Tuesday, April 29, 2014

edX MOOC in English and Hindi

The Australian National University's second edX free online coruse (MOOC) "Engaging India" (ANU-INDIA1x) has just commenced. This ios calimed to be the first edX course in two languages (English and Hindi). For the web content the English is followed by the Hindi. For the PDF downloads, there are separate English and Hindi documents. I noticed that the course outline is 175 kbytes for the English version, but 3.2 Mbytes for the Hindi, about eighteen time the size. This is presumably because the fonts for English are built into PDF, but those for Hindi are being included in the PDF file.
Unlike other ANU online courses, this is being conducted using UTC, rather than Canberra time, as suits the international location of the students.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Australian Technical Standards for Online Course Materials

The E-standards Expert Group has issued updated standards for online course materials for the vocational education and training sector in Australia: "VET E-standards for Training" (Department of Industry, 10 April 2014). While aimed at TAFEs and non-government Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), these standards are equally applicable for schools and universities. The standards recommended are not controversial, being commonly used on the web.

What might be less familiar are the formats for packaging educational material, such as IMS Content Packaging (Version 1.1.4) and SCORM 1.2. There will still be difficult decisions to be made, for example, if you have some content, should you package it as an EPUB ebook, IMS or SCORM?

In many cases these standards will not be so important to individual course designers and teachers, as they will have to use what the software provided by their institution supports. However, educators should keep the standards in mind so that their content can be ported more easily from system to system.

In practice I try to use simply formatted web pages for course content. I use HTML in preference to PDF, Powerpoint and DOCX files. This way the content can be converted to other formats as required and can be assembled into e-books and modules, using whichever packaging standard is appropriate.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Triage On-line Students To Reduce Costs

The report from University of Pennsylvania "The Life Cycle of a Million MOOC Users" (Perna,   Ruby,  Boruch, et. al., 5 December  2013) reports that few persist with this form of on-line course and that participants are predominately educated, wealthy  males. This and other recent research contradicts the early claims for MOOCs as a low cost way to bring education to disadvantaged people.

In December last year (at an event to promote some new MOOCs) I suggested that we could expect a backlash against MOOCs in mid 2014. That rethinking of MOOCs is now taking place. Hopefully other forms of e-learning, which are based on decades of experience, will not suffer in the process.

The research about MOOCs does not show anything new: we already had a good idea about who distance education courses were popular with and what they needed to succeed, from previous on-line a and paper based distance education courses. Like previous forms of distance education, MOOCs have a lower completion rate, are popular with those who already have qualifications and some form of tutoring is needed for a large proportion of students.

One approach which might be used is Triage. This is a procedure, applied in emergency medicine, to prioritise treatment for those who it will most befit. Applying this approach to education, students would be divided into three groups:
  1. Students who are likely to complete the course without assistance,
  2. Students who are unlikely to complete, even with help,
  3. Students who will complete only with help.
The education resources would then be devoted to the third group. It may be that some students from the first group can be used to tutor the others.

Conventional courses do apply some form of triage. Courses have entry requirements and some have entrance examinations: students not meeting the entry requirements are not permitted to proceed. Teachers know that they will need to devote most of their efforts to a few students who have difficulties. There may be some form of remedial class to help these students.

This process might be made more explicit with on-line courses. The students could fill in an on-line questionnaire about their experience and qualifications and do an automated test. The student could then be advised which group they fall into. If not suitable for the course, they could be directed to a preparatory course. If likely to complete unaided they would be allowed to enter a MOOC-like course (and perhaps sign up as a tutor for other students). If they are likely to require assistance, the student would be required to pay for tutoring.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Future of Higher Education Funding in Australia

In "Excellence through diversity: Funding flexibility the key", Professor Ian Young (Vice-Chancellor) and Professor Gareth Evans, Chancellor of the Australian National University, discuss possible changes to university funding, in response to the Norton/Kemp report on higher education funding.

Professors Young and Evans point out that Australia has almost achieved 40% university education for young people and ask if the current system serves the students and national objectives. I suggest the current system places too much emphasis on university education for school leavers and not enough on other forms of vocational higher education, better suited to life long learning.

