There’s more in the Mail

in Expert Opinion Kelly Matthews (Uni Queensland) talks about the AI challenge. “I hope the way forward is that people are going to be looking at how do we experiment with this, how do we learn, how do we ask all the questions that we need to be asking?” she says.

and in Features  Australian Disability Clearinghouse for Education and Training sets out three things providers can do to improve inclusion, right now. New in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series Needed now in learning and teaching.

Chinese students are back big-time


In January, the Chinese government shifted its policy on recognising on-line learning as it moved to a new national covid policy setting (CMM January 30).

This signalled that students studying on-line in China enrolled in degrees in other countries needed to return.

The results of the policy move are in, with the Education Visa Consultative Committee discussing the issue late last week.

Word is that while 63 000 Chinese students remained offshore at the end of January , last month it was down 21 000.

42 000 Chinese students returned to Australia shores in the month!

The government-stakeholder committee heard Australia is now back to having more Chinese onshore than Indians, who overtook China through the pandemic.

Dirk Mulder advises education and business clients on trends in international education. He writes regularly for CMM

What Adelaide Uni would aim for

Uni Adelaide VC Peter Høj and Uni SA VC David Lloyd commit to a decision on a merger of their universities  in July. If it is a go, the new Adelaide Uni would be “operational” by January 2026

They began public work on a merger before Christmas (CMM December 9) , perhaps because they like the idea, perhaps because they prefer doing it themselves, than leaving it to SA premier Peter Maliauskas, who had talked of establishing a university merger commission (CMM March 18 2022)

In a “vision statement” released yesterday the two VCs commit to;

* aiming to be national number one for industry income from research, “or commercialisation outcomes”

* (on unspecified metrics) being “top in Australia” for student employment “outcomes”

* in the top five for “student experience”

* every student to have “an experience of entrepreneurship,” plus industry engagement “through placements or internships”

* “aim” to have more low SES students completing degrees “than at any other higher education institution in Australia”

* “work confidently to be recognised among the world’s top 100 universities on an ongoing and sustainable basis”

Deakin U executive backs the Voice

“it is vital that everyone in our community who is eligible to vote considers the weight and importance of the question”

VC Iain Martin tells staff that the university executive, “believes strongly that supporting the referendum for the Voice to Parliament is an extension of our support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”

“Universities must play a role in the critical debate at these nation-changing moments, and the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech must not just be preserved but championed. Every member of our University community who is eligible to vote has an absolute obligation to consider these issues carefully and seriously,” he adds.

As to what the university’s governing body thinks, “we will also seek the views of Deakin’s Council at its next meeting in May,” the VC states.

Not their store Myer

Griffith U says yes it will open a CBD campus, but speculation a site is selected “is incorrect”

Last week Brisbane and national media reported Myer was going to bail on its Brisbane CBD store and that Griffith U “had emerged as a possible tenant.”

GU’s 2020-25 strategic plan includes a CBD campus – and it is still a starter, although a university representative tells CMM that while “the strategic drivers” are unchanged, “flow-on impacts of the pandemic mean the campus will be of a smaller scale than was initially envisaged.”

As to where, “no preferred sites have been identified.” Expressions of interest closed in December and the university’s council, will decide, “on next steps.”

Presumably soon-ish, the university is sticking to its original 2026 opening date.

Charles Darwin U gets another go at a new staff agreement

CDU had a big enterprise bargaining win last year, when staff voted for a new enterprise agreement that the National Tertiary Education Union opposed

But the NTEU is not used to losing votes and took the matter to the Fair Work Commission (CMM January 27).

Where  Commissioner Platt declined to approve the agreement because the university had allowed casual staff to vote, who were not employed on the day of the ballot and if they all voted in favour they could have carried the day for the university

However the university appealed and on Friday a full bench of the FWC agreed, concluding that Commissioner Platt had got the numbers on the vote wrong and sent the university’s application back to him.

But it’s still not all over the NTEU and the Community and Public Sector Union have “other issues concerning approval.”


