Thursday, January 28, 2016

Australasian Computer Science Week in Canberra

Australasian Computer Science Week (ACSW 2016) of the Computing Research and Education Association of Australasia (CORE), is being hosted at the Australian National University in Canberra, 2-5 February 2016. ACSW 2016 has ten conferences, plus meetings of IT deans and PhD students from across the region. The program includes plenary presentations by Professor Judy Kay, University of Sydney on "A Human-Centred View of Big Personal Data: Scrutable User Models for Privacyand Control", Dr Kerry Taylor, Chair W3C/OGC Spatial Data on the Web Working Group & ANU, on "Semantic Sensor Networks: The Internet of Things needs the Web of Data" and Geraldine Torrisi-Steele, Griffith University, on "Supporting students' development of metacognition and problem solving skills". Also a display of ANU TechLauncher for student start-ups.

Some other papers which caught my attention were:
  1. Daniel Grunwell and Tony Sahama. Delegation of access in an Information Accountability Framework for eHealth
  2. Simon and Judy Sheard. Academic integrity and computing assessments
  3. Matthew Butler, Jane Sinclair, Michael Morgan and Sara Kalvara. Comparing International Indicators of Student Engagement for Computer Science  
  4. Julia Prior, Samuel Ferguson and John Leaney. Reflection is Hard: Teaching And Learning Reflective Practice in a Software Studio  
  5. Karen Blackmore, William Coppins and Keith Nesbitt. Using Startle Reflex to Compare Playing and Watching in a Horror Game  
  6. Nikki Robins, Trish Williams and Krishnun Sansurooah. I know what you did last summer... An Investigation into Remnant Data on USB Storage Devices Sold in Australia in 2015.  
  7. Carbone Angela and Margaret Hamilton. Pizza with university ICT students: What do students expect employers want? 
  8. Matt Stevens and Richard Norman. Industry Expectations of Soft Skills in IT Graduates  
  9. Nazish Khan and Andrew Luxton-Reilly. Is Computing for Social Good the Solution to Closing the Gender Gap in Computer Science? 
  10. Carolyn Seton and Raina Mason. Decreasing the Digital Divide - Analysing the UI requirements of older Australians 
  11. Ar Kar Kyaw, Pulin Agrawal and Brian Cusack. Wi-Pi: A Study of WLAN Security in Auckland CBD


Conferences at ACSW 2016:
  1. Asia-Pacific Conference on Conceptual Modelling (APCCM)
  2. Australasian Computer Science Conference (ACSC)
  3. Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE)
  4. Australasian Information Security Conference (AISC)
  5. Australasian Symposium on Parallel and Distributed Computing (AusPDC)
  6. Australasian User Interface Conference (AUIC)
  7. Australasian Web Conference (AWC)
  8. Australasian Workshop on Health Informatics and Knowledge Management (HIKM)
  9. Interactive Entertainment (IE)
  10. Australasian Conference on Artificial Life and Computational Intelligence (ACALCI) 

Internet Use by Australian School Students

Goodwin, K. (2016) interviewed just over one thousand parents in Australia on their children's use of the Internet for learning. Half were from capital cities, half with primary school age children and half secondary school. Three quarters of parents said that Internet at home helped children learn. About half said their children use the Internet at home for research, watch tutorials and collaborate with other students.

The research was commissioned by NBN Co, an Australian government owned company set up to provide a national broadband network. NBN Co obviously have an interest in talking up the value of digital technology for education. In particular the interview questions appear to have been designed to support the assertion that high speed broadband is needed at home to provide video for education. No questions appear to have been asked about the need to provide Internet for students outside the home.

It should be noted that NBN Co is providing high speed broadband, which is far in excess of the speed required just for educational video. The ABS (2015) notes that the OECD definition of broadband used by the Australian government is 256kbps. In contrast the minimum speed being offered by NBN Co. is 20 Mbps, more than seventy five times the OECD minimum and many times the speed required for educational video.

NBN Co. is only providing fixed broadband for homes and small businesses, it is not providing mobile wireless data, as used by smart phones and tablet computers outside the home. Mobile devices equipped with 3G and 4G wireless modems might render NBCo's multi-billion dollar fiber and fixed wireless network obsolete before it can be completed.

For comparison, Pegrum, Oakley and Faulkner (2013) report on the adoption of mobile devices in ten Western Australian non-government schools in 2011. iPads were most popular, followed by iPod Touches (a small tablet device) and iPhones. Lower level classes had shared devices in the classroom, while older students each had their own device. M-learning, was still being integrated into the teaching.

Pegrum, Oakley and Faulkner (2013) identify professional development (PD) for teachers in the educational use of computers as a major need. One program set up to provide PD is the CSER Digital Technologies MOOC (Falkner, Vivian & Falkner, 2015). This is a series of free on-line courses from the University of Adelaide to teach about the new Australian Digital Technologies curriculum. The course is initially being offered for teaching in Kindergarten to year six (K-6) but is being expanded to cover later years.

Teaching digital technology to teachers on-line is challenging. (Falkner, Vivian & Falkner, p. 66, 2015) note that the average Australian primary  teacher is a 42 year old generalist (secondary teachers are a few years older). These teachers are likely to have had minimal exposure to computers in their teacher training. Teachers are reportedly working 46 hours per week and 8 to 9 days a year on PD. Asking teachers to spend extra time to use IT to learn to use IT to teach IT is a challenge. CSER prepared seven MOOC Modules:
  1. Introduction
  2. Data – Patterns & Play
  3. Data - Representation
  4. Digital Systems
  5. Information Systems
  6. Algorithms & Programming
  7. Visual Programming
Falkner, Vivian an Falkner (p. 68, 2015) report that the first offering of the course had 1378 enrolled, 438 of who did not engage in the course and 99 completed. This is a 7.2% completion rate (10.5% of those encouraging), which is reasonable for a MOOC. The same course, offered with a tutor as a conventional e-learning course may be expected to have a much higher completion rate.


ABS. (2015, May). Discussion Paper: Consultation on topics emerging from submissions to the Information and Communication Technology Statistics Review, Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved from

Falkner, K., Vivian, R., & Falkner, N. (2015, January). Teaching Computational Thinking in K-6: The CSER Digital Technologies MOOC. In Proceedings of the 17th Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE 2015) (Vol. 27, p. 30). Retrieved from
Goodwin, K. (2016). nbn Digital Parenting Report, NBN Co. Retrieved from
Pegrum, M., Oakley, G., & Faulkner, R. (2013). Schools going mobile: A study of the adoption of mobile handheld technologies in Western Australian independent schools. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(1). Retrieved from

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Learning to Teach Results in Some Students Doing Worse

Bryant, D., & Richardson, A. (2015) have found that university lecturers at University of Canberra who have postgraduate certification in higher education teaching tend to have fewer failing students, but also fewer students with high results. The authors termed the lecturers with teacher training as "Damage Controllers" and those without as "Perfection Seekers". They suggest the former should be allocated to courses with low retention rates.

Bryant and Richardson (2015) offer no explanation as to why certification in teaching should correlate with numbers of failing students. It would be tempting to say that being trained in teaching results in a better teacher, who is able to help those students who would otherworld fail. However, it may just be a correlation: with those lecturers who believe they should help failing students being more likely to enroll in teacher training.