Australia should aim for a widespread participation in Higher Education for its citizens, however most of this should be provided by vocational training institutions, not universities. The normal path for a school leaver should be to gain sufficient vocational qualifications for employment and then consider what further study they need, with the option of university to supplement vocational training.

Professors Young and Evans argue that the fixed funding model for undergraduate courses in Australia constrains innovation in education and results in overcrowded lecture theatres. However they do not mention the main challenge for Australian universities today: transitioning to on-line education. I suggest that within the next five to ten years 80% to 90% of university research and education will be conducted on-line. In my view, any review of education funding and regulation has to remove the disincentives to on-line education for Australia institutions, to allow them to make this transition, or face being put out of business by international competition within ten years.

Professors Young and Evans envision undergraduates working in laboratories and offices with researchers. However, most researchers should not be sitting in offices and labs at a university: they should be out in the field, in hospitals and commercial workplaces, working with the community, government and industry. Our university academics need to be re-skilled for this new work environment, so they can make a contribution to the economy and so they will be equipped to teach students in how to work this way.

Australian students will increasingly have a choice of world class higher education, which does not require them to move countries, or to give up their day job. We need to change the current Australian policy mind-set which sees full time students fresh out of school, with no other commitments, as the typical higher education student. The typical student now has a job and/or family commitments. Students want to study part time and want most of their education and research to be conducted on-line. We need to flip the university, so it is primarily an online resource supporting students and researchers out in the community. If Australia does not do this, our students will simply enrol online elsewhere.

The issue of equity and access to higher education is one I suggest could be best addressed with suitable introductory courses. Students who do not have the necessary academic background need extra help to prepare for university study. This can be provided through vocational higher education institutions, not university courses.

Future of Journalism at China Centre

Caroline Fisher (University of Canberra), Stephen Matchett, (Campus Morning Mail), Matthew Ricketson (University of Canberra) and Lenore Taylor (Guardian Australia) will speak on "Has journalism a future " at the Centre for China in the World, Australian National University in Canberra, 6pm 29 April 2014.
George Brock in Out of Print: Newspapers, Journalism and the Business of News in the Digital Age, commented in 2013 that journalism operates at “the intersection between a social, democratic purpose and the market”. Four distinguished commentators will discuss a wide range of topics impacting on journalism today, including digital futures, social media, financial pressures and the ethics of journalism and politics.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Universities Australia Government Funding Campaign

Universities Australia is running "keep it clever", a
campaign, to lobby the government to support public funding of universities. This has a petition which the public can sign to support public funding. Unfortunately Universities Australia do not make it clear exactly what form of funding they propose, or why this campaign is being run now. Presumably it is in response to the "Report of the Review of the Demand Driven Funding System" by Dr David Kemp and Andrew Norton was released by the Department of Education 14 April 2014.

The Kemp report recommended  TAFEs and commercial  Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) be allowed to compete with universities for government subsidised students. In my view this would be a very good change, provided that universities received separate funding for research, to make up for the resulting reduction in student fees.

Universities Australia can, of course, act as they see fit in the interests of their member universities. However, the form of non-transparent campaign being conducted is more usually seen run by commercial for-profit lobby groups. It is disappointing that Universities Australia has chosen to try to pressure the government by manipulating public opinion in this way. I suggest that Universities Australia should produce a position paper explaining what concerns they have with the Kemp report and what alternatives they propose, then invite public support of those specific proposals. A shallow manipulative marketing campaign does not fit with the role of a university to seek for open access to knowledge.

Our Petition

I believe that investing in our universities is investing in our future. I don't want Australia to be left behind, but I believe that's what will happen without proper, ongoing public investment in our universities.

Our workforce will demand more qualified graduates, our economy will rely on the creation of new companies, industries, jobs and opportunities that can only come from a strong university sector. Highly skilled graduates are what our economy needs to prosper as global competition intensifies.

Australian universities give back to the country in countless ways. University research and innovation continues to put Australia on the world stage, international education is our biggest export besides resources, universities employ over 110,000 people and directly contribute over $23 billion to our GDP. They are an investment in the future.

