University of Southern Queensland

The University of Southern Queensland gained University status in 1992. It is one of Australia’s leading providers of on-campus and distance education programs in Australia and is at the cutting edge of flexible delivery of resources and technology.

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Measures to close the gap in Indigenous education outcomes aren’t working. AAP

Closing the Gap in education report card: needs improvement

This year’s update on Closing the Gap presents a picture similar to 2014 in education - there is much work still to be done to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students…
A bright fireball over the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, ALMA, in Chile, marks the fiery death of a small grain of space debris, high in the atmosphere. ESO/C. Malin

Explainer: why meteors light up the night sky

Meteors have been seen since people first looked at the night sky. They are comprised of small pieces of debris, typically no larger than a grain of dust or sand, which continually crash into the Earth’s…
How do men feel about the way they are depicted on the covers of romance novels? Book Thingo

Gamergate and the bodice-ripper have little in common, with respect

Buttons open to the waist, skin gleaming with sweat, hair tousled, intriguing flashes of curves … men on the covers of classic romance novels, or “bodice rippers”, are objectified in many of the same ways…
Artist’s concept of the New Horizons spacecraft encountering Pluto and its largest moon, Charon (foreground) in July 2015. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

From Mercury to Pluto: the year ahead in planetary exploration

2015 is already shaping up to be a big year in astronomy and planetary exploration, with the best yet to come. Here are some highlights to keep your eye on throughout the year. Opportunity January 25 marked…
A group of excited observers during a peak of the Geminids meteor shower. Flickr/Tasayu Tasnaphun

Nature’s fireworks: the best meteor showers coming in 2015

Watching meteors in the night sky can be fun, although typically you only see a few flashes an hour. But there are certain times of the year when you can see many more – events known as meteor showers…
What happens when a Surrealist parlour game turns into a writing exercise that’s pubilshed? Can we truly call it a collaborative process? Wikimedia Commons

Exquisite Cadaver: useful writing experiment or just a good game?

Recently, The Conversation published what was described as “an experiment in collaborative writing” (featuring, among others, Dallas J Baker and Nike Sulway of this present article). The question behind…
While many use YouTube solely to watch videos of cats, increasing numbers use it for education and training. Phil

YouTube a valuable educational tool, not just cat videos

For many, YouTube is little more than a deluge of low-quality videos depicting the latest internet craze or conspiracy theory, perhaps some painful-looking accident, music videos and video-bloggers of…
The Western Treatment Plant in Werribee, Victoria, largely powers itself using biogas – a by-product of sewage treatment. Jason Patrick Ross/Shutterstock

Biogas: smells like a solution to our energy and waste problems

Could what we flush down the toilet be used to power our homes? Thanks to biogas technology, Australia’s relationship with organic waste – human and animal excreta, plant scraps and food-processing waste…
Artist’s impression of the planet Kepler 62-f which could lie in the habitable zone of its host star 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech

The tools needed to seek out new worlds out there in space

More than 1,000 exoplanets have now been discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope, announced NASA this month, and the figure continues to climb. Three of the newly confirmed Kepler planets are thought…
Teachers don’t have to have perfect spelling to teach kids how to spell. Shutterstock

A teacher’s spelling doesn’t necessarily affect their teaching

According to recent media reports, a new study shows an alarming number of aspiring teachers have lower literacy levels than the school students they will be teaching. This coincides with a series of articles…
Many hands have helped author The Conversation’s first collaborative writing experiment.

An experiment in collaborative writing: day ten

We’re starting 2015 with an experiment in collaborative creative writing. What happens when you ask ten academics to write a story together? Taking our cue from the Exquisite Cadaver game played by Surrealist…
Artist’s impression of an Earth-sized planet in the Kepler 186 system. But what makes one planet more habitable than another? NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

What makes one Earth-like planet more habitable than another?

When it comes to finding the right kind of planet to target in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, the size of the planet matters. All planets are believed to form by a process of competitive…
Artist’s impression of New Horizons as it swings past the dwarf planet Pluto, in July 2015. NASA

Rise and shine! New Horizons awakes ahead of a date with Pluto

While the Mars Rovers and the Rosetta spacecraft will continue to make headlines in 2015, the stage is set for the solar system’s next great mission – the Pluto-bound New Horizons. Discovered in 1930…
A reconstruction of the path and damage caused by the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 15, 2013. Flickr/Sandia Labs

Impacts, extinctions and climate in the search for life elsewhere

Every so often our Earth encounters a large chunk of space debris which reminds us that our solar system still contains plenty of debris that could potentially have an impact on life on Earth. While the…
Image captured December 2013 of several Geminids meteors seen from the Observatorio del Teide (IAC) in Tenerife. Flickr/StarryEarth

The Geminids meteor shower should be one of the best this year

The best meteor shower of the year should put on an impressive display this weekend – weather permitting – with the annual Geminids poised to light up the sky with bright, long meteors visible as frequently…
In the coming years, many planets that could host life will be discovered. But which will we target in the search for life elsewhere? IAU/L Calçada

Giant impacts, planet formation and the search for life elsewhere

In the search for life beyond our solar system, we need to consider the system in which a planet moves, including the other planets and assorted debris that accompany it on its journey through the cosmos…
Artists conception of the a star with two Saturn-mass planets discovered by the Kepler satellite. NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

For life to form on a planet it needs to orbit the right kind of star

In the search for life-sustaining planets we must first choose the right host star. There are many factors that would make a star system too hostile for life to even get started, let alone survive for…
Artist’s impression of a sunset on the planet Gliese 667Cc. While that planet is likely not an ideal target, we will discover planets far more like our own. ESO/L. Calçada

Exo-Earths and the search for life elsewhere: a brief history

The criteria for life on other planets is the focus of the 4th Australian Exoplanet Workshop, hosted by the University of Southern Queensland this week. The first in this series on exoplanets looks at…
Rosetta deploys the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. ESA/ATG medialab; Comet image: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam

The Rosetta lander detects organic matter: the seeds of life?

Scientists working with data sent back by the now-slumbering Philae lander have announced the discovery of organic molecules on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Finding organic compounds on 67P’s surface…
Artist’s impression of exocomets around Beta Pictoris. ESO/L. Calçada

Comet families similar to our own are found around another star

A detailed study of comets orbiting the young nearby star Beta Pictoris is published today in the journal Nature, and it reveals striking similarities to the comets found in our solar system. Over the…

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