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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>
and summarised in The Australian:
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 study, considered the largest of its type, concludes that “course-based research experiences” boost the likelihood of graduating with science, technology, engineering and maths degrees by up to 32 per cent.

They also discourage students from switching into non-STEM majors or delaying completion of their degrees.
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."
--------Early Engagement in Course-Based Research Increases Graduation Rates and Completion of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Degrees

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.

http://www.olt.gov.au/project-plagiarism-and-related-issues-assessments-not-involving-text-2012

(declaration of interest: I was one of the authors - ACDICT Executive Officer Chris Johnson)


May 2016


Office of Learning and Teaching Fellowships 2016

The last set of OLT fellowships have been announced (16 May 2016).
Two are of particular interest to ICT education:
  • Anne Gardner (UTS) Professional identity and agency: changing the way STEM students think about their learning and development
  • Jo Coldwell-Neilson (Deakin)  Unlocking the code to digital literacy
The Seed and Development Grants announced January 2016 included (among several projects of interest across all disciplines)
  • Contract cheating and assessment design: exploring the connection (project leader Tracey Bretag) University of South Australia, Griffith University, UNSW, University of Sydney, Swansea University (UK)


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.
Thanks for all those who contributed to the survey: it was very useful to have concurrent views on very similar surveys from educators and industry.

Some of the specific actions that will be considered include:

  • Developing a reciprocal exchange program between university academics and industry.
  • Establishing a national annual review process between ICT faculties and industry that identifies the core and emerging issues in the technology sector.
  • Setting out a common understanding of key graduate attributes.
  • Collaborating on the implementation of for-credit work integrated learning at the national scale in ICT; aligning with the National Strategy on Work Integrated Learning.
  • Developing best practice guidelines for the effective operation of industry advisory boards in universities.
There was strong support for the establishment of a standing national-level body of ICT leaders from industry and universities.

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.
The ARC says:

The purpose of this consultation is to seek the views of stakeholders on the framework for developing the national assessment of the engagement and impact of university research. It provides an overview of the Government’s policy rationale, parameters, and key issues regarding university research engagement and impact.

Feedback is invited from all stakeholders including the higher education research sector, industry and other end-users or beneficiaries of university research. In addition, the perspectives of industry and other end-users or beneficiaries of university research will be addressed through additional consultation mechanisms.

Stakeholders are asked to provide their views on the questions listed in this document. Please use the feedback template provided at Appendix A. Feedback should be provided by emailing the ARC at ARC-EI_consultation@arc.gov.au. The due date for stakeholder feedback is 24 June 2016.



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.
"The Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools (SMiS) and ICT in Schools: a partnership program (ICTiS) is a major national program involving teachers, students, scientists, mathematicians and ICT professionals. It not only has presence in a large number of schools but is significant as an exemplar for a national agenda in bringing schools and STEM professionals together in collaborative arrangements. The program is funded by the Australian Government and CSIRO, and managed by CSIRO."
"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.


April 2016


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 April.
Actions and conclusions will follow. In the meantime, Morri Pagnucco's analysis of the comparable surveys of industry and academics on the readiness of graduates is informative.
Here is a copy of the combined and analysed Survey Results.


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:

"Unsurprisingly, the IT industry offers the highest average salary of $118,753, closely followed by Healthcare and Nursing ($117,251) and Legal Services ($90,438)."

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/
Its headline is Average Salaries Drop and SA Ranked as The Worst Place to Find a Job (note that Canberra is the best place). Year on year, average salaries overall rose in NSW, Qld - and South Australia.