Also it may be that the results are influenced by what the individual lecturers perceive as the purpose of a university course. A university course can be seen as vocational: teaching the bulk of students what they need to know to do a job. The emphasis in vocational eduction is to get students to a level of competence: more than competent is a waste of resources. Alternatively a university course may be seen as a way to identify those students who are best able to undertake research and become universality academics. The emphasis in academic education is to identify the few top students for advanced study: what happens to the bulk of students is not of interest. The aim (vocational or academic) influences the way a course is designed and assessed.

As someone who has done teacher training, I am in the "Damage Controller" category. I see teaching as like being a triage nurse, focusing on those students who need help to pass, paying less attention to those who are likely to pass without help and those who will fail regardless.


Bryant, D., & Richardson, A. (2015). To be, or not to be, trained. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 37(6), 682-688. DOI: 10.1080/1360080X.2015.1102818

Credit for MOOCs from Australian, North American and European Universities

Grove (2016) reports that a consortium of the Australian National University, University of Queensland, University of British Columbia, Boston University and Delft University of Technology, are setting up a credit transfer system for MOOCs. All are members of the edX consortium and offer a small number of low cost on-line courses. Students who undertook a MOOC through one institution would be able to gain credit at any of the others.

What is interesting about this proposal is that the MOOCs are generally not integrated into the degree programs of the institutions offering them. Not only do the universities need to set up a system to recognize each others MOOCs, but their own. Also each institution only offers a small number of courses, which are usually a short part (typically 4 to 8 weeks) of an existing introductory course.

UQx Design Methodology for Course Development
MOOCs are currently used as a marketing tool by universities to give potential students a taster of a topic, not provide them with a complete educational program. Some of these universities also offer full on-line courses as part of degree programs, but those courses are not part of the edX system, are charged at a higher rate, delivered using different software and part of the same quality control system as face-to-face courses. The University of Queensland has a UQx Design Methodology for Course Development.

If this scheme follows the pattern set by other MOOC recognition schemes, it will not be free and will cost about the same as existing e-learning. Coursera offer "Specialization Certificates", where the student does a series of MOOCs, then a capstone project and receives a university certificate. An example is the University of California, Irvine's Virtual Teacher Program. The student undertakes four courses and a final capstone. The courses are each 2 to 4 hours a week over five weeks. Each course and the capstone is US$66, for a total of US$333.

That may sound cheap, but it is about the same cost as an on-line Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40110) offered by more than seven hundred Australian Registered Training Organizations (RTO). The RTOs are part of the Australian Higher Education system and as well as offering vocational courses (for plumbers and electricians) they also offer introductory programs for those wanting to go on to university. The MOOC consortia seem to want to reproduce this system, without acknowledging its existence.


Grove, J. (2016, January 4). Moocs: international credit transfer system edges closer. Times Higher Education. Retrieved from

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Build it and they won't come

What is surprising about the "Indian" Aakash education tablet computer is not the failure of the project, but the continued attempts to build a low cost educational computer. Before the Aakash, there was the OLPC. More recently there has been the Infinity Kids Laptop/Tablet from Sydney and the "Udaan" tablet announced by an Indian government minister ("No date of expiry", by Anubhuti Vishnoi, India Today, January 9, 2015). Mudliar and Pal (p. 1, 2015) explain this optimism over reality in terms of "... the cult of a technocratic leadership, the discourse of indigenous technology, the re-creation of the Silicon Valley dream, and the face of the marginal user". This seems to apply equally well in Australia and the USA, as in India.

The failure of the Aakash and OLPC contrasts with the success of the Raspberry Pi educational computer, several million of which have been produced. The Raspberry Pi has succeeded perhaps because it did not depend on endorsement by a government minister and aimed to simply help teach IT. However, this does not stop people trying: Ali, Vlaskamp, Eddin, Falconer and Oram (2013) describe a project to produce an educational computer for Uganda, based on the Raspberry Pi.


Mudliar, P., & Pal, J. (2015). ICTD in the Popular Press: Media Discourse Around Aakash, the “World’s Cheapest Tablet”. Information Technologies & International Development, 11(1), pp-41. Retrieved from
Ali, M., Vlaskamp, J. H. A., Eddin, N. N., Falconer, B., & Oram, C. (2013, September). Technical development and socioeconomic implications of the Raspberry Pi as a learning tool in developing countries. In Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Conference (CEEC), 2013 5th (pp. 103-108). IEEE. Retrieved from

Education and Skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

InfoSys have released a study "Amplifying Human Potential: Education and Skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution" (18 January 2016). This presents the results of a survey of young people's attitudes to education and work. It suggests that the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" will require both technical (STEM) and soft skills. The study finds Australians less enthusiastic about this. However, just to be clear, this is not a study of tech skills, just attitudes to skills. I suggest that Australians not wanting to code mobile apps for startups shows good common sense. Your chance of earning a living this way is minimal and it is the 21st century equivalent of sewing t-shirts in a sweat shop.

Similar points to the InfoSys stydy were made by Brandenburg, Taboadela  and Vancea (2015) in describing the ERASMUS Impact Study. Employers wanted graduates who could work in multi-national teams and solve problems.

It is useful to have a grounding in STEM and business skills. But working in a start-up is much like putting all your money on a roll of the dice (except you have about ten times the chance of winning at dice). A job in a large company, with a regular pay-check is not to be turned down lightly.

Last year ANU started offering IT students the option of a start-up for their group project. Students still have the option of doing a software development project for an existing company, or government agency, but they can instead opt to start their own business. This is called "ANU TechLauncher" and works with the existing "Innovation ACT" business planning competition for Canberra's university students.

A start-up project as part of education, I suggest, is a useful learning experience so the students can experience failure in a safe environment. This is, in effect, a real world version of the fictional Kobayashi Maru test of Star Trek, where Starfleet Academy cadets are faced with a no-win situation. The chances of the student's start-up project succeeding are about 1 in 100.

Having mentored winning Innovation ACT start-up teams for a few years and assessed TechLuancher students, what struck me was that the skills they learn are just as applicable in large organizations. If you are doing IT in a large organization then you need to know how to plan, cost and pitch a project (and fail most of the time). To that end I have starting producing mobile based e-learning to help with this.


Brandenburg, U., Taboadela, O., & Vancea, M. (2015). Mobility Matters: the ERASMUS Impact Study. International Higher Education, (82), 5-7. Retrieved from

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Open Access Identifiers for Australian Researchers

Australia's most effective open access advocate, Arthur Sale, Emeritus Professor of Computer Science at University of Tasmania, has circulated a document to help academics implement ORCID Open Access Identifiers for Australian Researchers, entitled "Everyone needs an ORCID" on the Australian Open Access Support Group discussion list:
All academics, all researchers, and all librarians should have an ORCID. It is an essential part of keeping track of your identity as you publish material, get grants, and gain impact, and it is an open process (not proprietary). The following outlines what an ORCID is, why you need one and why you should populate the ORCID database, and suggests what all Open Access advocates should do about ORCIDs.

