Saturday, November 27, 2021

Australian Government Strategy for International Education

The Australian Ministers for Education, Trade, and Immigration, , Alan Tudge, Dan Tehan, and Alex Hawke, released an Australian Strategy for International Education 2021‑2030, on 26 November 2021. This is a relatively easy read at 32 pages. Note that this is an Australian Government strategy, not one issued by Australian educators, or institutions. 

As the forward points out million of international graduates of Australian universities have become leaders in their countries, whereas others have contributed as Australian citizens. At the same time this is a $40B a year export industry. The new strategy's priority is for "Diversification", after COVID-19 reduced the flow of students from China and India to Australian campuses. The obvious solution, outlined in the strategy is to attract students from other countries, and to teach some of these students, at least part of the time, online. 

However, the risk in having students from a few countries travel to Australia to study was obvious when SARS-CoV-1 closed campuses in the East Asia, in 2002. This was 19 years before SARS-CoV-2 again closed campuses. Unfortunately, the Australian government and Australian university, either did not learn the lesson for forgot it. In 2016/17 I warned in talks and articles that Australian universities should be ready with online leaning in case an emergency kept international students away.

While 19 years late, the Australian Government's recognition of the need for diversification is welcome. However, it will take a considerable amount of funding and policy work to have Australian universities re-skill, reequip to attract students from other countries and provide them with quality online education. There are no substantive proposals or funding commitments in the strategy to achieve this. There is no clear direction set as to what countries are to be targeted (the obvious being Indonesia).

The Australian Strategy for International Education is similar to the Australian Government's recent climate change strategy: a decade late, lacking in detail, and funding. In 2016 I was not thinking of a pandemic keeping international students from campus, but a military confrontation in the region. Such a confrontation could happen at any time, resulting in almost all students having to leave Australia.

In addition to the short term risk from a regional emergency, in 2016 I warned of the long term risk from increased international competition, both for international students and Australian domestic students.  As well as Canada (where I studied*), UK & US, Australian institutions have to compete with China's Belt and Road Education Plan.

* In 2013 I looked for a graduate education program to undertake. I first looked at programs at universities in the city where I live, then at ones I could study at online in Australia. However, I ended up an online international student, in a quality program which was cheaper than studying in Australia. As part of my studies I investigated the threat to Australian universities from increased competition, and how they could provide quality online and blended programs to remain in business. I will be discussing this at EdTechPosium, in Canberra, 10 December 2021.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Mobile and Socially Constructed Blended Learning with Activity Theory a Response to COVID-19

Next Tuesday at ASCILITE 2021, I have sixty seconds to speak on "Mobile learning and socially constructed blended learning through the lens of Activity Theory". The reason I have only a minute is that there are nine authors for the paper (Vickel Narayan, Thom Cochrane, Neil Cowie, Paul Goldacre, James Birt, David Sinfield, Alizadeh Mehrasa, Tom Worthington and Stephen Aiello). That might sound an impossible task, but we managed it last year at ASCILITE 2020. This is much easier to do online, than with a crowd of people on a stage.  

I am not much of a theory person, and the idea of applying Activity Theory comes from my coauthors. All I am doing is describing how I modified my teaching slightly last year for COVID-19. But the point we are collectively making I suggest is an important one. Mobile devices and collaborative tools were effective by connecting students with each other, and with their teachers. This I suggest has been far more important than replicating old fashioned lectures and examinations online. As an online student myself for years, I felt the loneliness of long distance study. With the pandemic behind us, it is important for Australian universities to engage students and not slip back into lazy habits of offering dull lectures and then blaming students for not attending.

Our paper differs from many recent ones which describe heroic and radical changes which had to be made to teaching practice to move from classroom based to online. The difference was that as tech literate educators we had less to do to move our teaching online. 

I moved to pure online teaching ten years ago, then in the last few years had been incorporating some classroom elements. As someone with a background in dealing with emergencies using tech, my teaching was designed with an online contingency, so that if an emergency kept students from campus, it could all be done online. That is what happened with COVID-19.



Saturday, November 20, 2021

ASCILITE 2021

ASCILITE 2021 is on from 29 November to 1 December at University of New England in Armidale (NSW), and online. I am a joint author for one poster, a paper, and as a mentor.

It is good to see ASCILITE have decided to retain dual mode for the conference: in person or reasonably priced online.*

Here are the topics which caught my interest in the draft paper.