TEQSA statistical summary report for 2014 - release 2016

The TEQSA statistical summary report for 2014 university statistics
<http://www.teqsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication-documents/HEStatisticsReport2016_WEB.pdf>
amalgamates statistics across the whole sector. It does not enable institutions to be distinguished, but some sector wide numbers are significant:

1. EFTSL student loads by field of study shows a 10% increase in IT from 2013 to 2014, to 37,992. This is the strongest growth rate of any field of study of any sizeable base.  (page 4)
Other fields have at most 5% or 6% increases.
This counters the impression of the previous year's figures, as used by the last Chief Scientist at ACDICT 2015 Annual Council to conclude that ICT enrolments were lagging.
Anecdotal reports from Deans and Heads of Schools this year show general increases to have continued through 2015 and 2016.

2. The proportion of international IT students was 52% EFTSL - updated.
The first version of the report had an extraordinary claim that the proportion of international students and domestic students in the total (figure 4) showed  90% international enrolments in IT (as noted by Stephen Matchett in his Campus Morning Mail 20/4/16). TEQSA quickly corrected this when asked.
The spreadsheet figures are at
<http://www.teqsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication-documents/StatsReport2016Spreadsheets.xlsx>


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..
  Details of the program and copies of the slides for this forum



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.
The report is at <https://www.science.org.au/files/userfiles/support/reports-and-plans/2016/mathematics-decade-plan-2016-vision-for-2025.pdf>

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.

3.1 Australian universities should collaborate with the discipline to source seed funding for a new national research centre in the mathematical sciences with the objective of enhancing connectivity with industry and strengthening the international collaboration and visibility of Australian research in mathematics and statistics.

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.
<http://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/CSCapacity/>

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.
[Roberts part 4: What is the nature of the enrollment expansion today?]

Australia's Digital Pulse report 2016

The  ACS / Deloitte Access Economics report on Australia's digital economy and workforce is released 16 March 2016
Australia's Digital Pulse 2016

http://www.acs.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/96698/PJ52569-Australias-Digital-Pulse-2016_LAYOUT_Final_Web.pdf

--------------------------------------------- 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.

Link above, or at
www.acdict.edu.au/documents/ACDICT%20IT%20Education%20Statistics2014-v4.pdf


Report on the future of work in Australia – 29/2/16


Tomorrow's Digitally Enabled Workforce is a seriously written 90+ page report by the CSIRO-NICTA group Data61, supported by the ACS, ANZ Bank, Australian Government Department of Employment, and Boston Consulting Group.
joint report on the future of work on Australia. Not a policy document but projected futures to inform the discussion about the future, in an attempt to get a smooth transition as the nature of work changes.
The launch of the report was reported in ACS Information Age, and included succinct points made by some of the sponsors: “I think the biggest risk is we’re creating a lot of traction in promoting STEM and ICT but we don’t create the employment." said Patrick Maes from ANZ Bank.

ACS Employment Survey for 2015 – 29/2/16


A separate ACS report is just published on its Employment Survey 2015.
This report gives a picture of the current ICT workforce that can inform universities' positions on ICT workers' patterns of employment - and unemployment - in the past few years, breaking the figures down by gender, area of industry, hours worked (academics are not the longest working hours in ICT)...
 and some indication of job prospects. Age, gender and ethnicity discrimination. and towards the end, qualifications - at what level and whether in ICT or other.

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

A new report finds that barely one in 20 Australian science under­graduates experience work- integrated learning placements during the course of their studies.
And just over 10 per cent have any sort of industry exposure.
At the other end of the spectrum, three out of four information technology students are involved in industry-oriented projects while one in three agriculture and environmental science students enjoy some kind of industry placement."

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
which refers to the full report for the Office of Chief Scientist, published in Work Integrated Learning in STEM in Australian Universities.


Teaching coding in schools -  Infographic on the USA issues

Shane Ryan <sryan@datascience.smu.edu> "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/


Breaking News

 

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.
The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Mary O'Kane, and Prof Ian Burnett, Dean of Engineering and IT at UTS, both commented on the desirability of studying maths at school for students' future careers. [At the ACS Reimagination 2015 conference, reported in the ACS Information Age.]
Geoff Prince from Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute develops his view on prerequisites at more length, in the AMSI Update ed. 2. with contributions from Ian Chubb and Alan Finkel (outgoing and incoming Australian Chief Scientists).