You need to keep all your research publications and datasets linked and identified to you. If you ever change employment you will quickly realize the value of this. Commercial systems such as ScopusID, Researcher ID and LinkedIn are also inadequate as they are proprietary. People whose names are very common (like Robert Smith, John White, Nguyen T) will especially find an ORCID invaluable. At the time of writing, ORCID had issued close to 2 million IDs worldwide. ...
  1. Every academic staff member and volunteer in your university should have an ORCID. Pressure your VC and DVC (Research). Automation can help.
  2. No academic person should be appointed unless they have or register an ORCID before taking up the position, as a condition of appointment and registered in the staff database. Ideally, the requirement should be noted in the position description and the data should accompany the application.
  3. Every PhD candidate in the university should also be required to gain an ORCID as a component of the confirmation process.
  4. The ORCID should be included in every email signature in the university... 
  5. The ORCID should be cited in all communications regarding the person in relation to research or publication, especially grant applications. It should be associated with all publications and datasets. The QR code may be used on print publications, but in email and websites the URL is preferred. In particular, the performance evaluation form should require a field for the staff member’s ORCID.
  6. Members of the university should be required to commit to populating their ORCID records with new publications, grants, alternative names, etc. They should also link their ScopusID and Researcher IDs to the ORCID. This can be automated. ... 
From "Everyone needs an ORCID", by Arthur Sale
Also Dr Danny Kingsley, Head of Scholarly Communications at University of Cambridge will be speaking on "Open Access: Putting an octopus into a string bag" at University of Bedfordshire (UK), 17 February 2016. Danny uses the metaphor of an Octopus to describe the difficulty of dealing with the many aspects publications policy at universities.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Digital Dividend from Analogue Investment

The World Bank (2016) released their "World Development Report" on 12 January. The Report concludes that maximizing the benefits of ICT requires "analogue" measures of accountability, support business, good governance and investment in education and health. Here I focus on the education aspects of the report.

Sector 2  of the report is headed "Education" but this is mentioned through the report (World Bank, p. 146, 2016). Sector 2 starts by pointing out that there was little evidence to show that providing laptops to children improves education:

"The One Laptop per Child project in Peru provided hundreds of thousands of pieces of low-cost computing equipment to students in rural schools. But early research found no evidence of increased learning in math or language. 1 This is one high-profile example of the difficulties faced in introducing hardware-centric educational technology projects conceived in highly developed environments into less developed places without sufficient attention to local contexts." (World Bank, p. 146, 2016)

While I agree that there is little evidence that the OLPC project improved children's literacy or math skills, this was not the aim of the project:
"The mission of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child." From: OLPC Mission.
While OLPC claimed to be an education project, it really was not: it was a technical hardware project, to design a low cost rugged computer, deliver it to children and hope somehow this would "empower" their learning. Not surprisingly, like other such "build it and they will come" hardware projects, the project failed to deliver improved education. What perhaps is surprising is that One Education, a Sydney based organization is now attempting to repeat this process: building a low cost laptop computer called the Infinity Kids Laptop/Tablet.

The report cites more positively an "SMS Story" project in
Papua New Guinea (World Bank, p. 146, 2016). This sent short text messages with teaching tips for teachers. In my reading of the literature about "open" and on-line education for developing nations, I notice that many of the success stories involve in-service teacher training. This could be partly because teachers provide a literate, motivated and easy to teach, cohort of students. Also teacher training is seen as a worthwhile investment for national development and a way to leverage investment in education. This is supported by OECD research, indicating the most effective way to improve education is with better trained (and paid) teachers.
raising teacher quality is a more effective measure to improve student outcomes - See more at:

A major failing of the Report is that it sees on-line education as outside the formal system. There is no mention of e-learning or distance education as part of of formal education, just "online education" and MOOCs as a informal supplement.
It is suggested "Training in advanced ICT skills can also be provided less systematically, and outside of the formal education system. ... through accredited massive open online courses (MOOCs)" (World Bank, p. 268, 2016).

The Khan Academy is highlighted as a "A supplemental educational resource in and outside the classroom" (World Bank, p. 263, 2016). Khan Academy was seen as useful for basic procedural skills, not deeper learning.

The terms "e-learning",  "distance education" and "open university" do not appear at all in this Report. The result could be that digital education initiatives will fail, for the same reason as the OLPC did: they do not fit with the infrastructure, goals and objectives of the education system. It is possible that a digital education revolution will overtake existing education systems, but such revolutions have so far failed. On-line education evolved from old paper based distance education, and run by existing educational institutions, is not as exciting as new startups, but may have more of a future.

The report is 359 pages (10.6 Mbytes PDF) and clearly is not intended to be read by those on low bandwidth links with small hand-held devices. ;-)


World Bank. (2016). World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends. Washington, DC: World Bank. doi:10.1596/978-1-4648-0671-1. Relieved from

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

European Master of Education in Distance Education by Distance Education

Athabasca University is now offering its Master of Education (M. Ed.) in Distance Education, to residents of Eastern Europe, through the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology in Greece. This is an on-line program, with no residential component (although Greece is worth a visit). The program is accredited in Greece and so accepted across the EU. The course fees are about one quarter those for international students (like me) studying directly through Athabasca and less than the domestic fees for Canadians. It should be noted that an EU citizen is "... entitled to study at any EU university ..." and "... cannot be required to pay higher course fees". Applications close 15 July 2016.

Globalization of Higher Education

In his 2005 paperJohn Aubrey Douglass is skeptical of the idea that opening up of services (of which higher education is a form) combined with e-learning will cause a "revolution" in international higher education. Working against this revolution, Douglass (p. 11, 2005) lists seven countervailing forces:

1. Wealth and Stability of Developed Nations 

Douglass (p. 11, 2005) points out that "... Advanced economies all have advanced systems of higher education ..." and developing nations "... have lower rates of access to higher education and have higher rates of students traveling to foreign soil to attend a university. ...". The author also points to the correlation between between countries with political and economic stability and the quality higher education. However, these I suggest, are correlations and not necessarily apply in all cases.

Developing nations have been able to build hi-tech industries with help from developed nations and then go on to rival them. In some cases the developed nations lack of democracy might be seen as an advantage by investors, removing the political uncertainty of election cycles. Many developed nations have invited universities from developed nations to set up satellite and joint campuses with local institutions.

2. Balance of Demand and Supply

Douglass (p. 11, 2005), points out that demand is outstripping supply of HE in China, with the government encouraging outside providers. In contrast the USA has a balance of supply and demand. But I did not understand how this would hinder globalisation. If China follows the same path with education as it has with industrial manufacturing (such as for electronics), it will first try to compete on price, offering education of a lower quality but also a much lower price than US institutions. This will stimulate demand at the low end of the market. Chinese institutions can then steadily improve the quality of the product until it is equal to mainstream US institutions.

China does not need to rival the most elite US institutions, in order to make this a profitable venture. Also China need not provide the service in the same way as US institutions and can use US institutions to retail the service. This might be termed "Walmart Education": while Walmart is considered a quintessentially American company, its products come primarily from China, through a China based distribution system. This model is now being applied to education in Australia by Torrens University Australia.

Torrens was admitted to the Australian National Register of higher education providers in July 2012, as an "Australian University", but as described in their Study Assist entry, is part of Laureate International Universities. A search of Torrens Staff on LinkedIn lists less than one hundred people. In comparison, LinkedIn lists more than 4,000 current staff for the University of Adelaide. While Adelaide has 25,000 students and Torrens only a few hundred, there is no requirement for Torrens to employ any more staff in Australia, as it could instead provide the tutoring via its international affiliates.