Conference — Program Day One

9:30 — 10:30 am Session #1 — Keynote Speaker: Professor Sarah Pearson, University of Queensland.

11:00 — 12:00 pm Parallel Session #2

Session 2 - Stream A



Virtual Worlds in Education. Why are they not centre stage in online learning in a pandemic? - Lisa Jacka, Sue Gregory and Steven Warburton
ID: 33


Session 2 - Stream B

A systematic approach to learning design for supervisor training in a specialist medical college - Jorge Reyna, Santosh Khanal, Victoria Baker-Smith and Ellen Cooper
CP ID: 15




Advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning using educational drama - Rajeev Kamineni
CP ID: 20


Session 2 - Stream C



Capability development by educational technology - Cedomir Gladovic
CP ID: 38


Session 2 - Stream D



Benchmarking educational quality – an independent analysis and alternative approach - Stanislaw Paul Maj
CP ID: 7


12:00 — 1:00 pm— Lunch + ASCILITE AGM —1:00 — 2:30 pmParallel Session #3

Session 3 - Stream A

Sponsor Session

Chair: Steph Toole


AccountingPod - Sponsor Demo


Pedestal 3D - Sponsor Demo


Session 3 - Stream B

Managing Career Transitions into post-secondary Learning Designer Jobs: An Australasian Perspective - Michael Sankey and Jack Sage
FP ID: 91


Session 3 - Stream C

Exploring the social aspects of student collaboration in online learning - Shahed Kamal, Margaret Bearman, Joanna Tai and Brandi Fox

FP ID: 40


Session 3 - Stream D

Implementing pedagogies of care in online teacher education - Dewa Wardak
FP ID: 11


2:30 — 3:00 pm— Break —3:00 — 4:30 pm Parallel Session #4

Session 4 - Stream A

Panel Session

An integrated framework for non-formal to formal learning in Queensland - Professor Kevin Ashford-Rowe, Dr Donna Harvey and Margo Griffith

ID: 49


Session 4 - Stream B

The Role of the Lecture in Post Pandemic IHLs: Possibilities and Implications from a Singapore Case Study - Ganthi Viswanathan and Marnie O'Neill

FP ID: 16


The Use of WeChat in Higher Education: Investigation of Chinese Students in Australia - Daeyoung Kim and Shanton Chang
FP ID: 89


Session 4 - Stream C

New way of investigating ICT-enhanced teaching in TAFE Australia: Disciplinary Focused - Shahadat Khan and Sue Gregory

CP ID: 97


Session 4 - Stream D

Chair: Special Interest Groups


Contextualising the horizon



Conference — Program Day Two



9:30 — 11:00 am

Pecha Kucha & Poster Session - Session #6

Pecha Kucha

For a full list of Pecha Kucha presentations click here.

To read abstracts, click here

Poster Session 6
Stream C

Pecha Kucha Session 6
Stream A

Chair: Steph Toole

Pecha Kucha Session 6
Stream B

Chair: Samuel Bugden

 
11:30 — 12:30 pmParallel Session #7

Session 7 - Stream A

Panel Session

D2L

Panel

Jan Owen - Chair and Convenor, Learning Creates Australia
Prof Shelley Kinash - Executive Principal Student Experience, University of New England
Tony Maguire – Regional Director, ANZ at D2L
Emeritus Prof Martin Bean – CEO The Bean Centre (past Vice Chancellor, RMIT University)


Session 7 - Stream B

Design and development of a large Business School core interdisciplinary unit to foster blended learning during the Pandemic - Abdul Razeed and Thea Werkhoven

FP ID: 9


Session 7 - Stream C

Pedagogy Before Technology: Understanding the Confidence of Vocational Educators for Integrating Technology Enhanced Learning - Robert Vanderburg, Michael Cowling and Joanne Dargusch

FP ID: 82


Enhancing students’ employability skills and experiential learning through integration of Xero software - Gregory Jones, Hazel Jones, Claire Beattie and Dom Pensiero
FP ID: 84


Session 7 - Stream D

Special Interest Groups




3:00 — 4:30 pmParallel Session 8

Session 8 - Stream A

Panel Session

Digging deeper into the ethical use of learning analytics - Linda Corrin, Hazel Jones and Srecko Joksimovic