Members Newsletter update November 2015

Newsletter Nov 2015

Annual Council Meeting, July 6–7, 2015

The Annual Council Meeting was held at UC in July

Details on Events page.
A new Executive was elected, including a new Treasurer.

ACDICT Executive Officer retires

Tony Koppi who has been the Executive Officer of ACDICT since it was founded has decided to retire from the position. Adjunct Associate Professor Chris Johnson is the new Executive Officer. The Executive Officer contact email remains EO@acdict.edu.au

 

Article in The Conversation from ACDICT Immediate Past President, Professor Leon Sterling, 21 May, 2015

An education for the 21st century means teaching coding in schools

 

Article in The Australian Teacher from the ACDICT President, Professor Iwona Miliszewska, April 2015; also published in Education HQ in March 2015

Computational skills: the 4th literacy of the 21st century

 

Joint letter to Minister Pyne and others, December 2014

Letter from AIIA, ACDICT and other key professional associations to Australian Federal and State Ministers re the Australian ICT Curriculum in schools

Letter from Engineering Associations re technologies curriculum in Australian schools

 

STEM pipeline for the digital economy

Report from the Digital Economy Round Table, 8 October 2014, Melbourne

 

ALTA Forum, University of Canberra, 9–10 April 2015

See Events page for details, including attendees (34 participants from 27 universities), presentations, related materials, evaluation and hot topic summaries

 

Press Release, proposed cuts to digital technologies in schools, 14 October 2014

ACDICT concerns over the federal government-commissioned school curriculum review

Reported in itnews for Australian Business 14 October 2014

Reported in Australian Financial Review 15 October 2014

Reported in ITWire 15 October 2014 and also in ITWire on 16 October 2014, and on Gateway ICT on 17 October 2014, and AFR on 18 October 2014

 

Blog of ACDICT members concerning STEM, October 2014

Discussions on reversing the declining trends in STEM participation

 

Chief Scientist launches STEM strategy, September 2014

STEM: Australia's Future

 

Press Release, new President and plans for 2014–15, July 2014

Professor Iwona Miliszewska outlines ACDICT priorities for 2014–15

 

Academic Mentors for ICT in Schools

An opportunity to mentor schoolteachers in ICT teaching via the CSIRO Partnership Scheme

A flyer for the CSIRO ICT Mentoring Scheme

 

New President of ACDICT: Professor Iwona Miliszewska, University of Canberra

Executive members

 

Press release re severe ICT teaching deficit, 12 June 2014

Severe ICT teaching deficit

AFR article on Shortage of qualified ICT teachers based on the press release, 16 June 2014

CIO article on Why technology education is not cutting it 17 June 2014

Related Education Review article: Supporting teachers for new ICT curriculum, June 2014

 

Annual Council Meeting, July 7–8, 2014

The Annual Council Meeting will be held at UNSW:

Level 1 Seminar Room, Building K17 (School of Computer Science and Engineering), Kensington Campus, UNSW. Campus map

Further details on Events page

 

ACDICT Action Plan re ICT Skills, Revised (V2) June 2014

Revised Action Plan re ICT Skills V2

 

ACDICT in the news 23 May 2014, Sydney Morning Herald

President Leon Sterling on ICT courses, the budget and enrolments

 

ALTA Forum held 8–9 May 2014 at UTS

Final agenda

Presentations, attendees, evaluation and outcomes on Events page

 

President's Blog:
February 2014 re ICT jobs of the future

 

ACDICT President, ICT and Digital Frontiers - the new future (January 2014)

http://swinburne.tumblr.com/post/72707779979/ict-by-any-other-name

 

Demand Driven System Review submission, December 2014
Submission from ACDICT to the DDS review recommending ICT as a priority discipline and provision of student incentives

 

Two Commissioned Good Practice Reports for 2013–2014
Aligned with the ACDICT Action Plan re ICT Skills, two Good Practice Reports have been commissioned from members of the ACDICT ICT community - details on the ALTA page