Colin Simpson’s ed tech must-reads for the week

This week’s must-reads in education technology

AI is having an iPhone moment from Twitter

Last week I presented a small webinar about the latest in GenAI tools at work, which went well but would have been significantly easier if there hadn’t been major announcements in the field every day for the weeks leading up to it. ChatGPT, Google, Microsoft, Midjourney, Nvidia, Baidu, Adobe, Canva, and even Opera all having their little “oh and one more thing” moment. This thread from Lennart Nacke summarises the most recent updates nicely.


Will ChatGPT Kill the Student Essay? Universities Aren’t Ready for the Answer from The Walrus

This article published on Friday has popped up in my feed numerous times and is clearly resonating with people in this space. Irina Dumitrescu puts forward some thoughtful ideas about the nature and value of writing and what we stand to lose as we adapt to the GenAI behemoth by moving away from the idea of first drafts. She suggests that it is this (human) generative work that is some of the most powerful in terms of learning, even when academic writing assessments tend to be highly formulaic by their nature.


Chaos and calm in the lecture theatre: Transforming the lecture by creating and sustaining interactivity at scale part 3 from Uni Sydney’s Business Education Research Group

Meanwhile, in the physical world, educators continue to grapple with declining attendances in lectures and the need to consider what is next. This article from Peter Bryant is the third in a series considering the value of the lecture and it offers some concrete suggestions for transitioning to interactive experiences centred around active learning. (As a GenXer, it does my jaded heart proud to see a model drawing on the soft-loud-soft stylings of Pixies and Nirvana)


A framework for quality standards in digital design from the UTS LX Lab

The Learner Experience (LX) Lab at UTS has been quietly chugging away for years, doing great work in the digital learning design space (alongside its sister teams). This post from Anthony Burke, Matisse Strong and Rory Green describing their new framework makes the case that students deserve as good an on-line experience as they get in person and offers practical guidance on how to ensure this. The underlying principles are that learning is authentic, aligned, active and social.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 at CIT, ANU, Swinburne University and Monash University. He is also one of the leaders of the ASCILITE TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner (or @[email protected] on Mastodon)


Re-discovering discovery research policy

Discovery research  policy people  were pleased last week when Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic included it in a speech celebrating science as nation building

Basic research is important “where the short-term commercial outcomes are not immediately apparent” but which can end in “life-changing innovations that we use every day,” he said.

Good-o, but there is now pretty much bipartisan support for research that will not find a market failing fast and for funding ideas that can go quick-smart to market.

The Productivity Commission mildly demurs in its new five year report on innovation, making the case for research that is not tied to immediate policy preferences.

“Recent policy initiatives to increase knowledge transfer are too narrow in their scope in that they focus on direct commercialisation activities and advanced manufacturing industries. By focusing on research commercialisation, policy initiatives to increase knowledge transfer treat knowledge transfer as synonymous with commercialisation, even though other channels — such as consulting by academics — may be more relevant for certain types of firms and industries (especially service industries), research areas (especially social sciences) and research institutions.”

It’s a case to make to the O’Kane Accord team, where research policy people fear the emphasis will be on access, equity and funding for UG places. Tne Group of Eight appears to think so – making a case for a national research strategy, (CMM yesterday).


The Australian Academy of Science announces the nine ECRs, who will attend this year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting, * Ifrah Abdullahi (La Trobe U) * Siobhon Egan (Murdoch U)  * David Klyne (Uni Queensland) * Lynn Nazareth (CSIRO) * William Reay (Uni Newcastle * Kate Secombe (Uni Adelaide) * Enakshi Sinniah (Uni Queensland) * Cottrell Tamessar (Uni Newcastle) * Rachel Visontay (Uni Sydney)

Winners of the Banksia Foundation’s National Sustainability Awards include the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (members include CSIRO, Griffith U and James Cook U). Philip Chan (Uni Sydney) wins the Ethical Sourcing Award.