ID: 69


Session 8 - Stream B

Back to what? What STEM and Health teaching academics learnt from COVID - Christopher Bridge, Birgit Loch, Dell Horey, Brianna Julien, Belinda Thompson and Julia Agolli
FP ID: 52


Deakin Launch Network: an employability network that improves engagement, graduate outcomes and wellbeing by connecting and leveraging the expertise of diverse students and alumni - Trina Jorre de St Jorre
FP ID: 96


Session 8 - Stream C

Exploring students’ experience with and perceptions towards eLearning in an online public health module - Charlene Goh, Kit Yung Tan and Andre Matthias Müller
CP ID: 65


Employability focused technology enhanced hybrid and online accounting capstone experience - Christine Contessotto, Edwin Lim and Harsh Suri
CP ID: 70


Mobile learning and socially constructed blended learning through the lens of Activity Theory - Vickel Narayan, Thom Cochrane, Neil Cowie, Paul Goldacre, James Birt, David Sinfield, Alizadeh Mehrasa, Tom Worthington and Stephen Aiello
CP ID: 57


Embedding the Development of Graduate Qualities of International Postgraduate IT Students in the Disciplinary Subject - Ping Yu, Siyu Qian, Zhenyu Zhang, Lina Markauskaite, Jun Shen and Ting Song
CP ID: 71


Session 8 - Stream D

AJET and the future of scholarly publication - Linda Corrin, Gwo-Jen Hwang, Jason Lodge and Kate Thompson - AJET Lead Editors


About AJET; publishing and reviewing - Linda Corrin, Gwo-Jen Hwang, Jason Lodge and Kate Thompson - AJET Lead Editors





Conference — Program Day Three

9:00 — 10:30 am

Panels Session #9

Session 9 - Stream A

Hiring practices: an analysis of higher education in Australasia - Nhung Nguyen, Camille Dickson-Deane, Keith Heggart and Mounika Ragula

ID: 31


Session 9 - Stream B

Community Mentoring Program 

Session 9 - Stream C

Learning to Research in Distance Mode: Technologies for Building Higher Degree Research Community Online - Nikki Rumpca, Ariella Van Luyn, Adele Nye and Huw Nolan
CP ID: 64


A proposal to measure the Impact of Automated Response Systems on Meeting Student Learning Outcomes - Josiah Koh, Michael A Cowling, Meena Jha and Kwong Nui Sim
CP ID: 41


Session 9 - Stream D

Sustainable learning design in large transformational teaching and learning initiatives - Courtney Shalavin and Elaine Huber
CP ID: 80


Exploring industry-university partnerships in the creation of short courses and micro-credentials - Rachel Fitzgerald and Henk Huijser
CP ID: 67


10:30 — 11:00 am— Break —
11:00 — 12:30 pmParallel Session #10

Session 10 - Stream A

Panel Session

Online proctored exams: the good, the bad, and the meh - Phillip Dawson, Michael Henderson and Lesley Sefcik
ID: 27


Session 10 - Stream B

The use of a publishing platform to facilitate the adaptation and development of Open Textbooks: A Pilot Report - Kate Nixon and Katya Henry
FP ID: 87


On the Need for Open Teaching on the JamStack - William Billingsley
CP ID: 68


Embedding wholistic learning: Designing curated eLearning processes for social work students - Prue Atkins and Katie Sykes
CP ID: 50


Session 10 - Stream C

Providing Equitable Education through Personalised Adaptive Learning - Punithavathy Palanisamy, Shamini Thilarajah and Zihui Chen
CP ID: 76


Increasing Student Grades in Large Online Subjects: Combining Tutorial Support with Technology - Kelly Linden, Ben Hicks and Neil Van der Ploeg
CP ID: 88


Session 10 - Stream D

The silver lining of COVID-19 – improving operational processes - Sabina Cerimagic and Dewa Wardak
CP ID: 4


From Pandemic to Endemic: Examining Transitions in Blended Learning in Teacher Education - Shamini Thilarajah and Renuka Nasendran
CP ID: 37


12:30 — 2:00 pm— Lunch + Special Interest Groups —
Read SIGS information here
2:00 — 2:30 pmThat's a wrap!
Handover

* It should be kept in mind that not everyone can get to a conference in person. They may not be able to afford the trip, they may have family,  or community obligations, or have illness or disability which prevents attendance. The last two years shows that an acceptable conference experience can be provided online. In my view it is ethically, and perhaps legally unacceptable to not provide the option.