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.
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.
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:
Read more detail here.
For more information contact Professor Maurice Pagnucco, m.pagnucco (at) unsw.edu.au
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The TEQSA statistical summary report for 2014 university statistics
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
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:
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.
[Roberts part 4: What is the nature of the enrollment expansion today?]
The ACS / Deloitte Access Economics report on Australia's digital economy and workforce is released 16 March 2016
Australia's Digital Pulse 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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).
The Annual Council Meeting was held at UC in July
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 Australian Teacher from the ACDICT President, Professor Iwona Miliszewska, April 2015; also published in Education HQ in March 2015
Joint letter to Minister Pyne and others, December 2014
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
Blog of ACDICT members concerning STEM, October 2014
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
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
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
Revised Action Plan re ICT Skills V2
ALTA Forum held 8–9 May 2014 at UTS
Presentations, attendees, evaluation and outcomes on Events page
February 2014 re ICT jobs of the future
ACDICT President, ICT and Digital Frontiers - the new future (January 2014)
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
A joint statement from ACDICT, ACDS and DASSH
The Annual Council Meeting endorsed the Action Plan re ICT skills
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
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.
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.
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 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):
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.
University of Canberra