I call on you to lend this issue bipartisan support and to ensure proper, ongoing public investment in university education and research.

Let the community know that you won't let Australia get left behind.

From  "keep it clever" Petition, Universities Australia, 2014.

Google Glass Demonstration at University of Canberra

The University of Canberra Inspire Centre is hosting a "Canberra Glass Meetup", with a series of international speakers on the use of the prototype "Google Glass" head mounted display.
Speakers include Professor Mark Billinghurst, University of Canterbury, NZ and Rob Manson, CEO, buildAR.com. The event is free and is 5:30pm, 12th May 2014 (there were 12 tickets left when I checked).

My First Impressions of Wearing Google Glass at a demonstration in Canberra in March were not good. I found the physical design of the unit bulky. While it worked well I could not see it having much use in education, apart for vocational education where the student is carrying out a physical task needing both hands.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies

Bruce Fuda, Director of Learning Technologies, Gungahlin College, Canberra is organising a teacher professional development workshop at University of Canberra on 2 to 3 May 2014, to develop resources for the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies. The idea is to help those who will have to teach the new digital curriculum with lessons and learning resources. This is being supported by  the Australian Council of Computers in Education (ACCE) , with resources to be shared nationally. Those who are able to attend and  interested in assisting can fill in the registration form.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Revolution in Australian Higher Education Proposed

The "Report of the Review of the Demand Driven Funding System" by Dr David Kemp and Andrew Norton was released by the Department of Education today (14 April 2014). The most significant of the recommendation in the report is to allow TAFEs and commercial  Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to compete with universities for government subsidised students. In my view this would be a very good change, as it would allow students to select more relevant vocational studies which would help them get a job (and help Australian industry). This will also accelerate the shift from classroom to on-line education, which will allow Australian universities to remain internationally competitive. However, this will also have the effect of reducing funding for university research, which may require some additional government funding.

The funding TAFEs alongside universities may see the reintroduction of a two tier system in Australian university education. Currently universities cross-subsidise their research programs from course tuition fees. Universities are required to undertake research in multiple disciplines and this increases the cost of university courses. TAFEs do not have this research requirement and so will be able to charge lower fees for the same courses.

TAFEs and other RTOs generally have more experience with the delivery of online courses, than do Australian universities. It should prove very attractive for students to be able to enrol in lower cost courses which they can study online and meet the same educational standard. The result may be a rapid expansion of such course offerings and the decimation of on-campus university courses. Such a move should be welcomed, as it will better prepare Australian universities to compete worldwide, as most university programs move to being delivered on-line in the next five to ten years. The alternative would see Australia’s universities suffering the same fate as the automotive industry and being put out of business within ten years, unable to compete for domestic or international students.

Those universities which have their own TAFEs, or an arrangement with a TAFE, may be best placed to respond to any demand from students. A common strategy is likely to be to offer the student the first one year to eighteen months of study at TAFE, a TAFE qualification, then transfer to university with award of a university degree. In my view it would be better for students to first acquire vocationally relevant qualifications, then when they have some work experience and some more maturity, return to tertiary education for further education. Most students would be studying part time, online.

However, the report does not address another anomaly in the funding of Australian Higher Education: grants for postgraduate research degrees. While course-work students are required to repay their student loan, postgraduate research students receive a scholarship which they are not required to repay. Presumably it is considered that the research the student undertakes will be of benefit to the community. However, there is no requirement for students to make their research results available free. Also there is an increased emphasis on vocationally relevant skills for all students. There seems no good reason why research students who are acquiring skills which will help them in a higher paying job should receive free tuition.

The report also  recommends the "University Experience Survey" be extended to cover non-university providers and an improved website be provided to replace MyUniversity. However, I do not share the report's confidence that on its own the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency can prevent sub-standard courses. Also while courses may be of academic merit, there may be no market demand for the skills they provide. I suggest that further measures will be need to prevent the sort of problems which have been experienced in the past in Australia with private higher education providers offering poor quality courses and also the US experience with low completion rates for courses of questionable vocational value. 

