News from unijam HQ

It’s a wrap and it’s been amazing

12:01am 31 May

Unijam has heralded a week of super communication.

Across the jam itself there have been about 17 000 unique posts and more than 1300 conversation threads.

Almost 8000 people registered for unijam

Jammers were active in 56 countries and every Australian state and territory

Across the 2 days of unijam the average time each person spent online was 4 hours and 35 minutes.

Unijam conducted 27 polls with 15,524 votes recorded.

Across Twitter and Facebook there have been thousands of interactions and people are still talking about it.

Quotes of the day

11:50pm 30 May

Hon. Grace Portolesi MP, Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills
“University life is made so much richer by the diversity of its population. I know from my own experience as a former employee of UniSA that it has always placed a premium on ensuring all South Australians have access to a university education.”

Governor of South Australia, His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR
“I'm a keen proponent of the university college concept because it opens up the path to university to those students who might not qualify from traditional school avenues. Education is key to creating competitive advance as we compete in the global economy, and university is one way we can create that innovative skill.

David Knox, Chief Executive Santos
“International students require more support, (and it’s) important that universities do offer opportunities for them to integrate and networks and mentoring to ensure they are settled and are not struggling with the basics.”

Senator Nick Xenophon
“I think one of the things we need to address at a basic level is how we value teachers and educators. Until we can recognise how important they are, not just to our children but to all of us, we can't treat the profession with the respect it deserves.”

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
“We can't just expect universities to offer more places to students and assume that is enough. Our investment in education needs to start at early childhood, through to primary, secondary and the tertiary.”

Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley AC, former Vice Chancellor UniSA and author of Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education
“What is important about MOOCs is the innovation they are spawning in use of data analytics to assist learning and its assessment . A university like UniSA must be at the front of change (and) MOOCS are providing a striking chance to explore how we can 'unbundle' some areas of teaching to improve student learning.”

Health hub wins support

10:00pm 30 May

Agreement around the multilayered benefits of a UniSA health precinct in the west end of the city near both the SA Health and Medical Research Institute and the new Royal Adelaide Hospital was unanimous in the unijam conversation led by Professor Allan Evans in the Crossing the Horizon forum.

The advantages for both students and researchers were clear but it was also explained that there would be advantages for patients. There was strong support for an enhancement of UniSA’s existing health clinics.

Professor Esther May believes UniSA could create an integrated model of teaching, research and client services that would showcase what UniSA can do and be of great benefit to the local community.

“I can imagine the mix of IT, health, social services, Aboriginal health, engineering, management, marketing, architecture in developing such a hub,” she said.

“I can also see a public education space in such a new development where forums about health and other issues could be held. Bringing the public into the university is an important part of being a connected university.”

Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom believes a health precinct would offer students the chance to work in a vibrant interdisciplinary environment.

“Current as well as future health professionals need to be exposed to examples where interdisciplinary health care delivery improves health outcomes,” he said.

Can creativity be taught? And should it?

8:15pm 30 May

One of the top five most important leadership skills of the near future according to a study of over 1500 CEOs conducted by IBM is creativity, the ability to network ideas and collaborate so that information is synthesized in new ways.

But, can it be taught?

Ron Corso, Program Director of Visual Communication/Industrial Design at UniSA’s School of Art, Architecture and Design, said that “all human beings have an imaginative capacity that defines us, yet once past the age of 5 it’s not fostered as more traditional knowledge-based models of learning take over”.

Christopher Pyne MP, Federal Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training, agreed, referencing Picasso on holding onto the way children see things as a way of encouraging creativity. To illustrate his point he said that one of his favourite paintings was that done by his three-year old daughter who painted him as a gherkin “because that’s how she saw me”.

But bringing this childlike observance into the classroom proved to be a trickier subject. “What if students were given tests before learning new material?” asked Jeffery Baumgartner who advises and trains individuals, teams and organisations on how to improve their creative thinking skills. “They could then be given the correct answers or given the opportunity to discover the correct answers.”

Jammer Natasha Petito has studied in Australia and in the United States and says she could only get grades in America for memorising the text book. At UniSA, she said, “I’ve never been taught the answers and have been given a lot of opportunity to pursue independent learning.”

