|Important fraction of attrition is actually students who withdrawn and come back years later||
Attrition and retention are in the political air this year, and ICT schools need better understanding of the phenomenon as statistics are measured and from the students' view. Reported in The Australian Higher Education 15 March
2017, with the headline
Undecided students need a degree of care.
The story highlights the number of students who apparently drop out and (using simple measures) may be counted as attrition, but come back to study within a few years: many to the same institution. The story highlights the apparent lack of support for the students as they withdraw and in attracting them back.
The report has analysis of reasons why students left (mostly personal or mixed personal/institution, rather than institution alone); academic difficulties were among several reasons of similar frequency (change of career plans, mental health, employment, financial); but the most common reason was to enrol at another institution. More than half changed discipline when they re-enrolled. Three-quarters of those not studying believed that they would return to study in future.
This is noteworthy for ICT Schools: how many of our lost students would come back to study with a little more re-recruiting encouragement?
The report is available online: Harvey, A., Szalkowicz, G. & Luckman, M. (2017). The re-recruitment of students who have withdrawn from Australian higher education. Report for the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, Melbourne, La Trobe University.
|Start-ups report shows software development skills are a key ingredient||
The Startup Smarts: universities and start-up economy is a
joint report between Universities Australia and Startup Muster,
launched 1 March 2017.
According to a (paywalled) story in The Australian, “Start-ups are projected to create more than half a million jobs over the coming decades and are already contributing more than $160 billion to the Australian economy,” Universities Australia boss Belinda Robinson said.
“This report confirms universities are the key ingredient in this promising part of our economy. They provide the skills, training, support and the physical space to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
|Draft Guidelines for Improving Student Outcomes in Online Education||
Online learning in formal courses has notably lower completion rates
than face to face learning. Many universities encourage their Schools to
offer online learning for the whole or part of their students' experience, and
rates of successful completion are under scrutiny. Techniques for better managing online students
and adapting teaching to their needs are of value.
Cathy Stone at the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSHE) at Curtin University will soon release a report on Improving Student Outcomes in Online Education. She has released a summary as Ten Draft Guidelines.
|Mind that employment gap: the future of coding is blue-collar jobs||A story in Wired Business (Clive Thompson, The Next Big Blue-Collar Job is Coding) argues that computer coding is becoming routine, and that the future of many jobs is for skilled, trained blue-collar workers rather than needing graduates — like the displaced mining workers who are already used to keeping focus, working with engineering technology, working in teams. Is this where Australia will look to fill the huge gap between the number of IT graduates and the number of job vacancies? What opportunities for universities and other training organisations?|
|The form of the academic faculty for the 21st century||
A recent posting to Tomorrow's
Professor is an informative review by Colleen Flaherty of a
A direct link to the review.
One form of appointment that they consider is the clinical medical faculty appointment, who continues to practise and also to teach. Could this be fruitfully applied to ICT and systematically, sustainably bring current practioners from the workplace into education? Does ICT workplace employment have the conditions of being as stable, as strongly filtered for quality, as strongly related to an established education program in a practising setting, as medicine? Do we have suitable forms of academic employment and suitable remuneration and other rewards to match medical faculties?
|Report from the frontline: the first year out experience of a graduate||
Breanne Boland has posted her experience of her first year out in the workplace.
Is this what we prepare our new graduates for?
11 Lessons from My First Year in Software Engineering
Breanne works in Oakland (or Seattle?), describes herself as A software engineer with a lot of interests, including shell scripting, devops and infrastructure, Python and Python and Python, team processes, and beautiful documentation
|Notes for ACDICT on the Higher Education Compliance and Quality Network Conference, November 2016||
|Multiple Measures course design and design benchmarking tool||
Multiple Measures is a completed OLT project now on their roadshow round of dissemination workshops. Although this project is nominally focused on the design of assessment for interdisciplinary courses/subjects/units, I can see four broader uses for ICT Schools and faculties:
To follow up and use the tool go to the project at multiplemeasures.org.au; for conversations contact Kit Wise (Tasmanian College of the Arts, UTas), Kate Tregloan (Monash Faculty of Architecture).
|University 4.0: course delivery, qualifications, career building, brokering relationships||
It is sometimes good to get a coherent package around the multiple pressures for tactical changes to courses, research directions, industry links, and teaching modes. Prof John Dewar Vice-Chancellor of LaTrobe has neatly framed the trend in universities in a neat packaging that combines graduate employability and industry relationships as “engaging and brokering relationships,” in a fourth generation of university model (“University 4.0” in modern shorthand)
[summary from Campus Morning Mail 3/11/16]
For the full story see the report of the CEDA talk.
|Ada Lovelace medal awarded to Mary O'Kane||
Congratulations to Mary O'Kane who has received the inaugural Ada Lovelace medal for an Outstanding Female Engineer. The award is by UNSW Faculty of Engineering. Mary O'Kane has a career as a computer scientist (speech recognition, AI) and chief scientist of NSW.
