Home' InDaily : September 23rd 2010 Contents 4 | Vol 21 No 8 September 2010
Business students soak up European experience
Looking, learning and networking were on
the agenda for a group of eight students
from the Flinders Business School (FBS) who
recently took part in intensive, three-week
short courses in Norway and Slovenia.
A variety of topics, ranging from
negotiation techniques to intercultural
management were available to the five
students who attended Flinders' partner
school in Oslo, the BI School of
Management, and the three students
who attended the University of Ljublijana.
And while all gained valuable knowledge
and credit toward one elective topic in their
Flinders studies, the broader cultural
experience also left a lasting impression.
Anna Macrow, a Bachelor of Commerce
(Accounting)/(Finance) student, said
Slovenia was her destination of choice.
"I've always been interested in that part
of Europe. This was a great opportunity
to meet other students from around the
world and learning to negotiate with
their many different communication
styles was valuable," Ms Macrow said.
"It was also interesting to see on our
company tours just how different
businesses present themselves," she said.
"I feel there are many opportunities
Renee Thorpe, who is
undertaking a Bachelor of
International Studies double
degree, said the short course
gave her a taste of study in
Europe without having to make
a long-term commitment.
"I was glad to have this opportunity to include
an international study component as part of
my Flinders degrees," Ms Thorpe said.
"We noticed that the Scandinavian model of
business structure is rather flat. You find senior
managers working alongside lower level staff
in an open-plan space," she said.
"There also appears to be gender equality in
Short course program administrator, Anne
Gleeson said an international experience for
student broadens their horizons.
"It increases their intercultural competence
and their maturity, as well as being a lot of
fun," Ms Gleeson said.
FBS and the University's scholarships
program provided some financial support to
Curriculum change worries rural schools
A Flinders University survey of school
leaders in rural and remote areas has found
that while responses to the introduction of
the national curriculum range from
sceptical to enthusiastic, many believe that
the time and resources allotted for the
transition are inadequate.
Some of the 44 principals who responded to
the survey have greeted the prospect of a
standardised national curriculum with
enthusiasm, but others are dismayed at
being required to give up current State
frameworks they regard as highly
Some principals are questioning the new
curriculum for a lack of emphasis on local
issues and interests and its failure to take
up the educational opportunities afforded
by 'place'. At the same time there is concern
that there will be insufficient teacher
expertise available to small, rural schools to
deliver the "specialist learning" required by
the national curriculum.
Professor John Halsey, the Sidney Myer
Chair of Rural Education and Communities
said that while response to the content of
the national curriculum was "a mixed
bag", concern about a lack of resources for
implementation was a common theme,
occurring in the principals' comments no
less than 58 times.
"One respondent put the issue bluntly: 'So
we have the same curriculum, but do we
get the same resources as our coastal and
"They are looking for time, they are looking
for resources and they are looking for
better information," Professor Halsey said.
He said rural and remote schools are again
faced with the problem of securing
sufficient relief teachers to release their
staff for training.
"In a nutshell there are mixed feelings, and
the misgivings are being fuelled by lack of
information and resources, including time.
Professor Halsey said there is a sense in
which the national curriculum is adopting
a large, aggregate model for its
implementation that does not respond to
"In terms of implementation, there needs
to be horses for courses. If we really do
value rural communities, we have to do
more than follow a metro-centric
Renee Thorpe in Oslo
Professor John Halsey
Vol 21 No 8 September 2010 | 5
Keeping an eye on underwater aliens
Newly identified exotic species of marine
life around the Eyre Peninsula that could
threaten South Australia's aquaculture
industry need to be monitored closely,
according to Flinders University researchers.
The first baseline survey of introduced
marine species in the West Coast waters
identified 16 species that originate from
overseas or other parts of Australia, and
found evidence pointing to the presence
of three more.
Associate Professor Sabine Dittmann warns
that exotic species have the potential to
disrupt the native marine ecosystems and the
aquaculture industry, particularly if changes
to environmental and climatic conditions act
in their favour.
Several months of work were required to
confirm the identity of the various species,
which include blue mussels, Pacific and
pearl oysters, crabs and smaller
crustaceans and various sessile (fixed)
filter feeders and sea squirts.
Water temperature tends to dictate
distribution: "Tropical species occur more in
the upper Spencer Gulf, while those that
originate in more temperate, colder waters
tend to thrive at the southern tip of the
peninsula," Associate Professor Dittmann said.
Most of the creatures would have arrived via
encrustations on ship hulls and ballast water.
Some originate from Europe, while other
more recent arrivals derive from increased
trade with Asia.
"They would have arrived in the major
ports, but have since been spread to
smaller ports by local shipping and
through transport of larvae by currents,"
Associate Professor Dittmann said.
Once established, exotic species are
virtually impossible to eliminate: the
best defence could be a healthy and
"The entire biodiversity in the coastal
waters around the Eyre Peninsula is
stunning -- it is one of the best in Australia,
and probably acts as a bit of a safeguard,
ensuring some sort of resistance against
the invasives," Associate Professor
"But there is still no guarantee that
they won't cause ecological and
Populations of Pacific and pearl oysters
are of particular concern to aquaculture
producers, as they compete directly for
food with the native mussels and
oysters farms and the managed
fisheries of razorfish.
Southgate Institute warns of holes in the Net
As the rollout of the national broadband
network looms, a Flinders University
study has found that not everyone has
the knowledge or the resources to enjoy
the benefits offered by digital technology.
The study, led by Dr Lareen Newman, a
senior research fellow in the
University's Southgate Institute for
Health, Society and Equity, found
evidence of a "digital divide" among
lower income groups in Australia,
identifying wide differences in the
frequency and quality of access to, and
familiarity with, digital technology.
The findings are published in the latest
issue of the online Journal of
While previous studies looking at barriers
to technological access have focused on
particular social segments, the Flinders
study employed focus groups of people
aged between 25 and 55 from lower
The responses revealed that
because of their lower levels of
exposure to computers, mobile
phones and the internet,
people in lower socio-
economic groups have less of
the skills necessary to access
these technologies and use
Lack of familiarity produces lower levels
of confidence and trust in digital
technologies, which in turn compounds
the distancing effect. "It becomes a
vicious circle," Dr Newman said.
Dr Newman said most people who
are relatively well off and well
educated are familiar with operating
"I know how to do an internet search,
how to discriminate between and sort
the results and I also have social
connections who can help me with any
problems: but there were people in the
focus groups who didn't even know how
to turn a computer on and had no-one to
Dr Newman also said that the heavily
text-based nature of digital information
could be daunting to people who
struggled with literacy.
She said as more and more information
about services in areas such as health
and employment move to the internet,
providers need to be wary of presuming
that providing a web address is all they
need to do.
Pacific oysters, in the wrong place
Dr Lareen Newman
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