The problem seems to be: how do you grade someone for their mistakes?

Student Aymon Fox asked: Often in school I found that creative problem solving was not received that well because it means things such as open answer questions in an exam become harder to grade than if you just write the default textbook answer.

Ron Corso added that “the notion of doing things because they are easy to grade runs the risk of completely missing the point of what we want to achieve from our students.

“This mindset and rigid view reminds me a great Groucho Marx quote.' We can't stop the war we've just paid three month’s rent on the battlefield’.”

A new cultural destination in Adelaide

7:45pm 30 May

Making City West campus a cultural destination in its own right is one idea coming out of the unijam right now. Jammers want the creative work of students and staff to be more accessible to both the wider university and the community.

Opening all City West campus galleries on weekends and creating a weekend student market are some of the suggestions for making this happen.

Projection light shows on campus buildings has also been a popular idea to emerge and Erica Green, Director of the Samstag Museum of Art, says this might already be on the cards for the Hawke Building.

Other ideas for bringing art onto campuses include undertaking an audit of public spaces to find out where art can be displayed, short art courses for the public and students in non art-related disciplines, pop up student exhibitions hosted on different campuses across the year and an Artist in Residency program in which artists are placed in different schools and faculties.

Join the ‘Art on Campus – let’s talk’ thread in the Student Experience forum now.

Posts reach a new high and the conversations are global

7:00pm 30 May

As we reach the home stretch things are hotting up rather than cooling down. At 6.40 pm unijam had almost 16,000 posts. The charts are showing that the mix is almost 50/50 between staff and student contributions.

Among the jammers are some leading thinkers who are finding the experience refreshing and rewarding.

“It is a pleasure to be involved in this great event,” says innovation thinker, Goran Roos who is jamming from Mildura.

Goran has been joined in the jam by alumni Chapter President from Singapore Michael Teng and Vice Chancellor David Lloyd all jamming about industry informed research and innovation right now if you want to join the conversation.

Like good wine the conversation flows

4:45pm 30 May

Day two of unijam and the conversation bubbling on. Today forum posts peaked at almost 13,000 at about 1.30 pm with “Crossing the Horizon” still polling as the most popular forum – the drawcard being a chance to express the one thing you would change to make UniSA a better university.

“The student experience” is also attracting strong participation with 439 threads attracting more than 600 unique participants.

One of the best emerging ideas is focussed on how we would develop a Health Precinct located close to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and the SA Health and Medical Research Institute.

You have a few hours left to take part in the jam and start shaping some of the great ideas that have been forwarded – don’t miss the boat.

Moving ahead with Magill

2:11pm 30 May

The future of UniSA’s Magill campus – and the unijam conversation about it - has already been flagged in local newspapers earlier this month.

So it was with anticipation that the hot topic kicked off  today with unijam hosts Pal Ahluwalia and Rosie Le Cornu asking the question on everyone’s lips: Would Magill be the ideal spot for an education precinct and childcare centre?

A random scan of some of the 250+ replies to the post point to the many positives of giving the campus an educational makeover. These include opportunities of encouraging cross-disciplinary work and inter-professional learning, greater face to face learning opportunities and making Magill more of a magnet for social events which would add to the student experience.

Senator Nick Xenophon added his views and posted: "The proposal for Magill is innovative and will make the campus a national centre for excellence in education. (It certainly beats the campus being turned into another suburban infill real estate development!)."

The latest unijam poll results indicate a 89% vote in favour of UniSA developing an education precinct, regardless of location. Jump on board now and add your views to the debate.

The Brave New World Of MOOCS

12:00pm 30 May

MoocsMOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) are a current hot topic in education and this morning they are the centre of a unique unijam conversation, featuring Andrew Ng from Coursera (an educational technology company) and Gregor Kennedy from the University of Melbourne.

The question of how MOOCS can boost online learning and increase the student count are spurring some interesting responses, particularly in the areas of digital literacy and course completion rates.

The New York Times hailed 2012 as the Year of the MOOC, but for Jade Tyrrell, President of the National Union of Students (Australia), it’s still early days: "Most students don’t know what MOOCS are, attrition rates with MOOCS are extremely high, so clearly the international support is missing at this stage."

