Sunday, April 10, 2022

Internationalising WA's tertiary institutions

Dirk Mulder 
In "Internationalising WA's tertiary institutions" Dirk Mulder makes two suggestions. The first is to attract more global talent, with more PhD students, to boost the university's research rankings, and so attract students. The second is to work more closely with Indonesia. The first of these has problems, but the second is worth doing. 

Rather than boosting research, I suggest WA look to boost their education sector. International university rankling systems heavily favor research, even though this has little, if anything to do with the quality of education provided. Researchers do not necessarily make good teachers, if anything the opposite is the case. WA can boost its research, and increase its rankings, but this will not improve the quality of education provided. Instead WA could sponsor new international ranking systems, which better reflect the role of education. This could be based on the "Webometrics Ranking of World Universities" by Spanish researchers.

WA could also look to its educational technology sector. Perth is home to one of the world's leading products Moodle. However Australian governments, including the WA government of WA have all but ignored Moodle. Another WA success is Lectopia, developed by UWA, and then acquired by Echo 360. I got to see the original product in use at the UWA Albany centre in 2000, when working on an IT strategy for the Great Southern Region.

In 2019 I visited Indonesia for the IEEE regional tech education conference, and was impressed with what I saw. Previously I had talked at a university in Sumatra on green IT. The challenge is to offer Australian education which complements, not competes with the local product.

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