The Scan # 148 13 March 2014


Shake up for rental scheme

unilodge13 March 2014   |    The government has flagged a shake-up of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) in the wake of revelations the program has been manipulated to build student housing that is being let to wealthy foreign students. Two developers behind an 823-bed NRAS development in Sydney  tapped more than $80 million in subsidies to construct a building to be filled largely by international students. Universities have also snapped up thousands of NRAS incentives to build large blocks of studio accommodation that is often taken up by fee-paying international students, who are the lifeblood of many universities’ finances. It appears there are more than 1000 foreign students in NRAS properties……[ MORE ]….

Hall quitsPeter hall3

13 March 2014   |    Victorian skills and higher education minister Peter Hall is resigning from State Parliament almost nine months early, ahead of a likely cabinet reshuffle next week. He had previously announced he would not be standing at the state election to be held in November.   But he  says “now is the right time step aside.”…..[ MORE ]….

Lilydale up for grabs

For sale313 March 2014   |    Swinburne University may consider selling its mothballed Lilydale campus for non-educational purposes.  Swinburne has officially stated its preference is to sell the site under the current educational zoning. But the information memorandum from real estate agents Knight Frank makes much of the potential for the site to be rezoned, which could increase the value of the site and is stoking local community fears that the prospect of restoring higher education provision at the campus could be lost…..[ MORE ]….

New domains for Monash and RMIT

13 March 2014   |    Monash University has become the first globally recognised organisation to be delegated a moocs1brand Top-Level Domain (TLD) – The New TLD Program includes applications for other globally-influential .brand TLDs such as .google, .apple and .anz, as well as other generic Top-Level Domains such as .book, .melbourne and .cpa.   Meanwhile, RMIT has lauched its “Global” website…..[ MORE ]….

Monash EBA settled

Industrial unrest ongoing at Swinburne, UQ and Macquarie

nteu-logo10 March 2014   |    The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and Monash University have reached in-principle agreement on a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) , following strike action on 3 March, while NTEU and Swinburne appear headed to court. Meanwhile, NTEU members at both Macquarie University and University of Queensland are striking on Tuesday 11 March over pay and workload issues…..[ MORE ]….

Focus to shift to school trade training

Trades7 March 2014    |    The Abbott government will encourage more students to undertake school-based apprenticeships and move away from the focus on higher education, in a dramatic change in approach from Labor. …..[MORE ]….

TEQSA bill deferredRegulatory jigsaw 2

7 March 2014    |    The TEQSA reform bill has been referred to the Senate education committee. Speaking in favour of the referral, Opposition higher education spokesman Kim Carr evoked a “back to the bad old days” scenario, saying excellence must not be sacrificed in the blind haste to cut red tape. …..[ MORE ]….


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Scales to head NBN reviewScales2

10 March 2014 | Former Telstra director and current chancellor of Swinburne university Bill Scales will lead the sixth National Broadband Network-related audit since the Coalition government came to power. Scales brings a wealth of experience to the role, having has been chairman of the Industry Commission (now the Productivity Commission), secretary of Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet and involved with other high-profile inquiries including the Bradley review of higher education and the Gonski review of schools funding…..[ MORE ]….

Former footy boss takes reins at NMITRon Gauci

7 March 2014 | NMIT has appointed Ron Gauci, former CEO of National Rugby League Club, the Melbourne Storm, as its “interim” CEO. Announcing the appointment NMIT chair John Gibbins described Gauci as a highly respected executive who demonstrates extensive experience in leading change in a number of different business environments…..[ MORE ]….


Comment & analysis

The campus is dead: long live the campus?

Virtual communities can provide an alternative to the on-campus experience but, as yet, there is little evidence to suggest that virtual engagement with peers and with content matter experts can provide the same benefits as being immersed in the intellectual culture on campus, writes Jason Lodge of Griffith University.

And do read this related essay by Kate Bowles on the creation of the space – or part of it, anyway – that the University of Wollongong occupies – For Leon Fuller.



Much hype and discussion has surrounded the evolution of online higher education over the last few years. Technology has now reached a point where it is conceivable that an education experience on the internet can be comparable to one on a university campus. However, just because it is conceivable does not necessarily make it so.

The learning that occurs differs markedly across disciplines and domains of knowledge. For example, it is relatively easy to comprehend how basic level accounting could be effectively learnt in a virtual environment.

It is not so simple when considering advanced surgical techniques. It would be a brave soul who would trust a surgeon trained using wikis, instructional videos and virtual classrooms.

While these might be extreme examples, there is undoubtedly a large market for flexible delivery of university education, and many universities now offer online degree programs. This is true even for the many institutions not traditionally associated with “distance learning”.



VET reform workshops

calendarTo complement initial workshops held in Canberra in February, the VET Reform Taskforce will be hosting workshops in each of the other capital cities throughout March 2014. The purpose of the workshops is to discuss the current VET system and listen to ideas for potential future reform. Numbers are limited so reservations are essential.



Life & stuff

The philosopher’s song

The Future for the Humanities and Social Sciences in a Global Era

Melbourne, 18 and 19 March 2014


This two-day comparative symposium will bring together leading academics to examine questions around the future for the humanities and social sciences in Asia, North America, and Australia. It will ask how these disciplines might situate themselves in an increasingly globalised higher education system.

The most followed philosopher on Twitter is Alain de Botton with 422, 381 followers (he follows 4,818 Tweeters). de Botton tweets about once a day.





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