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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Two dozen ships anchored outside Gladstone harbour in 2008, waiting to load coal. milton.v1/Flickr

Australia’s biggest coal state plans for life beyond coal

We are in the coal business. If you want decent hospitals, schools and police on the beat we all need to understand that. – Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, June 2012. It was a rare moment of unscripted…
Do we know where to find the most credible information in an age of digital literacy? Shutterstock

Navigating the online information maze: should students trust Wikipedia?

Being literate used to be about knowing how to read. In the 21st century it also means knowing how to negotiate through the torrent of information coming at you from all directions. Information Fatigue…
Protesters are furious at recent decisions over the Great Barrier Reef, but how much power does its official guardian have? AAP Image/Supplied by Greenpeace

Reef authority caught between the devil and the deep blue sea

Seeing the fierce debate sparked by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman’s recent article on The Conversation about the Abbot Point coal port expansion, I can sympathise with the dilemma…
Years of schooling separate the rich kids from the poor kids.

Why poor kids continue to do poorly in the education game

The Conversation is running a series, Class in Australia, to identify, illuminate and debate its many manifestations. Here, Stewart Riddle outlines the correlation between low socioeconomic backgrounds…
What’s going on up there? VinothChandar

Why is the sun going quiet?

The sun is our nearest star and the source of all our light and heat on Earth but recent reports have highlighted an ongoing steep decline in solar activity. This story is a reminder that our sun is a…
The emphasis on grammar and language construction in the current national curriculum is stronger than in many previous state curricula. So why the attacks on it? AAP/Stefan Postles

Curriculum review set to reignite the ‘literacy wars’

Kevin Donnelly, the conservative education critic who is set to review Australia’s national curriculum, has a long history of partisan criticism of teachers, teaching subject associations, academics and…
Jetstar Hong Kong remains grounded, as it awaits government approval. danzden/Flickr

Asia should shine brighter for blinkered Qantas

The downgrade of Qantas’ credit rating to junk status by Standard & Poor’s has sparked serious concern for the future of the airline. But the fact is the airline industry has largely been unprofitable…
International tests show a decline in Australian educational outcomes, but even more serious than that, is the story of educational disadvantage. Class image from

Australia’s PISA slump is big news but what’s the real story?

The 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results out today will no doubt see shock headlines about Australia’s falling education standards and our failing school system. PISA – which…
We know what better literacy can do, so what would a more literate world look like? World image from

What would a more literate world look like?

Let us suppose for a moment that there is a magic bullet for curing illiteracy. In fact, what if we were able to take the global literacy rate from 84% worldwide to something closer to 90% or even 99…
Does poor literacy come down to a matter of teaching bias? Reading image from

My first ideology: teaching reading falls victim to the culture wars

When teaching students how to read, teachers are ignoring the best, scientifically-proven approaches according to a report out this week from libertarian research institute the Centre for Independent Studies…
Is it fair that parents on 457 visas need to pay for their children to access public education? School image from

Free universal education? Not if your parents are on a 457 visa

Last week Western Australian state treasurer Troy Buswell announced as part of his budget that any temporary 457 visa holders would be charged A$4,000 a year to send each child to state schools. Justifying…
We’re shortchanging our students by waiting to introduce the big scientific ideas until high school. Young mozart image from

Searching for scientific Mozarts: get em’ while they’re young

MATHS AND SCIENCE EDUCATION: We’ve asked our authors about the state of maths and science education in Australia and its future direction. In this instalment, Jennifer Donovan, Carole Haeusler and Ian…
With English rapidly becoming a ‘global’ language, should we begin to call it something different? EPA/Christopher Jue

Renaming English: does the world language need a new name?

English is rapidly becoming a lingua franca in international communication for commerce and trade, education, science, international relations and tourism. It is the fastest growing language in the world…
The debate around the size of Queensland’s surplus or deficit is shortsighted: governments should have room to move if they need to, and controlling waste should be the issue. AAP

Qld Budget deficit irrelevant: waste should be the issue

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls’ second budget has the usual collection of initiatives and some very good ones at that. Increased spending on education, disability services and health will nearly always…
Nearly half of Australian adults are functionally illiterate, with manufacturing workers having some of the country’s lowest literacy levels, a significant issue as the industry continues to shed jobs. AAP Image/Julian Smith

The future for Ford workers: literacy will be key

Yesterday’s announcement that Ford will close its manufacturing operations in Geelong and Broadmeadows by 2016 at the cost of 1,200 jobs raises questions of what the workers’ future employment options…
Children are getting their (mis)information about some scientific concepts from mass media sources. Genetics image from

‘You catch criminals with DNA’: What kids know (and don’t know) about genetics

“DNA is your blood in you, we can use DNA as evidence if someone’s been stabbed. We can run tests in suspects.” (Girl, 12, central Queensland) “DNA has to do with blood types and fingerprints, it helps…
NAPLAN tests are only measuring a very small part of literacy and learning. Writing image from

NAPLAN only measures a fraction of literacy learning

Students across Australia in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are currently sitting for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. These tests are supposedly designed to identify whether…
Here’s why the old teaching methods are not necessarily the best. School image from

Why we should never return to the three Rs

Ongoing calls for a rejection of “intellectual fads” and a return to “more traditional teaching methods” seem to be ramping up in the education debate. But if these advocates were talking about rejecting…
Blackouts remind us what life was like before cheap, readily available electricity - but it’s time to think about the true price of our power. Candle in the dark image from

Save now, pay later: the hidden costs of lower electricity bills

No lights, no power, no internet - and no easy solutions. Fumbling around in a middle of a blackout, hoping to find a torch or some spare batteries, I was struck by just how utterly dependent most of us…

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