Tag Archives: #OER

CHALLENGE – University Funding V.S. OERs

“Australia’s universities, like its wine, are decent and dependable, but seldom excellent.”

So said The Economist magazine, in a piece published online.

-Do you feel uncomfortable or even get angry about the quote?

Two solutions:

1. Follow the link to see the response from Australian tertiary education experts.

Are Australian universities “seldom excellent”? The experts respond

One Highlighted Response: Professor Simon Marginson, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne.

“It’s absolutely spot on. It’s a really good piece. I hope a lot of people read it.  Australia spends less in public funding on universities than almost every other country in the OECD. Australia spends 0.7% of GDP and the OECD average is 1.1% of GDP…”

2. Let’s unveil the TRUTH…

Higher Education Support Act 2003 

The Australian higher education system is seen to make a fundamental contribution to the future of Australia and plays a vital role in Australia’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social development. The higher education sector educates our future professional workforce, creates future leaders, provides jobs for Australians, drives much of our economic and regional success, and facilitates cultural and trade links with other countries. The sector plays a key role in the growing knowledge and innovation based economic health of Australia. It enriches our social and environmental landscape and promotes the tolerance debate that underpins Australian society.

However, Australian government cannot see “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”(Benjamin Franklin). Instead, have a look how the Federal Government plans to spend your money in 2012-13 following the link to the INTERACTIVE graphic and table below.

Interactive: Budget 2012, how it’s spent

After seeing the interactive graphic and table, for those who do not know much about Australian education funding must be shocked with a total budget of $29.6 billion on education, particularly with $8.9 billion for Higher Education and $4.1 billion for student assistance.

Australian higher education is crying for funding for research, infrastructure and a whole rage of support by the federal government. Ridiculously the Queen may still enjoy her Diamond Jubilee…

The Queen’s Cost – Do we really need a figurehead waving at us?

Australian academia cannot stand Royalists…

For those unclear:

“The Parliament consists of the Queen, represented by the Governor-General, and two Houses—the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Parliament also authorises the Executive Government (often simply called the Government or the Executive) to spend public money by agreeing to government proposals for expenditure and taxation, scrutinises the administrative actions of the Government and serves as a forum for the debate of public policy.”   – PARLIAMENT of Australia

Waste of money – Is it necessary?

BBC NEWS reports:

Over 1.2 billion pounds have been spent on the Queen’s diamond jubilee at a time of a worsening economic crisis. Read more…

The cost to the taxpayer of supporting the British monarchy has risen by £200,000 in the last financial year, Buckingham Palace accounts show. Read more…

ABC NEWS reports in July 2010:

It was revealed this week that in the last financial year the Queen spent $69 million – not including the costs of Royal security which are kept secret.

Money is spent on official functions, salaries for the Queen’s 1,200 staff, palace maintenance and travel.

The Royal train for instance, was used 19 times in 2009 with taxpayers shelling out an average $100,000 for each journey.

Australian universities hardship

CLOSE to one in five students drop out of Australian universities by the end of their first year. They blame unhappiness with the subjects they chose, financial hardship, failing courses and the opportunity to upgrade to a better institution for the high fallout rate. Read more…

According to the survey that TextbookFair have done recently at University of New South Wales and University of Sydney, students’ average spending of textbooks is $400 per semester. For the students whose majors are law, finance, accounting, biology, engineering etc. are even higher, around $600 on textbooks per semester. Indeed, most students complain about the unclear instruction of buying required textbooks – Lecturer would have only referred to the textbook a handful of times throughout the semester.

INCREASE in university funding, Efficient allocation of federal budget

Statistics from Australian Council of Social Service

Federal Budget 2012-2013 – Initial ACOSS Analysis

1. Government Revenue

2. Government Spending  (POOR education spending…only 8%…)


How much do you think Australian federal government should spend on Higher Education? Join the discussion! Tell us what you think!