The Summary of recommendations from the report (numbering added):
  1. Caps on the number of undergraduate bachelor-level places should not be re-imposed.
  2. All higher education providers should be eligible for Commonwealth supported places when they and relevant courses have been approved by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.
  3. Non-university higher education providers accepting Commonwealth supported places should do so on the same basis as public universities.
  4. Sub-bachelor higher education courses should be included in the demand driven system.
  5. Caps on Commonwealth supported places should be removed from postgraduate courses with a combination of clear community benefit and modest financial rewards. Other postgraduate courses should be offered on an entirely full-fee basis.
  6. Decisions as to whether universities can deliver Commonwealth supported places at new locations should be made according to clear guidelines.
  7. There should be no higher education attainment targets.
  8. The government should not set enrolment share targets for low socio-economic status students.
  9. Higher education enrolment data systems should be updated so that they provide detailed and timely information on enrolment trends.
  10. The Department of Education should re-introduce an annual report on higher education policies and include summary information on performance trends.
  11. The MyUniversity website should be replaced with an improved student information website.
  12. General information on attrition and completion rates by ATAR and for different bases of admission to university should be easily available to prospective students.
  13. The University Experience Survey should be continued and extended to non-university higher education providers.
  14. Maximum per Commonwealth supported place funding rates in engineering and health disciplines should be reviewed in the light of cost pressures.
  15. The HECS-HELP benefit for graduates in designated occupations should be discontinued.
  16. Students at all higher education providers offering HELP loans should be eligible for OS-HELP.
  17. The provider category standards should be reviewed to consider their effects on innovation and competition.
Here is the "Summary of findings" from the report (numbers added):
  1. The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency is a guard against sub-standard courses and institutions in an expanding higher education system.
  2. Active efforts over 20 years to improve teaching in Australian universities have contributed to a steady increase in student satisfaction with teaching. This has continued through the early stages of the demand driven system.
  3. The demand driven system has encouraged technology-based innovation in higher education.
  4. For commencing bachelor-degree students with ATARs below 50 attrition rates are high and have not been improving.
  5. Higher education providers are actively working to identify and better support less adequately prepared students.
  6. Pathway programs successfully prepare students for university study.
  7. The demand driven system has responded effectively to most recent skills shortages.
  8. Universities have responded to increases in aggregate demand with more places. In most fields of education, applicants are more likely to receive an offer. However, there has been only a small increase in the proportion of applicants receiving an offer for their first-preference course.
  9. In professional entry courses, declining employment opportunities have led to fewer tertiary admission centre applications.
  10. The rapid increase in science enrolments is leading to employment problems for graduates.
  11. The demand driven system has had little effect to date on low foreign language enrolments.
  12. The demand driven system is responsible for increased enrolments in higher education by low socio-economic status students.
  13. Low socio-economic status students would benefit from increased access to sub-bachelor courses.
  14. The demand driven system and associated reforms have increased higher education opportunities for people from regional and remote areas.
  15. The demand driven system and associated reforms have increased higher education opportunities for Indigenous Australians.
  16. Women aged 25–34 have already achieved 40 per cent higher education attainment. Given enrolment trends and continued skilled migration, the attainment rate will grow in coming years.
  17. The demand driven system has allowed online education to expand.
  18. A HELP loan fee could help ensure the fiscal sustainability of the demand driven system.

ANU Early Career Academic Retreat

The Australian National University is holding an "ANU Early Career Academic Retreat" for new staff to  June 2014. Other universities hold similar events and they are a good way to meet other new staff and meet some of the university executive, including the Vice Chancellor. Last year I talked at the ANU event on "Learning to Teach Using e-Learning for Early Career Academics" (unfortunately this year as I will be at the International Sustainable Development Conference in Indonesia).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

MOOC Designers Relearning Decades of Distance Education Lessons

studying online can induce a sense of isolation (I experience this being an international distance education student myself). But this is nothing new: forty years ago the UK Open University found the students were spontaneously creating their own local study groups. This was then formalised.

Online university routinely organise local groups in their own satellite campuses and those of affiliated institutions. This happens all over the world (in Sri Lanka last year I saw campuses of the Open University of Sri Lanka in several cities).