Gregor, however, explains the advantages of MOOCS and the way they are evolving across the university landscape: "I think it is important not to see MOOCs as the same as other online learning offerings.

"I suppose we saw MOOCS as a growing trend in online education and were interested in this as a research opportunity to understand more about online learning as well as a way of connecting with a whole new range of students."

Making that connection is a point that Andrew Ng picks up on: "Some universities are creating MOOCS to expand their research and deliver education to those that would otherwise simply not have access."

Whatever the arguments, there seems come consensus that MOOCS have a role complimenting more traditional methods of learning, rather than replacing them.

Jade posts: " I don’t think we can give up on face to face interaction , but a blended model is obviously needed to respond to things shifting online and time pressures.

"Lectures still need to inspire, to stand out and to offer students a reason to attend".

Latest poll results indicate that almost 60 percent of unijammers do not think that MOOCS are a fad. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, according to you it looks like MOOCS will be around to stay.

How UniSA can prepare you for the career of your choice

10:00am 30 May

What are the true values of internships? How can you make your CV stand out from the rest of the pack? What attributes do you need to sell yourself to potential employers?

These are some of the vital questions Pauline Carr of Newmont Asia and David Knox of Santos are considering in this morning’s unijam topic on what employers look for in UniSA graduates.

Integrity, self-awareness, resilience – these appear to be the main buzzwords popping up in posts indicative of key personality traits that employers seek, and how those traits can be developed and enhanced through a student’s UniSA experience is what is pushing this conversation ahead.

For international students coming to Adelaide, there is also the question of how university can prepare them for study and work in a different country.

David Knox says: "International students require more support and it is important that universities offer opportunities for them to integrate, including networks and mentoring to ensure they are settled and are not struggling with the basics.

"Great students also have a broad life experience, this is especially important if you have been brought up in a great place such as Adelaide".

Aside from experience, the question of how critical it is to have good grades to secure employment is discussed, as is the value of postgraduate qualifications.

Join the conversation now and raise any questions you may have about the steps you may need to take to reach the job of your dreams.

Cracker start to unijam conversation

8:00am 30 May

Unijam activity was phenomenal on day one, with more than 7000 people posting comment which will help shape the future of UniSA.

The forum attracting the highest level of conversation was the the Crossing the Horizon forum – featuring NASA Administrator Major General Charles Bolden and Premier Jay Weatherill – which attracted 1200 posts at midday alone, with numerous posts continuing to flow across the afternoon.

The student experience was another popular forum, with 800 posts logged around lunch time and then again around 5pm – but the forum received steady input across the afternoon.

Preparing graduates for the Asian Century

6:00am 30 May

We are in what has been dubbed the ‘Asian Century’ but how do universities change so they are aligned with what has been set out in the Government’s Asian Century White Paper?

Many jammers have called for better ways to connect with Asia both overseas and at home and there have been plenty of ideas on how to make this happen. Suggestions ranged from creating shared international and domestic student accommodation in Adelaide to designing an Asian Studies degree and a compulsory cross cultural course for all university students.

Connecting UniSA classes with classes in Asian universities was another popular idea, as was developing a ‘language lounge’ on campus where students go to speak a specific language at a designated time. Developing links with Asian universities through collaborative research and exchanges was also a common theme.

Creating an on campus social entrepreneurial hub

05:30am 30 May

Campus changesMaking UniSA a hub for social entrepreneurship is one big idea to come out of the jam. Jammers have suggested creating a space where successful social entrepreneurs, start ups and the wider community can come together to develop their ideas.

Guest jammer Dan Ryan says: "I think one of the keys to making the 'innovation through collaboration' concept work is having a few 'solutions' that are at different stages of maturity. A roomful of start-ups doesn't provide the diversity required for success.

"If you're willing to put up the space and leverage funding, we could get a few successful social entrepreneurial initiatives to join and get the ball rolling."

Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says social entrepreneurship is an area where ‘UniSA can be truly differentiated.’

Our people are the future

04:35am 30 May

Day one of unijam has seen many jammers come forward with views on University staff.

From suggestions to revise the existing staff funding model, to introducing an exchange program for staff between international universities.

