had breached the provisions of the Enterprise Agreement. Nonetheless, UNSW has removed the dashboard.”

Open access extended, again

The Council of Australian University Librarians has done its fifth deal on opening access for research publication

The new agreement is with Berlin-based monograph and journal publisher De Gruyter. It will allow researchers from participating ANZ universities to publish an uncapped number of accepted articles in hybrid journals their institution subscribes to with costs covered by the sub.

The publisher’s standard article processing charge is €2000 ($A3119).

This is the fifth agreement CAUL has announced with publishers since October, preceded by OUP, CUP. Springer and Wiley and while they are far from OA, as in free to read, free to publish, they do contain cost-growth in an industry where the small size of the local market minimises bargaining power.

As CAUL described the CUP agreement, it, “enables a steady transition towards a complete open transformation which fairly apportions fees based on the research output of the participating institution and recognises the complexity of the varied funding models and drivers for publication for authors in different areas,” (CMM October 15).

CAUL is said to have three more agreements, with small publishers in the works.

CAUL’s work could have set a new base for research publishing in Australia but for Chief Scientist Cathy Foley raising the stakes.

Last week Dr Foley suggested a model that looks like CAUL’s but with national-agreements with publishers, “negotiated by a central organisation,” (CMM November 16).

Dolt of the day

Yesterday’s email CMM edition got wrong the Uni Queensland senate election for professional staff.  Student Employability director, Dino Willox won.

Colin Simpson’s EdTech resources of the week

Working paper: What does it cost to educate a university student in Australia from Uni Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education and the Pilbara Group

One of the common concerns raised (or benefits posited) around on-line and technology enhanced learning is that it is cheaper than face-to-face teaching and is introduced to cut costs rather than raise standards. People working in the space have argued for years that this isn’t the case (in either instance) but there has been a dearth of reliable data about the costs of teaching in HE. This working paper from UniMelb’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education, in partnership with the Pilbara Group, suggests in proud academic tradition that “it depends” – based on degree level and mode. The paper also delves into a range of other factors including discipline, campus location and funding clusters.


Is the ADDIE model outdated or still relevant? From TaughtUp

When I started working in the learning design space, the ADDIE model (Analysis – Design – Development – Implementation – Evaluation) was somewhat considered the be-all and end-all. It offers a useful set of steps for thinking about the creation of a learning resource or activity but also seemed as much a linear project management system as anything else. This article outlines the history of this model and what has come to replace it as development has moved to more iterative AGILE-oriented approaches like SAM (Successive Approximation Model). As with many things, it still has its place.


Digital higher education: a divider or bridge builder? Leadership perspectives on edtech in a COVID-19 reality from International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education

This article examines the use of education technologies starting out from a position that vendors overhype their products but it eventually comes to the conclusion commonly held by people working in the sector that this doesn’t actually matter and a judicious combination of technology, pedagogy and capability building can in fact make a difference in education. Laufer et al. interview and survey HE leaders from 24 countries for their perspectives on the impact of education technologies in the last two years, covering opportunities and barriers for both individuals and institutions. Well worth a read for the big picture overview.


Webinar – Pathways to Learning Design (and more) – skill or luck? Thursday 25/11 12 noon AEDT

ASCILITE’s TELedvisors Network wraps up the 2021 webinar series with a bang, with Professor Michael Sankey (Charles Darwin U) and Jack Sage (James Cook U) sharing the findings of research they undertook this year into what it takes for people to enter the growing profession of Learning Design (and adjacent roles) in Australian HE and what the future looks like for these kinds of roles. Attend the session on the day.


Science Fiction is a Luddite Literature from Medium

Respected author in the tech ethics and society space, Cory Doctorow, makes some valuable connections between the Luddite movement of the early 1800s and some key tenets of science fiction – namely that it is generally all about the meaning of the impact of technology on the world rather than the tools themselves.

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