3. Nation/State Regulation and Initiatives

Douglass (p. 12, 2005) claims that the "vast majority of HE reform is coming not from entrepreneurial efforts of institutions, but from government regulatory initiatives". However, this does not take into account that many of these initiatives are designed to impose market forces on existing institutions. Also the national regulations may be outpaced by any international trade agreement. An agreement on free trade in services which includes education will require nations to allow offshore institutions to compete on an equal basis.
4. Local Culture and Needs

Douglass (p. 12, 2005) points out that China requires foreign universities to partner with local ones, clearly with the intention of building up local capabilities, at least to provide the local market indigenously, if not to also compete internationally.  The author claims, vaguely, that the UK shows "...  strong cultural biases ...".  That argument may well have been made about the UK car industry in the late 20th Century. However, in 1994 the Rover Group was sold to BMW, ending British-owned volume car production. Iconic British cars, including Bentley and Rolls-Royce are now foreign owned, but this has not harmed sales.

Douglass (p. 13, 2005) cites the examples of the University of Phoenix, which failed in the UK market and UK Open University, which failed in the US. However, this may simply reflect poor marketing on the part of these institutions, for failing to add a veneer of localization over their imported product.

In mid 2015 Torrens University Australia acquired the Chifley Business School, which was set up by the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) in 1989 to provide postgraduate vocational qualifications. This is similar to the way VW and BMW  acquired UK luxury car brands to broaden the appeal of their products.

Another approach car companies use could be applied here: first design the product for international requirements, then tailor it for local markets. As Douglass (p. 12, 2005) points out, some courses need considerable localization (such as accounting and tax law), but students are likely to respond favorably to courses which offer a global perspective.

5. Local Academic Culture

Douglass (p. 14, 2005) argues that university academics fearful of the loss of academic integrity tend to create semi-independent entities for tasks such as "extension" programs and this can be used for new international and on-line programs. In this way the author argues, the cultural changes implied by new forms of education will be kept isolated from the core university. This may be the case, but I can't see how it is particularly relevant to international education. Universities could retain their main campus and conduct research and education there. This would be a useful form of marking, giving prestige to their mostly on-line and satellite campus delivered products. This would be similar to the way Rolls-Royce emphasize the hand crafted finish provided on their vehicles in a UK, rather than the mass production of the mechanical components in BMW's German factories.

6. Internet Promoting Local Products Globally 

Douglass (p. 15, 2005) argues the "... investment required in order to develop a high quality academic course online, or even a hybrid course (mostly online, with some actual physical meeting of student and instructor) is relatively high". The author does not say relative to what, but presumably face-to-face courses. They go on to say this is because "... software for online courses (including commercial producers like Blackboard) is relatively difficult and primitive". This has not been my experience.

Use of learning management system software can be frustrating, but designing a course does not require a "significant amount of programming" as Douglass (p. 15, 2005) suggests, nor a "team of professionals" to maintain content. I can manage to design, maintain and deliver courses, with occasional help from support personnel. The difference I suggest is that I have been trained in how to design courses and, in particular, how to design on-line courses. Also I have undertaking the training in how to use the software.

The problem, I suggest, is that university academics usually receive little training in how to design courses. This deficiency is much more apparent with on-line courses than face-to-face ones. It is not that it is harder to design an on-line course, just harder to cover up a badly designed one.

US Higher Education is Not Typical Internationally

After the countervailing forces, Douglass (p. 16, 2005) looks at the case of the USA. But as Douglass (p. 16, 2005) notes "The US lacks anything like a central ministry setting policy and funding for HE as in most other countries". Given that the USA is atypical, it is not clear why the author chooses only this country to study.

Douglass (p. 19, 2005) notes, not surprisingly, that "... specialized schools have the largest percentage of students taking at least one online course", followed by community colleges, vocational/adult learning. The author asks rhetorically if this will be the future pattern in higher education? It would be surprising if it was not, as vocational institutions offering lower level shorter qualifications has been the traditional market for extension eduction and its natural evolution into on-line eduction. Offering on-line courses obviously attracts students who could not attend on-campus courses and the programs therefore need to be designed with such students in mind.

Some years ago I tried "night school" at an Australian university. This was promoted as being design for working people. What I quickly discovered was the only allowance made for for working people were classes at night. There were no special support services provided and none of the administration facilities were open at night. After a couple of weeks I withdrew from the program. Some on-line programs appear to be the equivalent of this and it is not surprising that they are not popular.


Douglass, J. A. (2005). All globalization is local: Countervailing forces and the influence on higher education markets. Center for Studies in Higher Education. Retrieved from

Trade Agreement Opens Australian Universities and TAFES to Online Competition

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement was finalized in October 2015. Australia and eleven other countries, including the USA, Japan, Canada,and Singapore and Malaysia. The agreement comes into force when ratified by all the countries, or 2 years after those with 85% of the GDP sign up. A two page TPP Education Services Fact Sheet (DFAT, 12 October 2015) outlines the implications for education, including on-line courses, by Australian academics working overseas and international students. The most interesting is the way the TPP will open Australian higher education to competition from overseas institutions.

DFAT states:
"Online education presents a growing opportunity to provide greater numbers of students with flexible, high-quality and internationally-recognised skills and qualifications. ... Australian universities and vocational institutions ... will benefit from guaranteed access to most TPP markets ...". 

However, it should be noted that such arrangements are usually reciprocal, implying that universities and vocational institutions in the 12 countries will be able to offer on-line courses to Australian students. It will be interesting to see if Australian students studying at overseas institutions will receive the same access to HECS-HELP Student Loans, as at domestic campuses. Also it will be interesting to see how overseas institutions are accredited, to be the equivalent of Australian universities, and training organizations.

Limiting access to student loans, or limiting accreditation may be seen as a restriction of trade and illegal under the TPP. Australia has much stricter rules about what can be called a "university" than other countries. If overseas "universities" can market to Australian students, they will have an advantage over local institutions which cannot be called a university.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Future of Education is in the Clouds

The Information Age article "Blue skies or thunderstorms - what is the future for education?" reports on a Consumer Electronic Show (CES) panel session on transforming education. Part of this I agree with: "... employers value competency based advise ... MOOCs have been over-hyped ... credentials were the way of the future...". The article departed from reality at that point, when it suggested that students were not interested in "... finishing an entire course ...". Try telling a student they should stop now as they have learned enough and not bother graduating. They likely response is "I invested tens of thousands of dollars and years of my life in this and I want my my qualification!"

The article quotes ACS CEO Andrew Johnson as saying “The US is a bellwether for Australia ...". I disagree: the USA has a very different education system to Australia (and most of the world). The USA can't be taken of as an indication of what will, or should happen in Australia, or elsewhere, with education.

Johnson is reported to have also said:
"What we are hearing from policy commentators at CES is that all new net job growth in the US comes from new businesses and start-up firms, while there is a growing trend towards self-employment. "
This is confirmed by Australian research, with job creation by start-ups, while old firms shed jobs. This has implications for education, but I suggest not as drastic as Johnson suggests:
"This will have significant implications for education models to identify the knowledge and skills needs that are aligned with career aspirations,"  continued.
"Not all education institutions will be able to focus on preparing for students for the traditional firm of an industrialised era.”
For the last few years I have been mentoring winning teams of Canberra university students learning innovation and preparing business plans for the start-up competition "Innovation ACT". Last year, students were able to do this as part of their IT degree, through the ANU Techlauncher Program. In thinking about this (and in preparing some m-learning innovation materials for the students), it struck me how many of the "start-up" skills are also applicable to jobs in large corporations, government agencies and research organizations. It is not just in start-ups that students need to learn to structuring and communicating an idea, to work in teams and to make estimates.

