We see what you did there

Uni Adelaide headlines a media statement yesterday “Covid Pawsitive”

Apparently trained sniffer dogs can detect the COVID 19 , “faster, earlier and more reliably than any rapid antigen test currently used worldwide.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Simon Bedford (Western Sydney U) on the university’s new teaching and learning Badugulang Centre. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

plus James Guthrie and John Dumay (Macquarie U) examine how their research performance is analysed in rankings and issues it points two.

with Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on teaching awards– hard to decide but way worth the effort.

and Jenny Gore (Uni Newcastle)  considers the policy and politics in the Quality Initial Teacher Education  Review.

More to hear on vetoes of ARC funding decisions

The Senate Committee considering The Greens’ bill to amend the Australian Research Council Act will conduct hearings tomorrow

Senator Mehreen Faruqi’s bill is intended to prevent a minister vetoing specific ARC recommended grants. Alas, as of COB yesterday there was no programme word on who will appear. But if the submissions to the committee are an indication supporters of ministers making decision on individual projects will not be legion.

A petition to parliament “to prevent political interference in ARC funding grants” had 2551 signatures last night.

All the news that’s fit to spore

“We have a mould expert available to comment on the growth on you or your windowsills,” Uni Sydney Media (via Twitter) yesterday. CMM is ok but Buzz the Dog’s white bits are looking grey.

UNE academic workload model finally in sight

UNE Vice Chancellor Brigid Heywood has an academic workload mode ready to go. Problem is the Academic Workload Committee has one it prefers

University management says the VC’s is in-line with the Enterprise Agreement and should be implemented.  The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union says Professor Heywood must accept the model recommended to her by the academic workload committee chair.

The parties accept Fair Work Commission arbitration and yesterday Commissioner Johns set out a timetable to sort it out. All papers are due March 25, with a hearing Monday March 28.

However the Commissioner suggested union and management, “continue to meet and work constructively with each other in good faith.” The commission is prepared to help with a “member assisted conciliation.”

This dispute seems to have started when Professor Heywood proposed to, “re-scope the nature of academic work” with staff “employed to design and deliver education and/or research in an academic or research within an agreed framework” (CMM July 30 2020).

Workload models are long a source of disagreement at UNE. There was a complex dispute related to an academic restructure and enterprise agreement negotiations (CMM October 17 2018, January 18 2019 and January 20 2020).

Sweating on the textbook of the future

The Council of Australian University Librarians is managing an open access publishing programme to create their own resources (CMM February 16)– Uni Qld demonstrates how it is done

There’s a new resource from Uni Queensland for exercise science students working with people who want injury free fitness.

Which is good, what is better is that it is by Uni Queensland people, Emma Beckman, Chloe Salisbury and colleagues.

Exercise Delivery is text and visuals, but mainly You Tube videos of the trainers demonstrating a bunch of basic exercises, giving students a demonstration of how to teach them.

What is great is that it is open access, published by Uni Queensland on the pressbook platform.

The best news is there are no burpees.

Micro-courses already arriving

While the HE establishment continues to contemplate what to do about micro-credentials entrepreneurs in universities are creating products

Uni Queensland announces a 40-hour self-paced on-line course, “to become an effective telehealth practitioner and champion”: It’s for “health professionals” and administrators and covers clinical expertise, tech, service deliver and service evaluation. It’s open  to all, “there are no prerequisites” and “you can showcase your capabilities with a university certified digital certificate.” Cost is $1200.

Monash U has an eight-week on-line micro-credential for current, “healthcare leaders at all levels”: It will take around 15 hours a week, including four for live sessions. There are assignments, and completers “can receive” six “unspecified credit” points for a masters in health professions education. It’s a JV with consultants NeuroPower and costs $3685 for the course and $4125 for it and the MC.

Colin Simpson’s must read of the week in education technology

Student evaluations place unfair and harmful expectations on women university teachers… from Australian Journal of Political Science (via Twitter).

Few will be surprised to hear that student evaluations of teaching leave something to be desired when it comes to the important work of gathering actionable student feedback. This Twitter thread discusses a new article about the ways that student expectations of their teachers can vary greatly based on gender, with women commonly expected to perform much more emotional labour than their male colleagues.


Tech Ethics & Policy – 60 seconds at a time from Dr Casey Fiesler

One of my favourite TikTok creators is Dr Casey Fiesler, an information scientist at University of Colorado, Boulder, who has essentially put her entire tech ethics and policy unit on the platform in 60 second bites. She has compiled this handy week by week list of all the topics with bonus readings and discussion questions for topics including moral machines, privacy, intellectual property and more.


New rules on lecture transcripts give academics an impossible choice from Times Higher Education

The explosion in video content in recent years has added urgency to something that we should have been doing better for a long time. Providing accurate captions and transcripts in a timely fashion is vital in ensuring equity in educational media. This article in THE from Emily Nordmann and colleagues discusses legal mandates for this in the UK but the issues raised are global. Auto-captioning still isn’t quite good enough, meaning that time-consuming manual corrections are needed. The article offers suggestions for generating better captions and covers some of the operational challenges faced.


Pedagogical sins that make us cringe from @LindseyMasland (Twitter)

Learning from our mistakes is valuable, learning from the mistakes of many magnifies the experience. This twitter thread captures an array of dumb things higher educators did in their early days of teaching and the lessons they learned. It should be mandatory reading in an HE teaching course.


Call for Special Issue SubmissionsAustralasian Journal of Educational Technology

ASCILITE’s AJET is one of the leading journals in the ed tech field. The editors of this special issue on “Achieving lasting education in the new digital learning world” are currently looking for submissions of note about the ways that education can and is being changed sustainably for the online world. Submissions are due by 31st March.

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


UNSW wins on publishing course evaluations

When the university proposed this last year the  National Tertiary Education Union argued the university’s enterprise agreement forbids publishing evals that identify staff, which students who knew what academics could teach which courses could do. The Fair Work Commission agreed with the union  (CMM November 23).

However UNSW appealed and yesterday a full bench found that the university can publish its “myExperience” course surveys.

“We accept that in some cases a person can be identified without being named. If a certain attribute is widely associated with a particular person, a reference to that attribute could identify the  person,  even  though  the  person’s  name  might  not  be  used, “ yesterday’s judgement states.

“But  the  proposed  form  of  the data to be published simply does not do this. No staff are identified. Even if the clause were concerned with identifiability, to the extent that any staff may be identifiable, this is not because of the form of the data or its content but because of an independent capacity to access extrinsic information  about  course personnel.”


Snow Medical Research Foundation suspends Uni Melbourne

On February 28 Uni Melbourne announced six new hon docs – all to white men. “This is unacceptable,” the Foundation states

And so it has suspended the university from the Snow Fellowship Programme, which are worth $8m each.  The Foundation adds that over the last three years Uni Melbourne has not awarded hon docs to women “or someone of non white descent.”

The Foundation adds it asked for an explanation from the university and received an “unsatisfactory” response.

“Given the outcomes of the University of Melbourne’s gender equality and diversity programmes do not align with Snow Medical’s values, Snow Medical has made the difficult decision to suspend the University of Melbourne from future applications … until the university has demonstrated better outcomes.”

The Foundation will honour existing fellowships at Uni Melbourne, but “now is the time for action – not just talk.”

An undated noted on the bottom of the university’s February 28 hon doc announcement states, “A number of graduates who were due to receive their honorary doctorates on Monday night were unable to attend the in-person ceremony for a variety of reasons. This list includes three women and an Indigenous man who were recognised for outstanding achievements in their fields of endeavour. These honorary doctorates will be conferred at a later date.”