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NCSEHE Roundup - 28 February 2017

Cathy Stone presentation - Improving Participation, Success and Retention in Online Higher Education

We have had a busy few weeks with visits to NCSEHE by Senior Research Fellow Dr Nadine Zacharias and 2017 Visiting Research Fellow Dr Cathy Stone, as well as the release of the first two reports from 2016 NCSEHE Research and Grant Program. 

On Thursday 6th February, NCSEHE welcomed Dr Cathy Stone to present her findings on improving participation, success and retention in online higher education.

The presentation provided an overview of a national project now in its final stages, investigating the effectiveness of practices, support and retention strategies in online learning at Australian universities and at the Open University UK. Cathy discussed the background to this project, its findings and outcomes.

Cathy's presentation slides, and her 'Draft Guidelines for Improving Student Outcomes in Online Learning' are available on the NCSEHE website.

One month into their projects, the 2017 Equity Fellows are making good progress and are on track to meet their first month outcomes.

Each has coordinated their placement times with the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and two Fellows will begin their placements in March following each other’s placement. Each Fellow has an expert group of advisors overseeing their projects.

Associate Professor James Smith and Matt Brett held their first Advisory Board meetings on Friday 24th February. Louise Pollard will hold her first Advisory Board meeting in April. She is currently seeking an Australian university practitioner to participate in elements of her 2017 Fellowship including the study tour to Canadian universities and participation in the 2017 Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) Conference. Further information can be found here.

The National Priorities Pool (NPP) 2016 project, 'Widening Regional & Remote Participation: Interrogating outreach programs across Queensland', involving the NCSEHE, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Western Australia, is making good progress. The project will explore the impact of HEPPP-funded widening participation activities in schools serving low SES background, regional and remote students and build on understanding the factors–both program-related and external–that affect their participation in higher education.

The first research reports from the 2016 NCSEHE Research and Grant Program were released this month.

'Regional Student Participation and Migration', led by Associate Professor Buly Cardak from La Trobe University, is an Australian-first study, revealing regional students across every state and territory are turning to metropolitan universities at an unprecedented rate.

'Access to higher education: Does distance impact students’ intentions to attend university?', led by Dr Grant Cooper from RMIT University, assessed the impact of geographical location and other background factors linked to achievement (such as socio-economic status [SES]) on students’ intentions to enrol in higher education.

NCSEHE will be hosting Dr Anna Bennet and Associate Professor Seamus Fagan for a seminar on 9th March 2017.

We are looking forward to welcoming Associate Professor Seamus Fagan and Dr Anna Bennett from the University of Newcastle to join us on Thursday 9th March. They will be running a session, 'Access and Widening Participation at the University of Newcastle: Synergies, Strengths and Challenges for Enabling Programs', incorporating group discussion to identify collective areas of interest and focus. RSVP by Monday 6th March to ncsehe@curtin.edu.au. 

Dr Nadine Zacharias and I will be attending the Universities Australia Higher Education Conference 2017 in Canberra from 1st to 3rd March.

Nadine will contribute to 'Access and Equity—Showcase of Achievements' and NCSEHE Chair, Erin Watson-Lynn will be a panellist in the closing plenary, 'The Graduate—Entrepreneurs in Action'.

We look forward to seeing many of our colleagues there.

Kind regards
Professor Sue Trinidad
National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education

Equity is no longer an option - it's an imperative

Erin Watson-Lynn

In an article for HIGHER ED.ITION (Universities Australia), NCSEHE Chair, Erin Watson-Lynn discusses student equity in higher education. She stresses the need for equity to be squarely at the centre of economic and educational policy with a "strategic and responsive" education system which has the "vision, imagination and the courage to lead the way".

Building on the ten 'Conversations' identified at the Facilitating An Innovative Future Through Equity Forum, Erin identifies seven strategies that could be embedded into higher education policy in her article, 'Equity is no longer an option – it’s an imperative'.

Initial teacher education online throws a curve ball to teacher workforce planners

An article published this month by ACER Research Director Dr Daniel Edwards and ACER Senior Research Fellow Dr Paul Weldon identifies a trend towards online study in teacher education, which may have implications for state and territory governments when estimating their teaching workforce.

The article, ‘Understanding teacher supply: Where do online Initial Teacher Education students fit?', published in the Australian Journal of Education, reports that completions of online study increased by 57 per cent between 2005 and 2013.

Making 'good' choices: the impact of entitlement models on upskilling in later life

New research published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research looked at the responsiveness of individuals to government subsidies designed to support upskilling through the Victorian Training Guarantee.

Cain Polidano, Justin van de Ven and Sarah Voitchovsky from Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research reported positive outcomes from national training entitlements for government-subsidised training places in their report, 'Making ‘good’ choices: the impact of entitlement models on upskilling later in life'.