What Australia should not learn from UK Higher Education
Although Australia became a quasi-independent dominion in 1901 and achieved a more definite national independence after World War 2, the higher education systems in Australia and UK remain similar. At times the two systems almost feel like one. There are also interesting differences, and larger variations in society, history and world geo-context. This seminar will reflect on these patterns.
Professor Simon Marginson
Professor of International Higher Education, Institute of Education, University of London
Learning Analytics are about Learning
The analysis of data collected via interaction of users with educational and information technology has attracted much attention as a promising approach for advancing our understanding of the learning process. This promise motivated the emergence of the new research field learning analytics, and its closely related discipline, educational data mining. This talk will first introduce the field of learning analytics and touch on lessons learned from some of best-known case studies in the research literature. The talk will then identify critical challenges that require immediate research attention in order for learning analytics to make a sustainable impact on research and practice of learning and teaching. The talk will conclude in discussing a set of milestones selected as critical for the maturation of the field of learning analytics. The most important take away from this talk will be that learning analytics are about learning and that computational aspects of learning analytics are necessary to be integrated deeply with the existing research in learning sciences and education.
Professor Dragan Gasevic
Evaluating National Systems of Higher Education: Beyond Ranking of Research Intensive Universities
The criteria used in the international rankings of universities are distorting national systems of higher education by encouraging all institutions to be comprehensive in scope and research intensive. What matters for a nation is the total system that caters for a range of interests and abilities. The Universitas 21 (U21) annual rankings rate national systems of higher education in 50 countries on 24 attributes grouped into four modules: Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output. The modules recognise that to be successful a system needs both adequate resources and a favourable regulatory and policy environment.
The absolute performance of a country’s higher education system will depend on the national level of income as measured by GDP per capita. In recognition of this we construct auxiliary rankings that allow for differences in income levels. We also examine relationships between input and output variables and the findings provide guidance for policy makers.
Professor Ross Williams
Gaétan de Rassenfosse
Reinvigorating the Australian research funding system
Australia allocates $9 billion a year of taxpayers’ money for research, but how do we know if that money is being spent wisely? With the Australian Government threatening to reduce the amount of money allocated to research, it is time for researchers to take a more serious look at how to improve the research funding system.
Despite a barrage of criticism of the Australian research funding system, there is a lack of meaningful change in the system: the majority of researchers see the system as arcane, overly-bureaucratic and wildly inefficient. In many other areas of policy, including health, education and labour market policy, we subject such government expenditure to rigorous, systematic evaluation. However, evaluation of our research investments is almost non-existent. In this presentation, I review the problem and examine how the research funding system could be reinvigorated to provide better outcomes for researchers and provide the taxpayer with more confidence about the way their money is being spent.
Professor Paul Jensen
Professorial Research Fellow
Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
University of Melbourne
The place of private providers in higher education?
Part of the Issues and Ideas in Higher Education Seminar series by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Process and perceptions of summative peer assessment of a large cohort
Peer assessment offers potential advantages in staff workload and in student engagement and learning outcomes. In this seminar the findings of a study of a peer assessment activity undertaken in a third-year biomedical science capstone subject will be presented. Students in this subject were required to assess the work of five of their peers as well as their own. The activity made use of several tools including Turnitin and custom software written to enable the curation of the student marks and to rapidly scan the patterns of the marks to detect any obvious anomalies and outliers. This seminar will examine the processes and tools used to facilitate the peer assessment activity as well as student feedback and outcomes.
Dr Michael Lew & Dr Rosa McCarty
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
University of Melbourne