Sunday, January 14, 2007

End Week Reflections

Photo: Gordon Smith, Cattle on the Long Paddock. I really do bless the day that Gordon gave me approval to use his fantastic photos from his photo blog. I can nearly always find a story link to allow me to use the photo I want.

The week began with my email inbox peaking at 750. It's now down to a mere 450, so that's progress. I am planning to halve this tomorrow morning!

I have spent a fair bit of time this week looking at education and training issues.

Last Sunday I put up a short post on the Regional Living Australia blog on Charles Darwin University, one of what I hope will be a series of short posts on various universities located in Regional Australia.

In preparation I have been trawling through various university sites looking at press releases on university activities. I find this interesting because of what it tells me about differences between universities driven in part by their differing regions.

On that same Sunday I put up a post on this blog looking in part at the the treatment of HSC students by New England's universities. This followed my earlier analysis of the impact of HSC and UAI processes. One unexpected outcome of my latest analysis was my conclusion that students located in New England were to some degree advantaged as compared to Sydney based HSC students.

I continued the education theme on Monday with a post on the Managing the Professional Services Firm blog reflecting on professional practice within professional services. My starting focus here was on the various knowledge domains relating to professional practice, moving then to look at a case study on optometry vs ophthalmology as an example. This is an interesting example because it shows the way in which competency based approaches can affect relationships between separate but related professions.

Mid week the education theme continued with a meeting of a small joint venture that I chair, although I did not in fact finally attend this meeting because of another unexpected development. The JV is interesting because it combines a law firm and a not for profit that specialises in assisting charities in the development of new approaches to estate planning incorporating community accountability. A first training course jointly promoted by the JV and the University of Technology (Sydney) targeting financial planners is due to run later this year.

Thursday continued the education theme with two posts. The first post looked at competition among Sydney universities for top HSC students. The second begun Thursday but not completed until today was a very long op ed piece looking at problems in Australian higher education as I see them. My thanks here to Lexcen and Ninglun (Neil) for their very fast responses. I actually sweated blood on this second post trying to define my messages properly, so their responses made me feel the effort was worthwhile.

With this week's posts I have now completed a large number of posts on education and training in general, higher education in particular. It's been niggling at me. There is more that I could say, but I am conscious that I have started but but not completed other themes.

On a related issue, Dave Lee has asked me if I would like to join the blog squad editing the US Learning Circuits blog. This approach followed an earlier education and training discussion theme looking at differences in approaches between countries. I would like to do so, but am thinking through time issues.

The week hasn't all been education and training, with my wandering eye taking me in several other directions as well.

Earlier I wrote several posts looking at different aspects of Aboriginal history, life and experience. On Wednesday on the New England Australia blog I put up a brief post on the work of Dick Estens, a Moree cotton farmer, in creating employment opportunities for Aboriginal kids. I liked this story because it is a success story in the midst of so much negative reporting.

In another story on New England, Australia I reported on the death of David Armstrong, a Bingara boy who went to the University of New England and then onto a long and sometimes colourful career during which he was variously active in adult education and as head of various charities including Community Aid Abroad. He was also one of the founders of the Australian Democrats. While David was older than me, he was already a staff member at UNE when I started as a student, his story really resonated with me because I shared some of the same experiences and could understand some of the things that drove him.

In the midst of all this I continued my tours of the blogosphere, focused especially on my traditional favourites. There were many things worthy of comment, but I will pick these up in a later blog review.

It may be hard to believe, but the week wasn't all blogging!

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