For details see Women In Engineering Awards
(as a long term fan of Ada Lovelace— a mathematician (and gambler) commonly known as the first computer programmer — I am puzzled why the engineers should have used her name, but it's good recognition for both of them.)
|New ACDICT executive elected, new president takes office||
Morri Pagnucco (UNSW), took office as president of ACDICT at the
Annual Council Meeting July 19 2016, for a period of 2
|Peer Review of Assessment Workshop presentations||
The workshops held around Australia in the last couple of months have released their collection of presentations.
|Science Meets Parliament - descriptive report||
Katrina Falkner (Adelaide) went to Science Meets Parliament in March 2016, an annual event organised by Science and Technology Australia (STA) of which ACDICT is a member.
|Digital Careers program update||
Digital Careers program which was run from NICTA, managed by Karsten
Schultz, in the past few years has moved into CISRO Education and
Outreach, headed by Mary Mulcahy, from 1 July. Digital Careers runs a
program of engagement and events with school students that has increased
the awareness and career prospects of upcoming university students.
|International Olympiad in Informatics — Australian team includes first female member||
from the Australian Mathematics Trust June 2016
ACDICT Annual Council meeting — for Deans or their representative
July 18-19th - see our Events page for the agenda.
|Science and Technology Australia Newsletter||
ACDICT is a member of STA — here's their latest June 2016 newsletter.
Welcome to the website of the Australian Council of Deans of Information and Communications Technology (ACDICT). The Council which was formed in July 2008 represents all Australian universities and the many disciplines comprising Information and Communications Technology (ICT):
On behalf of the Australian universities and ICT disciplines, the Council seeks to promote ICT education, research and scholarship by liaising with all relevant stakeholders including government, industry and professional bodies. Our Mission and Objectives elaborate on this role. This website provides information and records of Council activities. If you have any comments, suggestions or queries please feel free to contact the Executive Officer who is a member of the Executive.
The Council is grateful to the Australian Computer Society for hosting this website.
|Undergraduate research experience in early years improves STEM degree outcomes - including those for computer science||
Reported in a formal peer-reviewed report in the journal CBE-Life Sciences Education. <http://www.lifescied.org/content/15/2/ar20.full.pdf>
An eight-year study at the University of Texas at Austin has found that including postgraduate-style research in the first years of bachelor courses can dramatically improve students’ outcomes.The improved outcomes were those that we would relate to retention in Australian higher education - but not to final GPA.
"Using propensity score–matching to control for student-level differences, we tested the effect of participating in FRI [Freshman Research Initiative] on students’ probability of graduating with a STEM degree, probability of graduating within 6 years, and grade point average (GPA) at graduation. Students who completed all three semesters of FRI were significantly more likely than their non-FRI peers to earn a STEM degree and graduate within 6 years. FRI had no significant effect on students’ GPAs at graduation."
|OLT project report published - plagiarism and programming assignments||
Just published June 2016 is the PRIANIT report Plagiarism and related issues in assessments not involving text (Simon, Minichiello, Lawrence, Sheard, Carbone, Johnson, Cook). This includes assessments with computer programming and graphic design. Simon reported on this at ALTA forum in April 2016.
|Office of Learning and Teaching Fellowships 2016||
The last set of OLT fellowships have been announced (16 May 2016).
Building productive industry-university collaboration in ICT
- the Office of the Chief Scientist, ACED, AIIA, ACDICT
Employers are struggling to get workers whilst graduates are struggling to get jobs.
The Office of the Chief Scientist has released a communique following
the industry-ICT education forum held in Sydney 21 April, which more
than 90 people attended.
Some of the specific actions that will be considered include:
Read more detail here.
For more information contact Professor Maurice Pagnucco, m.pagnucco (at) unsw.edu.au
|ARC Consultation Paper on Impact of Research—responses invited 2/5/16||
The ARC has released a consultation paper on Engagement and Impact—see <http://www.arc.gov.au/nisa>.
Responses are requested by 24 June.
|Building Productive Partnerships - CSIRO Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools Program 2/5/16||
This "scientists and mathematicians" program includes ICT. Claudette Bateup spoke on this program at our ALTA forum in April.
"An evaluation report of the CSIRO Scientists and
Mathematicians in Schools program shows that it's a highly effective
program in terms of the scale of its operation, the multiple significant
benefits for students, teachers and STEM professionals, and the clear
return on investment of resources."