There was a call to get the balance right between the numbers of academic and administrative staff.

A suggestion was floated that senior management sign a contract to stay at the University for at least seven years while another jammer said a greater number of women should be appointed to these roles.

Our wireless university

02:55am 30 May

The Ipad – is it a toy or an educational tool? Should learning take place online, offline or both? These are just some of the discussions taking place as jammers talk about the impact of technology on universities.

Some jammers would like to see all students given an Ipad so that everyone has access to the same technology while others believe the University should subsidise a student’s choice of laptop or tablet.

There has also been some lively debate on whether learning should be taking place online or face to face. Many jammers argue students learn better in a face to face environment. But as guest jammer Paul Wappett, CEO of Open Universities Australia, points out:

"Online offers even more scope for us to test the comprehension of the subject matter on a regular basis and give us more insight into those students who are not keeping up."

One idea for a way forward could be ‘hi-flex’ courses, in which students choose on a week to week basis whether they will be attending classes in person or online.

What's the one thing you would change about UniSA?

01:26am 30 May

Changing thingsThis thread attracted more than 600 posts on day one of unijam. It spurred a flurry of suggestions and spawned several emerging ideas. Some comments were deemed controversial, and possibly hit some nerves, but every comment has its place and will be heard.

Much discussion was had around the need to reduce red tape and internal bureaucracy. There was a strong message for UniSA to strive to be more innovative and flexible, and move beyond our comfort zone. And many suggestions were made around delivery of teaching and learning including how to improve exams and lectures.

One very popular idea: make unijam-style forums a regular event.

What would you do if you were VC for a day? Let’s start talking about how we can implement these ideas.

Meaningful connections at UniSA and abroad

11:20pm 29 May

Creating a connection with students at the start of their university journey is important in establishing ongoing connections with the alumni network after graduation. This is one of the key themes emerging from the unijam right now.

Graduates from around the globe are logging in to share their views on staying connected with the University after graduation. From France, Dylan Kissane has suggested an ‘alumni phonebook’ while in Canada graduate Julia Morton-Marr has proposed online events, lectures and Google Hangouts hosted by the University. From Japan, graduate Thangavadivel Kandasamy wants social media to be used to better connect UniSA’s international network of graduates.

Other suggestions include getting alumni involved in current students’ lectures, mentoring programs, ongoing career services and targeted communications.

Meanwhile most jammers are stressing the importance of creating a connection during a student’s days at university. As current student Bethany Beggs-Brown says:

"A University's alumni is only as good as the experiences they have had as students of the University."

Taking the Polls

8:15pm 29 May

Unijam gives you the opportunity to vote on some critical issues across the span of the jam.

The final poll results will be delivered at the end of the jam but you can feel the pulse of our jammers views as the jam unfolds.

To date providing community experiences is leading as one of the best ways to improve the international student experience.

The top reason why students have not studied offshore is cost running at 43 per cent.

The top way to encourage Indigenous research is seen as developing links with the community by 57 per cent.

And the latest poll shows that 73 per cent of jammers believe we should teach Mandarin at undergraduate level at UniSA.

You can go into the unijam at anytime and vote in the polls.

Engaging with the community

7:45pm 29 May

Dr Susannah Eliott CEO of the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) thought "it does seem fitting that a youthful university should take a keen interest in the process of ageing. There are of course a lot of researchers across the country working on dementia and issues related to ageing (we have at least 100 in our database). It would be good if this Centre could somehow utilise the knowledge of other stars in this area, despite them being at other universities. I like the idea of a place where elderly people can go to get information and find out about the latest research.

Former Premier of South Australia, Lynn Arnold added: "Another issue which strikes me as important is that of 'co-design' - The relationship of an institution with community should always be premised on a premise of equality - that necessitates examining how that relationship can involve principles of 'co-design' and 'co-governance' ... This is a very important task for government to be addressing in its relationship with community, the question arises here as to how such principles could be followed by universities in their engagement with community. It could be said that a 'porous community' implies a two-way flow. For those sections of the university that currently engage with community, how would they describe that relationship? Could they identify these principles of 'co-design' and 'co-governance' in the relationship? If not, how would they justify their absence?"