It is a little disingenuous for MOOC creators to pretend they invented the idea, as this is something any student of distance education learns (hopefully some of the MOOC designers have formally studied the discipline of distance education). It is a shame that MOOC designers do not acknowledge this heritage and build on it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How Australian Universities Survive an Online World

In "Seven lessons of survival in an online world" (The Australian Higher Education Supplement, 9 April 2014), Dr. Jim Barber, former VC of UNE, notes that Georgia Institute of Technology is offering a Master of Computer Science through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). The MOOCs are provided by Udacity at a cost of about US $7,000.

As Dr. Barber points out, this on-line Masters is much cheaper than conventional face-to-face university courses. It is also much cheaper than current on-line university courses. The online Masters I am currently enrolled in costs about $35,000. Dr. Barber attributes part of the lower cost to course fees not subsidising research at universities and the cost of buildings.

Dr. Barber claims that "academics are paid to spend about 40 per cent of their time on research" and that "funding for this work derives largely from teaching revenue". So assuming that 40% of my course fees were eliminated by not finding research, that would reduce them to about $21,000.

As I am undertaking an online course, hopefully my fees are not paying for classrooms (as I don't need them). But there are still costs in administration of the course. But that can't account for the bulk of the cost. What else might be in course costs?

There is is the cost of designing and maintaining the course. However, with a large number of students on-line the cost of course design and maintenance should not be more than $1,000 per student per year. MOOCs typically provide no tutor assistance to individual students: unless you can get another student to help (or you pay for your own tutor), then you are on your own. Partly for this reason, MOOCs typically have a completion rate of about 5%, about one tenth the rate for more conventional courses.

The low completion rate is a large hidden cost for MOOCs: they may be on tenth the cost of conventional courses, but if the completion rate is also one tenth, then MOOCs are no cheaper than conventional courses.

The cost for courses which Dr. Barber does not mention is tutoring. The courses I study and teach online at universities have human tutor to help the students. The ANU's casual tutor rates are around $100 per hour.

It would be possible to drastically lower the cost of Australian university degrees by providing them online with no human assistance and using academic staff at universities which undertake no research. However, the reputation of Australia's university sector would suffer as a result.

I agree with Dr. Barber that Australian universities need to embrace on-line courses if they are to avoid the fate of the car industry. But just as the Australian car industry found it could not compete on price with low value cars, Australian universities should avoid trying to compete on price with low quality degrees. Instead Australia should address the premium on-line and blended education market, providing a quality product for a reasonable price, from a country known for its research.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sustainable Development and Energy Poverty and Sustainable Development and Energy Poverty

Greetings from the Energy Change Institute at the ustralian National University in Canberra, where Professor Gautama, of Washington University's Brown School, is speaking on " Energy Poverty", author of "Fires, Fuel, and the Fate of 3 Billion: The State of the Energy Impoverished" (short video about the book also available). He is at ANU with Professor Chris Greg of the UQ Energy Institute. Greg pointed out that most energy research at universities concentrates on large scale engineering, whereas most of the world is dependent on small scale sources. Professor Gautama expanded on this, explains that the developing world relies on cruse cook-stoves for their primary energy system. He argues that addressing this is a moral imperative for researchers. However, many initiative for developing nations have failed in the past, between the stages of development, implementation and maintenance. Developing nations have very intelligent people and markets, so I suggest helping them to solve the problem, not imposing a solution on them.

Professor Gautama described research into why those in developed nations decide or not decide to use cleaner fuels in place of wood stoves. However, I am not sure that a group of first world researchers, sitting in a building which is powered by burning coal (to generate electricity) are really in a moral position to tell those in developing nations what to do. Perhaps we first need to understand our own energy motivations and clean up our own act. Also it may be that simple marketing and markets could be used.