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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337


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OERUniversity – Challenges and Possibilities

This is…”Open Learning 2.0”: Any student can study any content, supported in any number of instructional arrangements…The “local” institutional evaluation and accreditation…(remain) at the centre of the model…Even though learning is achieved through flexible arrangements, it can…still be rigorously assessed and credentialed. (Friesen and Murray 2011)

The OER university: from vision to realityCertification of Open Learning – a workshop with OERTest colleagues at EFQUEL.

“The OERuni is an international innovation partnership which aims to build a parallel learning universe to provide more affordable learning opportunities for all students worldwide who are currently excluded from the university sector. University Of Wollongong is a founding anchor partner of OERuni.”

Posted on the news section of UOW websit:

In the 1990s, before the internet was around, UOW was broadcasting free postgraduate lectures and documentaries three hours a day on Australian television and satellite to the Asia Pacific, under the banner of PAGE.

So what is happening on the Open Educational Resources (OER) front today?

More than 60 people attending an eLearning Forum on Open UOW held on 28 August (including staff through videoconference from Nowra and Bega) were provided the latest update. Guest speaker was Professor Wayne Macintosh who is the founding director of the OER Foundation and holds the Commonwealth of Learning Chair in OER at Otago Polytechnic. [The OER Foundation is co-ordinating the OERuni international network].

OERuni tends to encourage the national tertiary education as a whole. It is ideal if all the Australian universities join together in OERuni for the sake of learning, studying, sharing, improving and whole lots of initiatives and benefits. What makes me in a deep concern is the integration of OERuni and campus-based universities. Particularly when it comes to the sharing of textbooks and learning material. Academia should make the most use of virtual space for education. High cost of education should not be the reason to stop a learner’s step any more. A hybrid model of both virtual university and physical university is probably the idealist way to go in the future.

Related Links:

OER uni

-in UOW

-in WikiEducator

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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337


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Virtual University- ‘Building on iTunes U – Global Textbook Station’

If we have Internet, mostly I guess broadband Internet, why should we ridiculously spend hundreds of dollar on paper textbooks? How about establish a ‘virtual university’ for Open Educational Resource? Here, the ‘virtual university’ is not the same as online university for distant education to meet the demands of students who are not able to physically go to lectures or tutorials on campus. The ‘Virtual University’ is for Open Textbook – global-based educational resource station. In this international platform, university students learning the same or similar courses can join together to share and discuss their required textbooks and learning materials. Who will make these required textbooks accessible without students’ great amount of expenditure? The university, the government support, private law firms, philanthropist… Yes! We need their support! Is that possible? Let’s have a look at a possibly VirtualUniversity-to-be Model– iTunesU. (Maybe some of you or most of you have already experienced it).

iTunes U is basically more like a showroom for actual courses running at universities worldwide. It is indeed free of charge, allowing open subscription and review forum for anyone in the world. Though it’s still a bit far from ‘Virtual University’ in the perspective of Open Textbook, however, it’s much easier to achieve the goal of Open Textbook via building on iTunes U.

What I think is that each university that already existed in iTunes U publishes their Textbook lists according to requirements of different faculties. The access of Open Textbooks in iTunes U is controlled and limited by students’ ID (i.e. student number or Uni-pass). It means only students who have enrolled in the programs within universities can access the Textbooks Resource.

If ‘iTunes U-Global Textbook Station’ is able to be successfully established, it will dramatically increase the variety and accessibility of textbooks and learning materials which cannot be found or accessed in our own university. It will possibly leads a global study forum with professionals, educators and students to discuss and tackle the problems that experience during reading and studying the textbooks. As a result, it tends to give the editors and authors of the textbooks a much clearer and more reasonable direction of what should be improved and changed for ‘new editions’ rather than unnecessary minor changes for profit intentions.

How do you think the idea of ‘iTunes U-Global Textbook Station’?


Posted by on September 17, 2012 in #mdia3005, @TextbookFair, z3310337


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