Former Prime Minister the Hon Bob Hawke AC summed it up when speaking of philanthropy: "I think we in UniSA have a terrific story to tell - we should tell that story and ask those with the financial capacity to help us build further on our strengths."

Int. students accommodation ‘on the agenda’

5:45pm 29 May

International studentsThe possibility of the University of South Australia establishing its own accommodation facilities for international students was one of the items relating to global education that was floated during today’s unijam discussions.

Students who have experienced on-campus living facilities at overseas institutions voiced their support, and pointed out that it added significantly to their international student experience.

"This is definitely on the UniSA agenda," Deputy Vice Chancellor: International and Advancement Nigel Relph posted in response to a suggestion during unijam.

"As you say it is vital for a good international student experience, but also in my view we are simply not competitive in the international student market place. Watch this space."

The topic will doubtless be revisited during tomorrow’s (Thursday) unijam session which is entitled ‘Exploring student accommodation – do we need student housing?’

Among the other international student topics discussed during today’s unijam conversations were:

  • Ways of better engaging international students in campus and community life, as well as in industry engagement and employability
  • The importance of Australia’s historic educational connections with Europe and the US, as well as the crucial focus on Asia
  • Scholarship opportunities for international students
  • The merits of universities establishing offshore campuses

Of fame and funding

5:30pm 29 May

Winning Australian government competitive research funding is an increasingly tough gig, on this unijammers agree. The notion of changing things up a bit and seeking funding directly from industry won some popular support today in the jam.

Jammers also agreed that to win funding universities need to build fame and reputation. Discussion leader Prof Byron Sharp believes becoming Australia’s most famous university might just be achievable with the end goal of tripling research income.

The goal is to have an association between UniSA and great research. So communicating the success of our science, the quality of our researchers and our capacity to partner industry are all vital.

One suggestion has been to appoint a Professor of the Public Understanding of Science as they have at Oxford University which won some support among unijammers. There is still time to contribute your ideas to this thread in the unijam. You can look for this conversation under the Industry-informed research and innovation forum in unijam.

The real value of philanthropy

4:30pm 29 May

Amongst the debates that Unijam has started today, philanthropy has caused some noise. What motivates someone to lend their support to an institution? The question has brought comment from philanthropists, politicians and those close to writing a cheque.

Dr Beate Schuler, Philanthropist and international businesswoman,is known for her role in co-founding and directing the Irish pharmaceutical company Iropharm Ltd in 1981. Dr Schuler has now turned her focus to philanthropic pursuits and is a strong believer in the value of education. She has made many generous contributions to several universities, funding both science research and scholarships.

"It is the responsibility to give something back to society in the hope to strengthen it. There is also the side-effect of the fun you get in being involved in certain projects and seeing them prosper. I think the latter is an important aspect when trying to encourage potential donors," she said.

Responding to the suggestion that, in Australia, there was an expectation that governments should carry the cost of universities, former Prime Minister, the Hon Bob Hawke AC, said that philanthropy came from "a sense of commitment to help create a better society and to give others the opportunity to achieve, as they themselves have achieved."

Premier Weatherill's plan for a vibrant Adelaide

4:15pm 29 May

The University of South Australia will play a pivotal role in the transformation of Adelaide’s West End as the city’s thriving biomedical and research precinct continues to take shape, Premier Jay Weatherill told today’s unijam.

"UniSA's City West campus is in a really exciting part of the city, with the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and SAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) within the emerging biomedical precinct," Mr Weatherill said.

"Thousands of workers will transform this part of the city and this represents a fantastic opportunity for UniSA."

Mr Weatherill made his observation during a discussion entitled Vibrant City, in which a number of ideas for improving the amenity, safety and ambience of the City West precinct were aired.

They included:

  • Access to bike paths and free bike hire
  • Creation of community gardens and rooftop spaces
  • Development of an open air central plaza
  • Opening up of green corridors that link City West to the new hospital and the river

Mr Weatherill also expressed his delight at being a part of unijam, saying: "Since becoming Premier, I’ve sought new ways of involving people in decision making that affects them – that’s why it’s great to be involved in unijam."

Unijam - its trending

3:45pm 29 May

Unijam is making its mark in the twittersphere.  At 3.30 pm today the jam was trending on Twitter in Adelaide, creating a real buzz around one of the biggest conversations ever held in the city.

