The property power of AI

Want to know a house price down the track? You can ask a realtor, consult a passing augur skilled in observing flying pigs or use new data-driven predictors

UNSW and Uni SA researchers have models that use public data to assess the property-price impact of infrastructure development options. “It will facilitate data-driven solutions to support better city planning,” UNSW announces.

Plus, perhaps, negatively-geared property investment.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Jay Cohen (La Trobe U) on using video in on-line learning. “I suspect on-line students, who in all the instances that I am aware of, pay the same price for the on-line version of the subject as those attending the on-campus occurrence, would prefer not to be subjected to “second hand” re-used, rarely captioned or transcribed poor-quality classroom-based recorded video,”  he writes. Its Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

plus Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the power of learning locally. “The real interactions students have with their teachers and with each other will sit within their memories and help shape their identities.”

Wizards of WAS and their international student appeal

Universities in Wales, Australia and New Zealand, plus Sweden are world leaders in responding to inquiries from prospective international students

WAS universities “lead the world for student equity experience,” according to results from a survey where people posing as prospective international students contacted 107 HE institutions in ANZ, Europe, North America and the UK.

The survey is from marketing consultants Edified and UniQuest.

Overall, one in five enquiries was unanswered and only half of responses answered all questions.

However ANZ institutions and Wales were top for responses that encouraged prospective students to keep inquiring. Australian Technology Network universities in particular, rated nine out of ten for responses. New Zealand universities scored nine for persuasiveness and comms quality. Massey U was world number one for email response.

Key findings include:

* While WAS leads the world for overall enquiry experience, in contrast, “on average North American institutions lag behind”

* a third of inquirers would not continue on the basis of first contact

* 20 per cent received no response to an inquiry but 25 per cent did get a follow-up

* almost all emails were answered

All 107 participating institutions received six calls from people presenting as prospective UG and PG coursework students from Brazil, China, France, India and Malaysia.

Critical tech and what to do about it

The Innovative Research Universities lobby has questions

The feds have a $1bn Critical Technologies Fund, which is “an investment in building strategic capability in Australia, powering economic growth and creating jobs.” As to what counts as critical, the government is now consulting on the 63 tech on the current list.

The techs are in seven areas, * advanced materials and manufacture, * AI computing and comms, * biotech, gene tech and vax * energy/environment * quantum * sensing, timing and navigation and * transport, robotics, space.

But, in a submission to the consultation paper, the IRU wonders what is the point? “It is not clear how the list will be used in relation to specific technologies to inform measures designed to promote or protect designated areas.”

And in particular, IRU is curious how the list applies to what its members do.

“ If government intends to use this list to prioritise funding support for specific technology areas (for example to prioritise among proposals made by universities to funding agencies …) that should also be clarified, with an opportunity for universities to provide input and feedback.”

IRU also calls for a resource to oversight national tech needs, “a technology and innovation think-tank capability to bring together evidence-based analysis of emerging areas and a multi-disciplinary approach to assessing their application and adoption.” Such a tech and innovation think tank” should involve universities, to  “inform the development of new courses and as well as research.”

What the Job Ready Graduates funding model won’t do

Assuming the Government, budget willing, can undo the Job Ready Graduates funding model ignores two problems. Andrew Norton explains the perennial one

The first, as Frank Larkins and Ian Marshman explained for CMM (Expert Opinion, ep two), is that winding JRG back will be very difficult indeed.

And then there is the perennial policy-into-philosophy problem of how much should governments and students pay for different degrees and why.

The learned Andrew Norton puts the questions in the context of 30 years of Commonwealth funding models, starting with HECS, in a new paper for the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education. He examines how governments have tinkered with five fundamentals, course costs, private benefits, public benefits, resources per CSP, and support for politically preferred occupations.

And it seems JRG is not going to end arguments

“It is too early to say conclusively whether the Job-ready Graduates goal of steering enrolments will fail, but the early results are consistent with theory and history – money is not the right instrument for changing course interests and the policy’s student contribution incentives and disincentives are not large enough to alter the career economics of course choices, “ Mr Norton argues.

Appointments, achievement

International society, ACS Photonics announces its 2023 young innovator – Igor Aharonovich (UTS).

Zoe Piper is appointed Dean of Adjuncts at Uni Canberra. She will lead the university’s engagement with adjuncts and professors emeriti.

Katherine Woodthorpe is elected president of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, starting January. She succeeds Hugh Bradlow. Dr Woodthorpe is professional director.

 Lisa Zamberlan is acting PVC International at UNSW. She covers during recruitment of the new DVC (unless it ends up a VP) Global position.