"Millennial" students are no different in what they want from education. Students want an education which will advance their careers. Vocational training organizations have been better at responding to these needs than universities.

Much of this learning can be done on-line and so I suggest the future of Higher Education is not blue sky, or thunderstorms, it is in "the Cloud". ;-)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Making Teaching More Professional

In "Teachers are leaving the profession – here’s how to make them stay" (The Conversation, argues that attrition rates for school teachers are "worryingly high", but then contradicts this by saying attrition rates "aren’t necessarily higher than rates in other professions". This later point is supported by estimates that 80% of teaching graduates register as teachers. This is a high retention rate, compared to professions such as the law, where only about half go on to practice.

McKinnon comments that "the Commonwealth contributes around A$40,000 to train one future teacher in a four year undergraduate degree". An alternative approach, I suggest, is for students to undertake a degree in the subject area they are to teach (at their own expense) and then a diploma or masters in teaching (with possible subsidies as an incentive). As an example, the University of Canberra (UC) and the Australian National University (ANU) offer a vertical double degree for science teaching, with a a Bachelor of Science (BSc) from ANU and Master of Teaching (MTeach) from UC.

McKinnon suggests that more teachers will be needed, as student numbers increase, or class sizes will increase. However, there is little evidence to suggest that large classes adversely impact student learning. Also the idea of a "class" is being rendered obsolete by technology. Within ten years, I suggest, students will undertake most of their formal academic education on-line. Teachers will be needed to guide the students, particularly younger students, but will not teach in the old fashioned "chalk and talk" sense.

McKinnon points out specialist teacher shortages in regional and remote areas, but offers no solution. Team teaching, with a local generalist teacher and an on-line specialist teacher, is already used for this in some parts of Australia. I suggest this is likely to become the norm nationwide, within ten years.

McKinnon  suggests teachers do need support and mentoring, but does not suggest how to provide this. I suggest this is something which should be to from the profession, not imposed by an employer, or government. Professional bodies have a key role in professional development. As an example, I am a member of the Australian Computer Society which has a mentoring scheme, professional development scheme (with free activities for members and an on-line system to track your CPD hours) and on-line postgraduate courses. The IEEE, which I am also a member of, has a new on-line system for collaborating with peers. Such systems are not cheap or easy to develop (even for technical societies with high membership fees). Teachers should take the initiative to introduce such schemes, rather than leave it to government and employers.

Also, I suggest, teachers can be trained to deal with issues of excessive administrative, teaching, pastoral care and extra curricula activities. We need to train teachers to be professionals who prioritize the use of their time. Teachers can learn to use time saving techniques, including on-line administration, teaching and assessment tools, to cut down some of the burden.

Teachers need to learn that standing in front of the class talking is not the most important, or most productive, use of their time, nor is manually marking tests on paper, or writing copious comments on assignments. These are bad habits which teachers need to learn to break: they may make the teachers and parents feel good, but they do not provide students with the best education. More importantly, teachers need the training to be confident in make and defend decisions as to what is worth doing and what is not.

Are Malaysian Universities Performing Poorly?

Murray Hunter asks "Why Malaysian universities are performing poorly" (OnLine Opinion, 11 January 2016). He notes that Malaysian universities do not rank well in regional or global scales, such as QS World University Ranking. I checked the latest rankings and found the top ranking Malaysian institution was Universiti Malaya at 146, then another four in the top 400 and two in the top 1,000. This does not appear such a bad result to me. Singapore has only two, although they rate higher that Malaysia (NUS at 12 and NTU at 13).

Hunter dismissed a suggestion by Dr. Kamarudin Hussin, VC of Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) that the rankings favor established universities. I checked Malaysia's ranking on a slightly different and more progressive ranking system, the Raking Web of Universities (RWU) This lists 118 Malaysian institution (many are "colleges" rather than universities and also campuses of overseas institutions). University of Malaya comes top, as it did in QS. The RWU lists 11,898 institution,whereas the QS stops ranking at 701. UM's ranking of 461 in RWU is there a good result. The RWU places more emphasis on factors such as the university's web presence, which perhaps reflects Malaysian institution's better ranking than on QS.

Hunter suggests that the poor performance of Malaysian universities  is due to a lack of academic freedom and expenditure on non-academic items. However, he had already commented that universities in countries with authoritarian governments had done well in the QS rankings. Also allegations of lavish entertaining and trips by university staff are not confined to Malaysia.

Hunter suggests Malaysian universities are "dominated by vice chancellors who are intent on micromanaging their universities". This is not a new complaint about universities world wide, nor is his proposed solution: "re-organize Malaysian public universities from the top down". However, if the problem is micromanaging from the top, then I suggest any top down approach will likely make matters worse, rather than better.

Universities are not top-down organizations and VCs do not really run them. Universities are made up of semi-autonomous units which do the real work. A university is similar to a corporation with multiple business units, or a country which is a federation of states (as Malaysia is). There is a delicate balancing act, as to what functions are administrated centrally at a university and what is left to a policy which the parts administer themselves. This also applies at the national level, with government administering some aspects of universities centrally and leaving other aspects to policy. An example is the way quality of research and teaching is set, either through direct setting of standards, or encourager through grants.

Malaysian Universities QS Rankings









Malaysia in Raking Web of Universities

RankingWorld Ranksort descendingUniversityDet.Presence Rank*Impact Rank*Openness Rank*Excellence Rank*
University of Malaya
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Universiti Putra Malaysia
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia / National University of Malaysia
Universiti Teknologi MARA / MARA University of Technology
Universiti Tenaga Nasional
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia

Friday, January 8, 2016

Open Researcher Identifier Launch in Canberra

ORCID are launching their Australian effort for globally standardized open IDs for tracking researcher's publications, at a free event in Canberra on 15 February 2016. See also "Breaking the myths of scholarly credit".
ORCID is an open, non-profit, community-driven effort to create and maintain a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers. ORCID is unique in its ability to reach across disciplines, research sectors and national boundaries. It is a hub that connects researchers and research through the embedding of ORCID identifiers in key workflows, such as research profile maintenance, manuscript submissions, grant applications, and patent applications.  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Expertise As Well as Equipment Needed for Productivity

Shahiduzzaman, Kowalkiewicz, Barret and Briggs conclude their analysis of the productivity of IT in Australia by saying: "... IT investment is not enough to make a positive
change to Australia’s economic performance. Knowing how to efficiently and effectively use IT capital requires the development of organisational, managerial and individual capabilities.". The authors seem to have misunderstood what IT is: it is not just computers and telecommunications equipment, IT also encompasses the skills in applying this to business and human aspects of making use of that equipment. IT professionals spend much of their time working out what the businesses does and how it can do it better with IT.

Many executives make the mistake of thinking they can simply buy IT from someone and then apply it to their business. But it is that application which is the hard bit. Computing students also tend to make this mistake: they will design what they think is the perfect computer program and are surprised when they see it does not work in practice, because people do not behave the way they expected.