 

ARC joint letter re the role of supporting quality research, October 2013

A joint statement from ACDICT, ACDS and DASSH

 

ACDICT in the news, October 2013

Ramifications of outdated perceptions of the industry

 

Press release re ACDICT Action Plan on ICT skills, 25 July 2013

Australian Higher Education uptake of press release 26 July 2013

Computerworld uptake of press release 26 July 2013

 

ACDICT and Leon Sterling in The Age, 16 July 2013:

http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/expertise/complaints-aside-ict-graduates-in-demand-say-teachers-20130716-hv0wc.html

 

ACDICT Action Plan re ICT skills, July, 2013

The Annual Council Meeting endorsed the Action Plan re ICT skills

 

Annual Council Meeting, July, 2013

The Annual Council Meeting was held at the Fremantle Esplande Hotel, WA, during UA Common Week on Monday and Tuesday 8 & 9 July. Revised agenda (28June2013)

Further information on Events page

 

Final Report on ICT Education released


ALTC/OLT ICT Project 2013: Addressing ICT curriculum recommendations from surveys of academics, workplace graduates and employers


Project carried out by UOW (lead), Murdoch, Swinburne and UQ with authors: Tony Koppi, Philip Ogunbona, Jocelyn Armarego, Paul Bailes, Peter Hyland, Tanya McGill, Fazel Naghdy, GolshahNaghdy, Chris Pilgrim and Madeleine Roberts

 

 

 

 

Press release concerning ICT issues, 17 April 2013

Getting support for ICT right

 

ACDICT Learning and Teaching Academy (ALTA) Forum VU, 4–5 April 2013

Final agenda and presentations given

 

BHERT ICT event with ACDICT on 13 March 2013

 

ACDICT hosting Councils Summit Meeting, March 1, 2013

The annual summit of all the Councils of Deans has been organised by ACDICT for 2013. All Council members are eligible to attend the event after registering on the site indicated.

 

Response from ACDICT to AWPA ICT Workforce Issues Paper

Submitted to AWPA 8 February 2012

 

ICT promotional video for young people by young graduates

 

Digital White Paper joint submission from Swinburne and ACDICT

Digital White Paper submitted to Stephen Conroy on 10 January 2013

 

ICT Skills in the Workplace Forum

The ACDICT President, Leon Sterling, attended the ICT Skills in the Workplace Forum hosted by Senator Chris Evans at Parliament House on 21 November 2012. Key papers are on the Documents page.

 

ACDICT President, Leon Sterling, in the press in November 2012 regarding the perceptions of ICT and a lack of appreciation of the broad variety of ICT jobs.
The Age
Sydney Morning Herald
IT News

Australian Career Practitioner magazine, p10, Vol 23, Issue 4, summer 2012

 

Doctoral Consortium on ICT Education being supported by ACDICT on Tuesday January 29 prior to ACE 2013 at the University of South Australia.

 

Iwona Miliszewska featured in The Australian on 27 September 2012 concerning engineering and ICT.

 

Press release 28 August 2012 regarding the MoU between ACDICT and the ACS that was picked up by the Australian Higher Ed, and cio.com.au and Park Lane IT(@parklaneit) on Twitter

Article in Campus Review on 7 August 2012 by the ACDICT President, Professor Leon Sterling on "Teaching the Appy Generation"

Article in The Australian on 13 July 2012 by the ACDICT President, Professor Leon Sterling on "How can schools get kids engaged in IT"

 

Welcome from the President

Welcome to the website of the Australian Council of Deans of Information and Communications Technology (ACDICT) which was formed in July 2008. The Council represents all Australian universities and the many disciplines comprising Information and Communications Technology (ICT):

  • Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Software Engineering
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Systems Engineering
  • Telecommunications Engineering
  • and any other ICT related discipline

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.

Iwona Miliszewska
University of Canberra