Working with what they have got

Uni Tas has social media advertising for on-line courses

“Don’t be tied down by the average classroom. Flex your wings and study on-line. We bring our island campus to you,” is the pitch.  The campaign pre-dates what is now known as COVID 19 but U Tas students caught in China would probably prefer going to the real-life campus themselves.

And here to help

Universities without a bunch of on-line backend are blithely announcing courses for students who can’t make it for first semester.  Open Learning sees an opportunity

The Sydney-based company says its “scalable cloud learning platform” is available in the PRC and can deliver courses on-line.  It claims 10 470 users to date in China, mainly in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing.

 Open Learning delivers MOOCs and short pay-to-view courses from around 50 HE providers including UNE, UNSW, UTS, Western Sydney U, Charles Sturt U, and Uni Newcastle.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning, Rebecca Eaton, (La Trobe U) on winning the student transition trifecta. It’s a  new essay in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need HE needs now.

And Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the conference poster – how it sells research.

Fresh as paint for Uni Sydney artists

Flash new digs for Sydney College of Arts are nearly ready for students

When they are it will end a blue that started in 2016 when Uni Sydney university management first tried to palm the college off to UNSW. When that did not work Uni Syd said the college could stay but only if it moved from scenic Rozelle Bay to the main campus.

This generated an easel of outrage among students and supporters with occupations and protests that went on for weeks plus a senior resignation, (CMM September July 29, September 15 and October 7 2016) but it appears to be all over now.


Budget bid for medical research

The budget may not be top of mind for university research leaders wondering what they will do without student fees from China. But the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes is focused on funding

AAMRI’s budget bid advocates;

* full capitalisation of the Medical Research Future Fund in the next financial year.

* above CPI increases for research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council

* resources to support systemic costs of MRFF research undertaken in MRIs

The first, costing $2.8bn, is widely expected to be in the budget (at least it was before the cash-eating, receipts-reducing disasters of the summer).

The second would require a lift on the 1.6 per cent in last year’s forward estimates, annual CPI in the year to December was 1.8 per cent.

The third would provide support as accompanies NHMRC grants, with an estimated annual cost of $30m.

Virus crisis opportunity for Uni Southern Queensland

The university is discounting on-line course fees for students at other unis caught in China by the virus ban

The long-time DE providers announces a 25 cut in first semester course costs for Chinese students of other Australian universities who are now prevented from coming to their enrolled campus.

USQ says such students will need approval from their uni for this “cross-institutional study.”

““This is a goodwill gesture, backed by our expertise and experience in online learning, to ensure that the Australian university sector continues to maintain its excellent reputation in China,” Vice Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie says.

It is also a brilliant bit of brand building, generating awareness of USQ as calmly getting on with teaching, while institutions with famous names scramble to present themselves as distance providers. USQ adds that Chinese students have studied on-line with it, “for decades”.

The university also wisely adds, “it offers a wide range of scholarships and flexible study options for domestic students.”

Macquarie U management asks staff what they think

Last year management was criticised for not sharing information and consulting with staff – so the university is doing both

Macquarie U invites staff to contribute ideas on-line for the 2020-24 operating plan. It follows campus outrage late last year when management announced that it was closing a faculty and distributing its departments to save money. Macquarie observers suggest that some senior staff were surprised in November by just how aggrieved staff were at what was considered inadequate information on the university’s financial position.

Perhaps this is why Vice Chancellor S Bruce Dowton now hopes staff, “will use this opportunity to submit ideas, discuss input from others and provide feedback on ways we can collaborate to embrace change and move forward with a collective vision that you have helped build.”

Last year Professor Dowton said savings were necessary, in part because of expected flat demand from international students (CMM November 6).  At least he’s not telling people he told them so.


Much ado about things that won’t change

The press gallery hackery is talking-up lobbying by international education advocates but HE leadership knows there is nothing it can do to change the government’s ban on arrivals from China

As Universities Australia CEO,  Catriona Jackson put it yesterday, ““We will continue to work closely together, understanding there is still so much to do.”

But not much that can be done. Ms Jackson praised Education Minister Dan Tehan for delivering, “on his promise of providing maximum flexibility,” pointing to government assistance for universities to, “undertake the significant task of making direct contact with all 100,000 Chinese students who remain outside of Australia.”

Otherwise, university responses, “include offering online learning for those students who remain in China, postponing course start dates, delaying assessments or offering deferrals.” It may not be much, but there isn’t much more that is politically possible.

O-week opportunities at UNSW and Macquarie U

Cash or community

“Start your year with a win! Stay ahead with our guide to first week success & go in the running to win thousands of dollars-worth of prizes,” UNSW promotes Orientation Week, via Facebook yesterday

“At O Week you can find out more on how we can support you with your study, staying on top of things, finding accommodation and registering for accessibility support if you have a disability or medical condition!” My MQ, also via Facebook.

Appointment, achievement

David Haig (Harvard U) will spend three weeks as Charles Darwin Scholar at CD U. Funded by a Fulbright grant, he will deliver Charles Darwin orations in Alice Springs and Darwin.

Charles Darwin U announces Steve Rogers is its new director of Research and Innovation. Dr Rogers joins from the Alice Springs based Centre for Appropriate Technology.