One field where the productivity of IT is hotly debated is education. A question often asked is: "Students have laptops, tablets and smart phones, so why aren't they learning better?". Chen, Seilhamer, Bennett and Bauer (2015) conclude that "... students and instructors need technical, logistical, and pedagogical support for integrating mobile devices and apps." It may seem obvious that just giving students computers will not make them educationally useful, but it is a lesson the education system (and governments funding it) have to keep learning. Similarly CEOs and, worryingly, CIOs seem to forget they need skilled IT professionals for IT to be productive.


Chen, B., Seilhamer, R., Bennett, L. & Bauer, S. (June 2015). Students' Mobile Learning Practices in Higher Education: A Multi-Year Study. EduCause. Retrieved from


Shahiduzzaman, M., Kowalkiewicz, M., Barret, R., & Briggs, A. (December 2015). Technology investment is not enough: Growing Australia's productive digital economy. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Australia.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What Takes Ten Minutes at UNE?

The University of New England has an advertisement on this blog which says: "Get a free on-line analysis of your personality and the careers that best fit you ... It takes ten minutes to do and your report is sent to you immediately." This looks a bit of pop psychology. I am not permitted to click on it under Google's advertising rules, so can't see what the test looks like.

CFP International Conference on Computer Science and Education in Japan August 2016

The call for papers has been issued for the 11th International Conference on Computer Science and Education (ICCSE2016). This is to be held 23-25 August 2016 at Nagoya University, Japan
(Satellite site, 23 August 2016, University of Fukui, Koyoto City). Submissions are due by 1 May 2016. I attended ICCSE 2013, 2014 and 2015 and hope to be at 2016. Also if anyone knows of any education or IT conferences in Japan or nearby I could attend at the same time, that would be good. Last year I attended ICOFE 2015 in Hong Kong on the way to ICCSE, but this year ICOFE 2016 is earlier and ICCSE later.

ICCSE2016: The 11th International Conference on Computer Science and Education

Call for Papers

August 23-25, 2016: Nagoya University, Japan
Satellite site:  August 23, 2016. University of Fukui (Koyoto City).

Important Dates

Submission deadline: May 1, 2016
Decision Notification: June 15, 2016
Final Versions and Author Registration: July 1, 2016
Conference Dates:  August 23-25, 2016


The 11th International Conference on Computer Science and Education will be held in Nagoya University, Japan from August 23 to 25, 2016. The conference is organized by the National Research Council of Computer Education in Colleges & Universities, China (CRC-CE) and technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Nagoya, Japan Section.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Toshio Fukuda PHD, Robotics, Meijo University Japan, Beijing Institute of Technology, Nagoya University.

Mr. Iwao Nakayama, Evangelist, Softbank Co Ltd.

Evening Talks

Dr. Hirofumi Seo, CEO & President at SCIEMENT, Inc.

The proceedings of ICCSE 2016 will be included in the IEEE Conference Publication Program (CPP) and be published through IEEE Xplore. The past proceedings of ICCSE have been indexed by EI. For Ei/ISI Proceeding indexing timetable please refer to the past ICCSEs in the conference site. 

Topics of interest include, but not limited to:

Annual Selected Topics
  • Big Data and Time Series
  • Mobile Information Technology
  • Disaster Prevention
  • Displays 4k/8k, 3D, e-paper
  • Informatics in Social Medicine
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Information Security
  • Forms and Fundamental Fields
  • Mechatronics
  • Automation & Robotics
  • Bio-inspired Engineering
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Uncertainty Quantification
  • Biomedical engineering
Engineering Education
  • Education Reform and Innovation
  • Engineering Education Mode
  • Curricula and Courseware Design
  • Engineering Training
  • Life-long education
  • Computer Education for Special Groups
Computer Science
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software Engineering
  • Database Technology
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computer Application
  • Control Technology
  • Systems Engineering
  • Communication Technology

Submission of Papers

Authors should submit the full version of their manuscripts online through the conference submission system at 

All materials must be written in English

The submitted manuscripts should contain sufficient details including key concepts and novel features of the work, and must be formatted according to IEEE’s Two-Column Format for Conference Proceedings and be no longer than 6 pages including all texts, references, appendices, and figures. Templates are available at the conference website. The submissions should be in PDF format which is IEEE PDF eXpress compliant. To ensure submissions are suitable for ICCSE, authors are strongly recommended to first review the papers published by previous ICCSEs.

Special Issue for Control and Intelligent Systems

ICCSE will select about twelve papers with further enhancement, to submit to the journal, published by ACTA press, which can be indexed by EI.

Invited Sessions:

Proposals for invited sessions in the related areas are also solicited and should be submitted through email to Invited Session Chair, Dr. Wenxing Hong via Email:

Conference Venue: Nagoya University, Japan
Sponsors:  IEEE Nagoya, Japan Section
National Research Council of Computer Education in Colleges & Universities, China (CRC-CE) 
Nagoya University, Japan
University of Fukui


ANU Students Cut City Air Pollution Using ICT

Air pollution has been exceeding recommended levels, not just in Beijing and New Delhi, but also in Sydney. Solving this problem might make a suitable project for my ICT Sustainability students, who start 15 February 2016 at the Australian National University. Normally they estimate carbon dioxide pollution from a single company and suggest how to reduce it. But the same techniques are applicable to other pollutants and on a city-wide scale. Students might like to research this in more depth as well so I created it as a project topic:

Cut City Air Pollution Using ICT

Student research topic at the ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science

Air pollution has been exceeding recommended levels, not just in Beijing and New Delhi, but also in Sydney. This project will investigate using the ICT Sustainability techniques usually used for carbon dioxide pollution from a single company and apply them to other pollutants on a city-wide scale. There are many ways to use ICT to reduce pollution in theory, but the problem is in how to get people to use them in practice. This project therefore emphasizes the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) aspects: applying knowledge of human behavior so people can use, and want to use, technology which cuts pollution.
Some techniques, discussed in Worthington (2011) to reduce pollution are:
  1. Dematerialisation: use computers instead of physical goods. For example, replace traveling to meetings with teleworking.
  2. Smart Motor Systems: More efficient computer controlled motors to reduce energy use.
  3. Smart Logistics: More efficient good delivery to reduce truck use. These techniques might be used for example, for a parcel service using hybrid or electric trucks. Also an Uber-type service with electric vehicles could reduce pollution from private cars.
  4. Smart Buildings: Computer control of buildings to reduce energy use. This is normally thought of being applied to large corporate buildings and new apartment blocks, but increasingly can be applied to smaller, older, buildings.
  5. Smart Grids: Computer controlled electricity system to more efficiently use power, especially renewable energy. An example is Dr Lachlan Blackhall's Reposit Power in Fishwick. 


Worthington, T. (2011). ICT Sustainability: Assessment and strategies for a low carbon future. Retrieved from  

Australian Entrepreneurs Are Thirtysomething Male Graduates in Sydney

The "Startup Muster 2015 Report" shows that Australian startups are small businesses, made up of business people who outsource their IT. Perhaps there are opportunities for IT start-ups to specifically service other start-ups (an old saying is that to get rich in a gold rush sell shovels). Also there would appear to be a need for my innovation course so IT and business people, can work better together.

Startup Muster published their survey of entrepreneurs and startups in December 2015. The typical person surveyed (and presumably the typical Australian entrepreneur) is male (76%), has a postgraduate qualification (41.2%), is aged 30 to 35 (23.8%), born in Australia (62%). They had no previous startup experience (50%), were  previously employed in the technology field (27%). They went into a startup due to dissatisfaction with their job (33.3%).