Roundtable on Energy Poverty

Gautam N. Yadama addresses issues related to poverty, the role of non-governmental organizations in sustainable development, and governance of common pool resources. He is particularly interested in understanding how communities partner with the state to supply and manage public goods for the benefit of the poor and the marginalized. His current research focuses on understanding micro-institutional mechanisms for managing community forests under various exogenous conditions, including state-community relations, decentralization, and resource pressures. He has worked on community forestry issues in India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Turkey. Have questions about Roundtable on Energy Poverty with Prof Gautama of Brown School, WUSTL?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New Australian Higher Education and Research Buildings

Australia appears to have faith in the financial viability of higher education, judging by the new buildings featured in Architecture Australia (AA) and Architectural Review Asia Pacific (ARAP). AA March/April 2014 features the Science and Engineering Building by Sinclair Knight Merz at Federation University Australia (previously University of Ballarat), the Cairns Institute by Woods Bagot at James Cook University and the Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne, UTS Broadway by Denton Corker Marshall for University of Technology Sydney, the Braggs Building by BVN Donivin Hill for University of Adelaide and the Translational Research Institute by Wilson Architects and Donovin Hill for University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology.

While impressive looking buildings from the outside, they don't appear that innovative on the inside. Perhaps constrained by the conservative ideas of the clients, the building have traditional looking labs and teaching rooms. The Cairns Institute has what is called an "Interactive Lecture Theatre", but this turns out to just have fixed benches and ordinary chairs, much like the ANU Design Unit style of lecture theatre for the Australian National University fifty years ago.

How these buildings will adapt to the new research and educational environment, where most activities will be carried out online, is not clear. Within five to ten years the typical student will never need to visit a campus. A few students using specialised equipment may need to visit a campus for a few days a year. If the Australian economy is to prosper, researchers will similarly need to be pushed out into industry, corporations and government (the so-called Cambridge Phenomenon). There is little value in researchers sitting in an ivory tower, no matter how prettily these are now clad in shimmering steel. There will still be a need for administration and support staff to run universities, but as with the students and researchers, there will be no compelling reason for them to be in a big building at a campus.

Perhaps the best view of the future of the university campus is QUT Science and Engineering Centre. This has a gym, swimming pool, food court and children's educational centre. Less obvious are places for groups of students to study, tutorial rooms, lecture theatres and administrative offices.

Friday, April 4, 2014

China's carbon markets

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where a discussion of carbon trading is taking place. One participant expressed regret that Australia was scrapping its planned carbon trading scheme. Some governments have been suspicious of carbon trading (the Chinese Government changed from this view from around 2009, the new Australian government appears to be doing the reverse).

The Chinese Government decided to have pilot trading schemes, as there were already some local trading schemes run by local provinces and endorsing these as "pilots" allowed the central government to regularise the process. The pilots were all in economically developed regions. China's fifth was Tianjin emissions trading scheme.  Perhaps this voluntary pilot approach is one which could be applied in Australia, which the federal government would find palatable. Unlike China, Australia has good emissions from which to derive trading data.

Some of the Chinese carbon trading schemes make allowance for prior reduction efforts made by companies. This provides some form of credit so firms which have already made reduction efforts are not penalised compared to those which have not, before the scheme starts. Allocating generous credits to firms is also a way to encourage them to participate, where there are limited cohesive powers. However, excess credits can make the market unworkable (as has happened in Europe).

One other point to make the market work well is a futures market (which is not permitted in China, also buying and selling the same day is not permitted). One lesson from China is that it takes time to learn how to set up a carbon market and make require several attempts.

Australia's planned approach with a fixed price trading system, before a floating price was pointed out by some as being both a theoretically and practically workable system. It was pointed out that penalties for non-compliance were required. The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) threatened Clive Palmer MP's company,  Queensland Nickel, with legal action for non-compliance.

One suggestion was that perhaps carbon emissions should be addressed as an energy efficiency issue, as that is seen as more urgent and useful by the general public and politicians. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Peer Review and Teaching as Collaborative Activity

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra where Ian Solomonides, Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre at Macquarie  University is speaking on Peer Review and Teaching as  Collaborative Activity. He raised issues of external peer review and professional development. However, I suggest that incentives for staff need to be considered. Teaching is a secondary consideration for most academics and their institutions, after research. Academics are selected and promoted primarily based on their research publications and funding attracted. It may not get the academic a job to emphasise their expertise in teaching, they just need to be adequate. Institutions want efficient teaching, preferably using on-line automated tools and casual tutors. Universities have found they can market courses based on the institution’s research reputation, even though this has no relationship to the quality of teaching.

