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Student assessments that bring tears to my eyes: The next generation of teachers

Assessment in Higher Education can be a punishing and torturous time in an academic’s life. It is punishing as a large volume of student work is expected to be graded and their results uploaded in extremely short periods of time. Such expectations demand that this work is done over hours which extend well beyond when our loved ones are sleeping, as well as when they are awake and expect some love. Assessment can also be torturous, as if the tasks are not well considered and creatively constructed the monotonous recount of key quotes or really important information retold more than three hundred times can be mind numbingly painful. This piece however, focuses on the joy of assessment, and my recent immersion into the thinking of our future teachers.

Speech Limitations, Social Media and Women's Rights



'There is a belief that is alarmingly wide-spread that you can say what you want on the internet without any consequences, and while I'm an advocate for freedom of expression, I know that's absolutely not the case' (Julie Posetti).


The case of murdered Melbourne woman Jill Meagher has received unprecedented media attention. Many people became aware of her story and were traumatised by its tragic end. In the wake of Jill's death some people turned to social media to express their grief and anger, but after being told their comments could affect the trial people faced the question of what they could and should say online. 


'Freedom of speech for a more just environment': WikiLeaks

'We've exposed the worlds secrets. Been attacked by the powerful. For 500 days now I've been detained without charge, but that hasn't stopped us' (Julian Assange in the opening to The Julian Assange Show).


The Assange story has fascinated people around the world - so much so that we now have documentaries, shows and books that tell his story. However, with much media coverage increasingly focusing on Mr Assange's presence at the Ecuadorean embassy in London (and accusations that he is an 'enemy of the state' in the US), it is possible that our attention has been diverted away from what he has sacrificed his personal safety and security for. 


“The Armstrong Stench – Surely the Sgt Schultzes of Cycling Australia Must Have Smelt It”

How did Lance Armstrong get away with it?

It is a question for the ages, and one that is a key to a lot of doors that have sat quietly locked for years, but which are now being thrown wide open.

It is a matter of little White lies, and great big black ones more than it is about the blood, or the science of drug testing and evading that testing.

Above all, the stench of a hidden hand, or maybe a not so hidden hand, remains.

It is clear to all except maybe Blind Freddy that Lance Armstrong ran the most managed and professional doping system ever seen in professional sport.

The Armstrong Effect and above all the Armstrong Stench … surely The Sergeant Schultzes of Cycling Australia must have smelt it?

Why are Tamils Fleeing SRi Lanka?

Among the many claims that about ‘boat people’ that are made in order to fulfil particular political agendas, one is that when a war is officially concluded then people who live in the once afflicted area have nothing more to worry about. As a result, they do not have a legitimate claim for protection against persecution.

If people flee such an area, the assumption is that they are ‘economic’ refugees, hoping to ‘queue jump’ in order to secure a better life for themselves. This has been the claim made about refugees fleeing Sri Lanka. This claim is morally wrong and it is wrong in fact.

From 1983 until 2009, a number of Tamil groups, eventually coming under the banner of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers), fought a bitter, bloody and often ruthless war to establish a separate ethnic Tamil state in Sri Lanka’s north and east. The war was a consequence of earlier anti-Tamil rioting.

Occupy: The Future

‘The Occupy movement is an extremely exciting development. In fact, it’s kind of spectacular. It’s unprecedented…Occupy is the first major public response to 30 years of class war’ (Noam Chomsky, ‘Occupy’)

'Antisocial Media?' Regulating Digital Selves

The consequences of communication via social media continue to be met with ambiguity, from accusations that it is making us cruel, to fears that it will have unknown impacts on generations to come. People are unsure about whether social media is good or bad for us.


'Tow Back' Tony rows backwards

There are a number of ways to interpret Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s failure to raise his asylum seeker ‘tow back’ proposal in his meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, but none of them are positive. In short, the ‘town back’ proposal was – and in so far as it continues to be defended by Opposition speakers – remains a policy disaster.

In a political contest increasingly characterised by who has the metaphorically hairiest chest, ‘Tow Back Tony’ has been a tough-guy par excellence. Not only had Mr Abbott taken the hardest line on asylum seekers, he went that one step further by not just saying that a government under his leadership would implement asylum seeker deterrent policies but it would physically take asylum seeker boats back to the territorial waters they came from.

Weighing in on the best diet

In the search for the solution to the growing waistlines of Australians, many popular diets have been tried and eventually discarded. There are literally hundreds of dieting books and programs to choose from, with many popular ones substantially departing from mainstream nutrition and medical advice.

So should it be low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-protein, low-glycaemic index, small meals or any one of a myriad of other popular dieting approaches? The scientific jury is now firmly in with dozens of high-quality randomised controlled trials showing that no one dieting option is the magic solution for everyone.

State of the evidence
Apart from some short-term success for particular approaches, mostly low-carbohydrate diets, all of the popular dieting approaches fare poorly in terms of weight loss, weight maintenance and adherence once the 6-month milestone is passed.

Burma's reform process more than just window dressing

For long-term Burma watchers, it has been easy to regard that country’s recent political changes as window dressing by an authoritarian regime hoping to attract investment without actually giving up power. There is no doubt, too, that the 2010 elections remained a very long way from being free and fair.

But the bi-elections in April this year did appear to offer a glimpse of a genuine reform process, with opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) candidates winning 43 of the 44 seats contested. Burma’s President Thein Sein has since been feted around the world as a reformer, as has NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi as the symbol of hoped-for political change.

Since April, there have been numerous changes in Burma’s political and military leadership. To date, these changes have almost all seen the promotion of reformist officers or former officers and the side-lining of the government’s anti-reform faction.


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