The typical startup is in Sydney (44%) and was started in 2014 (48%). The business is abut B2B (29.1%) marketing (12.9%). The team of two people (39%) is working part time (51%) and have business skills (80.4 %) but are working on software development (72%). The team outsources (69%) its software development (64.2%) to Australia (50%). The team does not use an accelerator or incubator (75%), but they have a mentor (63%).

Monday, January 4, 2016

Repayment of Student Loans by Australians Overseas

From 1 January 2016, Australians with student loans  are required to make repayments while living overseas. The Australian Taxation Office will collect the payments. Previously students did not need to make repayments unless they lived in Australia. This is expected to recover a modest $150M over ten years.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Europe and the Internationalisation of Higher Education

The Internationalisation of Higher Education is a 326 page  report for the European Parliament (de Wit, Hunter and Egron-Polak, 2015). After setting the context, discussing the evidence for the internationalization of education, the report considers the major issue of digital learning. There are then chapters on ten European nations, plus Australia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Malaysia, South Africa and the USA. The future is then discussed. Trends identified include, not surprisingly, internationalisation of the curriculum and delivery with digital technology and increased privatization for revenue generation.

The report singles out FutureLearn, iversity and
Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) as examples of digital learning. These are UK, German and Spanish initiatives. Unfortunately the report appears to conflate on-line learning with MOOCs, ignoring decades of experience with traditional distance education delivered on-line. The report devotes only four out of more than three hundred pages to e-learning, the most significant issue for international higher education. The assumption seems to be that this is something for nation states to decide on, in the shaping their education policy. However, I suggest nations will have little say in the development of e-learning and therefore the direction of international education.
In the mid nineteen nineties western nations formulated telecommunication and media policies which ignored the Internet and as a result those policies were rendered irrelevant. This report assumes that nations can decide how their citizens undertake higher education, ignoring the role of the Internet. With an Internet connection, citizens can vote with their credit cards and take their education wherever they want.

The report states "In many countries, the rationale for international student recruitment is revenue generation and this may lead to an over-reliance on a small number of countries such as China and India." (de Wit, Hunter and Egron-Polak, p. 47, 2015). The report goes on to contrast this with Germany's free tuition for international students. what is curious is that while China and, to a lesser extent India, are mentioned repeatedly through the report as a source of international students, there is no section devoted to China or India. Apart from digital learning, what happens with China and India is the key question for international education. How long before their requirements for education can be met domestically and they start to offer competitively priced courses to international students?

The section on "Australia" is by Dennis Murray and Betty Leask (p. 191). This discusses Australia's unified higher education system, but is incorrect in saying there are  38 public and 3 private, independent, self-governing universities and HEIs. This omits the dozens of government Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutions and thousands of private ones. The report notes consequence of Australia’s implementation of an Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS), along the lines of the European Diploma Supplement. Essentially the Australian approach is to follow the Bologna Process, to attract Asian, full fee paying students. The Australian Government's New Colombo Plan' (NCP) is also mentioned, but to describe it as "a signature initiative of the current Australian Government aimed at promoting knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduate study, internships, mentorships, work placements and research in the region." (p. 195) is overstating its role.

The authors have also written extensively for the open access journal International Higher Education (IHE).
A study on the understanding of Internationalisation of Higher Education in the European context, based on two surveys, an analysis of the role of digital learning, ten national reports from Europe and seven from outside Europe. The study results in conclusions and recommendations on the future of  Internationalisation of Higher Education in Europe, based on the national reports and a Delphi process among experts in international higher education. ...

Ten key developments for Europe and the rest of the world are identified in the study:
  1. Growing importance of internationalisation at all levels (broader range of activities, more strategic approaches, emerging national strategies and ambitions);
  2. Increase in institutional strategies for internationalisation (but also risks of homogenisation, focus on quantitative results only);
  3. Challenge of funding everywhere;
  4. Trend towards increased privatisation in IoHE through revenue generation;
  5. Competitive pressures of globalisation, with increasing convergence of aspirations, if not yet actions;
  6. Evident shift from (only) cooperation to (more) competition;
  7. Emerging regionalisation, with Europe often seen as an example;
  8. Numbers rising everywhere, with challenge of quantity versus quality;
  9. Lack of sufficient data for comparative analysis and decision-making;
  10. Emerging areas of focus are internationalisation of the curriculum, transnational education and digital learning.