Dr. Solomonides suggested the idea of teaching as making learning possible, as well as organising and telling. This is a routine part of teaching courses now, particularly those of e-leaning.

My suggestion would to use the peer approach with those staff who are most likely to be responsive, which are those receiving low student feedback scores, new and adjunct staff.

Also it is needs to be acknowledged that teaching is only a second profession for most academics. The academics are first of all a researcher (or for adjuncts are working professionals). Institutions could encourage teaching development trough the academics' primary discipline, so this will be seen as directly relevant by their peers. As an example, I am a member of the Australian Computer Society, which has an interest in the education of computer professionals (it accredits university coursers), so  teaching is seen as part of the discipline.

In addition, there is the opportunity to improve the kills of teachers while transitioning to e-learning.

Dr. Solomonides mention the "Carpe Diem MOOC" Swinburne University free Open Online Course on effective learning design.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reflections on China's carbon markets

Dr Yue Tan David Tang, Deputy General Manager, Funds Department, Strait Energy Limited will speak on "Reflections on China's carbon markets", at the Australian national University in Canberra, 2pm, 4 April 2014.

Reflections on China's carbon markets

Crawford School of Public Policy | Centre for Climate Economics and Policy

Event details


Register for this event

Date & time

Friday 04 April 2014


Crawford Barton Theatre, J.G. Crawford Building (bldg #132), Lennox Crossing, ANU


Dr Yue Tan David Tang, Deputy General Manager, Funds Department, Strait Energy Limited.
China is moving towards using carbon markets as part of its climate policy. The first emissions trading pilot schemes have started operation, others are following, and there are intentions for a national carbon market down the track. In this lecture, Dr Yue Tan David Tang, who has been involved with the design of the Tianjin emissions trading scheme and other aspects of Chinese carbon markets, will discuss carbon pricing in China. He will give an overview of policy development for emissions trading; analyse some of the features of the emissions trading pilot schemes; and present his reflections on the opportunities and obstacles to carbon trading in China.
Dr Yue Tan David Tang is Deputy General Manager of the Funds Department at Strait Energy Limited, which is a Hong Kong based investment company focusing on oil and gas as well as renewable energy. Dr Tang was formerly Secretary of the Board at the Tianjin Climate Exchange, where he took a leading role in designing and helping launch the Tianjin Emissions Trading Scheme. His work focuses on regional ETS development, trading in voluntary emissions reductions, natural gas market research, and policy analysis. He has taken part in many government-sponsored consulting and research projects on China’s carbon markets. Dr Tang holds a BA, an MA (pure math) and an MS (financial engineering) from Columbia, a JD and a PhD (econ) from Harvard. He is also a member of the New York Bar.
This seminar is presented by the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University.

Australian Climate Change Authority Final Report

Anthea Harris, CEO of the Australian Climate Change Authority will speak on "Australia's Targets and Progress", at the Australian National University in Canberra, 11am-1pm 29 April 2014.

First Climate Change Colloquium to Discuss Australia's Targets and Progress

This public event aims to bring some life to public debate on the question of Australia’s fair contribution to mitigating global climate change. In particular it aims to generate debate on the “Targets and Progress Review Report” recently released by the Climate Change Authority. The colloquium, which features Anthea Harris as the main speaker and a number of distinguished academics as commentators, will focus on four key scientific and policy issues: the global target for emission reductions (accounting for risks associated with targets and also scientific uncertainty); Australia’s fair share of that global responsibility; the economics of greenhouse abatement; and the path of international negotiations towards the 2015 UNFCCC conference in Paris. Panel speakers include CCI Director Professor Michael Raupach and Associate Professor Frank Jotzo from the Crawford School of Public Policy as well as Scott Ferraro from ClimateWorks. The ANU Climate Change Colloquium is a series of discussions that examines various scientific and policy aspects of climate change, featuring an expert panel of academics and practitioners. The colloquium is free and open to the public. Registration is essential, please do so at http://cci-colloq-antheaharris.eventbrite.com.au