Since unijam went live this morning there's been an average of 600 unique jammers commenting per hour and almost 5000 unique visits to the unijam website.

Simple things improve student experience

3:31 pm 29 May

Student experiencesIt's not necessarily creature comforts that will keep students on campus according to unijam discussions with jam host Roger Eston. While some students are looking for a Qantas club facility with all the bells and whistles, others just want to feel comfortable on campus.

Bean bags, couches, bars, power docks for charging electronic equipment and more green spaces are high on the list, but also some very specific requests for halal food, spots to play chess and checkers and either somewhere to exercise or regular exercise groups. One of the biggest desires was for a patch of grass so it seems it is a combination of simple things that keep students on campus.

One alumni commented – "When I was a student, I wanted to feel like I belonged. Even if I was by myself studying, knowing that this place I had was 'mine' and that there was 'something to come to' made me want to come back."

Do you agree – is it the simple things that will make a difference. Add your ideas to the The Student Experience conversation on unijam.

Industry placements

2:05pm 29 May

A popular idea on unijam at the moment is creating more industry placements for staff and/or postgraduate students.

What do you think? There's still time to register and have your say.

Polling now

01:05pm 29 May

What do you think is UniSA's most important research goal? In one of our unijam polls, 61% of respondents so far think knowledge is the most important research goal.

And what about the most important education priority? 37% have voted societal benefits as the most important priority for education.

Polls are still open.

Linking employers and graduates

12:57pm 29 May

Professor Alan Evans with Catherine KlimesWhat do employers want and what do students need?

UniSA's newly appointed Provost and Chief Academic Officer Professor Allan Evans says he is really interested in distinguishing between what we can do as a uni compared to what we should do.

"I would suspect that one thing we could do is support students to understand the type of organisation that would fit them (rather than try to shape a square peg for the round hole)," Prof Evans has jammed.

UniSA Proud

12:24pm 29 May

Lots of support for more UniSA merchandise to be available. And how about getting students involved in creating a funky range? Check out the current range.

The campus experience

11:35am 29 May

Uni bars at Magill and Mawson Lakes have been a popular topic so far. It seems staff and students want a place to interact with each other and give them a reason to stay on campus and socialise.

And it's not just about bars, there's a sense of wanting more informal meeting places on campus with a wider variety of facilities and activities.

Check out the ‘student experience' forum to join the conversation.

Future of universities

11:12am 29 May

Stanford University Professor John HennessyShould UniSA adopt a 3+2 education model where a general degree is studied before an area of specialisation is chosen? There's been lots of discussion about this in the unijam first session of the day.

Also, in this thread is a discussion about preparing students for lifelong learning. President of Stanford University, John Hennessy when talking about preparing students for jobs of the future (maybe jobs that don't exist yet!), quoted Alvin Toeffler "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn".

Thousands gearing up to join the jam

10:38am 29 May

Vice Chancellor Professor David LloydBetween now and Friday, almost 7000 people in more than 50 countries will be joining unijam to share their thoughts and ideas on the future of the University of South Australia.

From political leaders to ambassadors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders, staff and students, the variety of those who have registered to jam, and the number of online topics they will engage in today and tomorrow will help shape UniSA's future over the next decade.

More than 2,000 postgraduate and undergraduate students will be sharing their thoughts, alongside a similar number of UniSA academic and professional members of staff from across all of the University's campuses.

Researchers constitute the largest group who are due to jam and nearly a third more women than men are expected to take part. Those aged in their thirties are expected to be the most popular jammers.

University Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd said: "We have had a fantastic response in registrations over the past month, but right now and over the next two days is the time to login, connect and share your views on the future of UniSA."

Registration extended

9:47am 29 May

Registration extendedWe've extended the registration period for unijam. There's still time to be part of our largest online brainstorming session.

Staff, students, alumni, university friends – what do you want for the future of UniSA?

Campuses are ready to jam

9:45am 29 May

Campuses ready to jamStaff and students joined the Vice Chancellor at our metropolitan campuses yesterday for the unijam launch parties.

And thousands have registered to take part and have their say.