1.1. Introduction 41
1.2. International dimensions: an historical perspective 41
1.3. Understanding and enacting internationalisation 45
1.4. Influences and interests in internationalisation 54
1.5. Europe and internationalisation 56
1.6. Concluding remarks 58
2.1. Introduction 59
2.2. IAU 4th Global Survey on Internationalisation of Higher Education 60
2.3. The EAIE Barometer: Internationalisation in Europe 61
2.4. Institutional policy/strategy 62
2.5. Benefits of internationalisation 63
2.6. Drivers of internationalisation 65
2.7. Values and principles referenced in internationalisation policy/strategy 68
2.8. Risks and challenges of internationalisation 69
2.9. Geographic priorities for internationalisation 71
2.10. Priority internationalisation activities and funding 74
2.11. Priority activities 74
2.12. Conclusions: Internationalisation as a key policy focus 75
3.1. Introduction 77
3.2. Bologna, EHEA and mobility 78
3.3. Beyond mobility 78
3.4. The digital divide 79
3.5. 'Opening up Education' 80
3.6. The problem with virtual mobility 80
3.7. Beyond Brussels: FutureLearn, iversity and Universitat Oberta de Catalunya 81
3.8. Looking to the future 82
4.1. Introduction 85
4.2. A short description of the Finnish higher education system 85
4.3. European programmes and policies for internationalisation: an important initial stimulus 87
4.4. The national policy perspective: the Ministry of Education and Culture as key player 87
4.5. Other key stakeholders and funding schemes for internationalisation: CIMO, cities, and regions 89
4.6. An emerging profile for institutions in strategic planning and policy-making 90
4.7. Key performance indicators: Finnish internationalisation by the numbers 91
4.8. Summary: From margins to mainstream 94
5. FRANCE 97
5.1. Introduction 97
5.2. The French higher education system: universities, schools, research institutes 97
5.3. European and other supranational programmes and policies: collaboration and competition 98
5.4. National policies for internationalisation: a multi-actor, multi-pronged approach, at home and abroad 100
5.5. Other key stakeholders and funding schemes for internationalisation: cities and regions, business and industry 103
5.6. Institutional policies for internationalisation: with greater autonomy, growing strategic capacity 103
5.7. Key performance indicators for French internationalisation: student and staff
mobility 104
5.8. Which way forward? French internationalisation at a crossroads
6. GERMANY 106
6.1. Introduction 107
6.2. The German higher education system: a snapshot 107
6.3. European or other supranational programmes and policies: major impact from the Bologna process and Erasmus 108
6.4. National policies for internationalisation: a focus on excellence, a move from fragmentation to increasing coherence 109
6.5. Other key stakeholders and funding schemes for internationalisation: the DAAD, scientific organisations and foundations 111
6.6. Overview of institutional policies: eight key trends 112
6.7. Key performance indicators of internationalisation: international students in
Germany and German students abroad 113
6.8. The bottom line: significant, multiple and ongoing efforts should have a future — if funding permits 114
7. ITALY 117
7.1. Introduction 117
7.2. A slowly evolving higher education system 117
7.3. European initiatives pushing the modernisation and internationalisation
agenda 119
7.4. National policies for internationalisation driven by the Bologna process 120
7.5. A range of stakeholder initiatives 122
7.6. Institutional strategies for internationalisation: responding to state and market 123
7.7. Key performance indicators of internationalisation: mobility and joint- and
dual-degree programming 124
7.8. Signs of change but still a long way to go 126
8.1. Introduction 127
8.2. The higher education system of the Netherlands 127
8.3. Substantial impacts from European and other supranational programmes 128
8.4. Agenda-setting at the national level 128
8.5. Key stakeholders and funding schemes for education and research 130
8.6. Institutional policies: considerable action, some evaluation and assessment 130
8.7. Key performance indicators 131
9. NORWAY 137
9.1. Introduction 137
9.2. The Norwegian higher education system 137
9.3. Internationalisation and national policy: Nordic, European and global dimensions 138
9.4. Historical and contemporary rationales and directions for the internationalisation of Norwegian higher education 139
9.5. Internationalisation at the institutional level: quality imperatives, funding opportunities, mission alignment 141
9.6. Beyond universities: other key actors involved in the Norwegian internationalisation agenda 143
9.7. Norwegian internationalisation in figures: student mobility and foreign-born faculty 144
9.8. A supportive state, a receptive university community, a realistic agenda 145
10. POLAND 147
10.1. Introduction 147
10.2. Internationalisation – the Polish point of view 147
10.3. The higher education system in Poland: the past and the present 148
10.4. Quality of higher education and the role of internationalisation 148
10.5. Internationalisation at the national level: diffusion of responsibility, with a new national strategy soon to be unveiled 149
10.6. Internationalisation at the regional level—varied approaches, and levels of engagement, by cities and regions 151
10.7. Internationalisation at the institutional level: substantial progress and future opportunities, set against contextual and resource limitations 151
10.8. Mobility and partnerships 153
10.9. Conclusions: a grass-roots success that will require (and deserves) ongoing cultivation 154
11. ROMANIA 157
11.1. Introduction 157
11.2. The Romanian higher education system: massification, internationalisation
and European integration 157
11.3. European programmes and policies: A major influence on the internationalisation of Romanian higher education 159
11.4. National policies for internationalisation: emphasis on mobility and engaging the Romanian diaspora 160
11.5. Institutional policies on internationalisation: European inspiration, local limitations 162
11.6. Key performance indicators: internationalisation of education 163
11.7. Key performance indicators: internationalisation of research 165
11.8. Key challenges, potential opportunities and how the European Union could play a positive role 165
12. SPAIN 167
12.1. Introduction 167
12.2. An evolving higher education system 167
12.3. The strong influence of European programmes and policies on the internationalisation of higher education 169
12.4. Challenges and aspirations of national policies for internationalisation of higher education 169
12.5. A range of key stakeholders and funding schemes for internationalisation 171
12.6. Variations in effectiveness of institutional policies 172
12.7. Upward trend of key performance indicators of internationalisation 172
12.8. Sincere aspirations with room for considerable improvement 17
13.1. Introduction 177
13.2. Higher education system of the United Kingdom: An overview 177
13.3. Supranational programmes: European and global orientations 179
13.4. National policies 179
13.5. Key stakeholders and funding schemes reflect governmental and sector-level interests 180
13.6. Institutional policies: significant diversity coupled with notable trends 182
13.7. Key performance indicators: Mobility, research, TNE and partnerships 183
13.8. Future focus at the national and institutional levels 188
14.1. Introduction 191
14.2. The Australian Higher Education System: A ''unified'' system with substantial diversity 191
14.3. Key regions of engagement and influence: Europe and Asia 192
14.4. National policies 193
14.5. Other key stakeholders and funding schemes: Australian states and cities 197
14.6. Institutional policies: unique models, common themes 197
14.7. Key performance indicators: student mobility and performance, institutional/programme mobility, and economic returns 200
14.8. Moving beyond the mobility and commercial mindset: possibilities and
potential pitfalls 20
15. CANADA 205
15.1. Introduction 205
15.2. Higher Education in Canada: An overview 205
15.3. European and other supranational programmes and policies: catalysts for cooperation and innovation 207
15.4. National policies for internationalisation of education 208
15.5. Other key stakeholders: employers and businesses 210
15.6. Institutional policies, priorities, and challenges 211
15.7. Key performance indicators: mobility and more 213
15.8. The future of internationalisation in Canada: encouraging alignment of key stakeholders and interests
16. COLOMBIA 216
16.1. Introduction 217
16.2. The higher education system in Colombia: multiple players and a heavy reliance on private higher education 218
16.3. European-Colombian co-operation: positive impacts on partnership development and capacity-building 219
16.4. National policies for internationalisation: incipient and relatively marginal, but developing 220
16.5. Other key stakeholders and funding schemes for internationalisation: a focus on accreditation and quality, mobility, and research 222
16.6. Policies at institutional level: Variations across institutional type in planning, implementation, resources, and focus 223
16.7. Key performance indicators: mobility, internationalisation at home, and internationalisation of research 224
16.8. Conclusion. An opportune moment for a more comprehensive national approach 226
17. JAPAN 229
17.1. Introduction 229
17.2. The Japanese higher education system: considerations of capacity and social
demand 229
17.3. Japan and East Asia 230
17.4. National policies for internationalisation: competitive grant-based projects as
the driving force 230
17.5. Other stakeholders: the emerging influence of industry 234
17.6. Institutional responses: the rich get richer? 234
17.7. Key performance indicators of internationalisation: much progress still to be
made 235
17.8. Further challenges: collective learning for comprehensive transformation
18. MALAYSIA 238
18.1. Introduction 241
18.2. Malaysia’s economic agenda and higher education 241
18.3. Malaysia’s higher education system: expansion, privatisation and internationalisation 242
18.4. Internationalisation of higher education policy 243
18.5. International student markets for Malaysia 246
18.6. Europe in the context of internationalisation of Malaysian higher education 249
18.7. Institutional responses to internationalisation 251
18.8. Challenges and opportunities for the future: bold policy initiatives required
19.1. Introduction 253
19.2. Historical development of the South African higher education system 253
19.3. General characteristics of the South African higher education system 254
19.4. International programmes and projects 256
19.5. National policies for the internationalisation of higher education 258
19.6. Internationalisation in practice since 1994 259
19.7. A quantitative picture of internationalisation in South Africa: international students 261
19.8. Conclusion: remarkable transformation, significant regionalisation, and a new national policy on the horizon 262
20.1. Introduction 263
20.2. The US higher education system: diversity and decentralisation 263
20.3. The internationalisation of US higher education: an amalgam of interests, an array of approaches 265
20.4. Issues facing US higher education internationalisation: Outcomes, access, and cost 268
20.5. The future of US higher education internationalisation: innovation and tenacity required 271
21.1. Key trends in higher education strategies for internationalisation 275
21.2. The future of internationalisation of higher education in Europe: commonalities and differences in perceptions emerging from three surveys 280
21.3. Conclusions and recommendations 283


European Parliament. 2015. Hans de Wit, Fiona Hunter, Eva Egron-Polak and Laura Howard (Eds.). Internationalisation of Higher Education. A study for the European Parliament, Brussels. Retrieved from