See <http://www.csiro.au/en/Education/Programs/SMiS/SMiS-partnerships-report> for an introductory description, a link to the executive summary (1MB PDF), and an address to get the full report.
|Industry-university collaboration for work-ready graduates||
The Office of the Chief Scientist, AIIA, ACDICT and ACED jointly held
a one day forum at Women's College, Sydney University on Thursday 21
|Employment market update report from Adzuna||
It's described as bad news for most of the job market, but salaries are best in ICT. The employment website Adzuna report on vacancies, salaries and job-seekers for the first three months of 2016 says:
The report is at https://www.adzuna.com.au/blog/2016/03/30/average-salaries-drop-and-sa-the-worst-place-to-find-a-job/
|TEQSA statistical summary report for 2014 - release 2016||
The TEQSA statistical summary report for 2014 university statistics
ALTA forum 31 March - 1 April 2016, University of Technology Sydney
The ACDICT Academy of Learning and Teaching forum for all Associate
Deans (L&T) or equivalents ran just after Easter for two intensive days of updates and discussion on
perspectives, policy and practice in university ICT education..
|Decadal Plan for Mathematical Sciences in Australia||
The Academy of Science Mathematics committee has launched its Decadal Plan for mathematical sciences in Australia
for 2016-2025 today 17/3/16 at Parliament House. The Minister for
Education Simon Birmingham and the Deputy Minister for Science Karen
Andrews both spoke up in support and urged continuing action to continue
to persuade parents to support students taking harder options like
maths, and pressure industry and other parliamentarians to express
support, more frequently than once a year.
Comment: Can ICT faculties afford to stiffen the prerequisite for bachelor entry? can we afford not to in the mid- to long-run? If commerce and science have the same requirements then there would be less danger of losing those averse to mathematics from ICT. The currently increasing demand for computing enrolments could be an opportunity to improve student intake and outcomes.
Major recommendations include
1.1 Australian governments, schools and universities should urgently increase their provision of professional development for existing out-of-field school teachers of mathematics and enhance their commitment to the recruitment and retention of new, properly qualified staff.
2.1 Australian universities should immediately plan for the staged reintroduction of at least Year 12 intermediate mathematics subjects as prerequisites for all bachelors programs in science, engineering and commerce.
Some universities have responded to (or anticipated) the issue:
|The cyclical nature of ICT student numbers: lessons to remember||
With the anecdotal reports of strong increases
in ICT undergraduate enrollments at many Australian universities, this
very important analysis on A History of Capacity Challenges in Computer Science [for USA] by Eric Roberts of Stanford. Thanks to Alan Fekete for pointing this out.
One of the implications: Australia's claimed "over-production" of ICT PhDs may have a ready market in USA jobs:
Although the precise number is impossible to determine because many of the listings use imprecise phrases like “several positions” or “multiple positions,” it appears that the number of open computer science faculty positions [in USA] in 2014-15 was around 1000.
According to the Computing Research Association’s most recent Taulbee survey, North American institutions produced 1,651 computer science Ph.D.s in 2014.21 Of this number, 244 (15 percent) accepted faculty positions at North American institutions. By this calculation, the current rate of Ph.D. production is sufficient to fill about one of every four open positions.
Although the ratio of applicants to open positions is less than the one-in-seven shortfall of the early 1980s, the number of unfilled positions is significantly larger in absolute terms. If the number of Ph.D.s is sufficient to fill only a quarter of the open positions, then the number of positions that cannot be filled from this pool is around 750. Unlike other fields, computer science has no reserve labor force in the form of Ph.D.s who received their degrees in prior years but who have been unable to find positions.
|Australia's Digital Pulse report 2016||
The ACS / Deloitte Access Economics report on Australia's digital economy and workforce is released 16 March 2016
|ICT Education Statistics update||
Australian Information Technology Higher Education Student and Staff Statistics — now available, an ACDICT report presenting statistics on ICT higher education updated to cover 2009-2014. The report shows the start of the recent growth trend in undergraduate enrollments, and shows student numbers broken down into types of degree, gender, and domestic/international across the Australian universities. The report includes some analysis.
|Report on the future of work in Australia — 29/2/16||
|ACS Employment Survey for 2015 – 29/2/16||
|Breaking News: Work Integrated learning in STEM – 24/2/16||
An article in the Australian Higher Education section Weds 24
February describes the ACER report for the Office of the Chief Scientist
on WIL in STEM. ICT is the "stand-out field" in the sciences. Reporter
John Ross writes
The report is not actually new. It dates from June 2015: Edwards, Daniel. Work integrated learning: A lesson in good WIL, Research Developments, ACER. http://rd.acer.edu.au/article/work-integrated-learning-a-lesson-in-good-wil
|Teaching coding in schools — Infographic on the USA issues||
Shane Ryan <firstname.lastname@example.org> "recently published a graphic with our online data science program, DataScience@SMU. We explored computer science and coding education for grades K-12 in the US and across the world. You can check it out here: https://datascience.smu.edu/blog/kids-and-computer-science-infographic/"
School mathematics, university prerequisites, and the study of STEM science technology engineering and maths
The dilemma is of having too much choice of subjects perceived to be interesting but some seen as less difficult.
|Members Newsletter update November 2015|