Institutional approaches and student perspectives on COVID-19 equity student support initiatives


Disasters disproportionately impact marginalised groups. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption in higher education. Universities have rapidly responded, drastically altering students’ experiences. This grant seeks to understand how 10 Australian universities have endeavoured to support equity students to retain access to learning through COVID-19. The team will analyse strategies undertaken by institutions and equity students’ perspectives on those strategies. They will compare data across three types of universities (research-intensive, innovative, and regional/remote) to identify in what ways institutions with significantly different cohorts can learn from each other to better support equity students in times of (future) crisis. This project is led by the University of Sydney.

Contact person: Dr Florence Gabriel [website] [email]

Promoting and Developing Self Regulated Learning Mindsets and Skills in First-Year Students

Funded under Fulbright Specialist Program (Professor Roger Azevedo, Univeristy of Central Florida, USA)

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Self-regulated learning (SRL) has a positive and long-lasting impact on academic development, employability and career progression of students. Despite the demonstrated importance of SRL education has long struggled to develop and assess practices that can promote student self-regulation skills. This project is designed to raise awareness of the importance of student SRL and promote the development of these skills. The project builds on our prior work to also establish empirical measures of SRL progression that are student centric and scalable.

Contact person: Professor Shane Dawson [website] [email]

The impact of personalised learning interventions on student engagement in an electronic learning environment

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Continuing professional development is one of the most important components of medical education. From the learning perspective there are several conditions that make it unique: professionals need to acquire certain skills both in their domain of knowledge, but also soft skills, the acquisition is strongly influenced by the environment, and requires flexible yet effective structures to guarantee its success. ModMed is a company that offers engaging, dynamic learning experiences for health professionals. Audits and feedback are crucial in CPD, and scaling the delivery of these elements is challenging. ModMed and the Centre for Change and Complexity (C3L) at the University of South Australia are working together to use machine learning algorithms combined with detailed mapping of the curriculum and competencies to support doctors through their CPD with personalised and frequent suggestions to comply with the requirements of the medical regulatory bodies.

Contact person: Dr Srećko Joksimović [website] [email]

Data Infrastructure for Learning Sciences Research

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The growing need for timely and personalized learning for knowledge workers requires broadening the types of data collected during learning and knowledge building processes. This in turn requires the development of new technologies, tools, and instrumentation so insight from a wide range of data sources can be utilized to understand knowledge practices and to better support individuals as they engage in learning activities. Existing data sources are fragmented and each source (such as an LMS, social media, knowledge management system) is self-contained with limited overlap. As a consequence, insights are lost due to disconnectedness of the data environments. C3L researchers are working with Boeing and University of Texas Arlington to develop an integrated, multi-faceted data infrastructure. This infrastructure will enable researchers to a) better understanding of how people learn in digital environments, b) integration of formal learning into work practices, c) personalized learning constructs needed by knowledge workers, d) the affective/psychological profiles of learners in order to address emerging soft/21st century skills, and e) to effectively integrate human and artificial cognition through intelligent agents.

Contact person: Professor George Siemens [website] [email]

Learning analytics framework for delivering effective training experience for medical professionals

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Experiential learning proposes a highly engaging environment in which learners, instructors and mentors interact around team-based projects. The high levels of engagement present in these environments need an equally high level of interaction with teaching and mentoring staff. The key to transform this scenario into an effective learning experience is to provide personalised feedback to learners throughout their journey. Practera offers a virtual environment to enact this type of experiences. Learners undertake their real-world, collaborative projects, upload their deliverables, inputs and reflections and a team of mentors and reviewers offer personalised feedback for the next stages. This feedback cycle requires a comprehensive knowledge of the student and is challenging to deploy for large student cohorts. Practera and the Centre for Change and Complexity (C3L) at the University of South Australia are working together to explore how learning analytics methods can support this teaching environment, identify patterns of engagement, connect the knowledge with the right type of personalised support, and evaluate its impact.

Contact person: Dr Srećko Joksimović [website] [email]

Learning analytics approaches for assessing the attainment of graduate qualities

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Rapid changes in the modern economy caused by globalisation, job automation and advanced technologies, have placed increased emphasis on developing transferable qualities, skills and attributes, collectively known as graduate qualities. The transition from a curriculum that emphasises knowledge to the development of 21st-century literacies aims to enable students to be better prepared for, and capable of, navigating the changing and increasingly complex workplaces. Schools and universities are challenged by the need to develop, measure and report on student progress and attainment of graduate qualities and competencies.

In collaboration with Trinity College, an independent school in Gawler, SA, this project focuses on combining survey and learning trace data to assess students development of graduate qualities, in particular students' self-regulated learning (SRL) and meta-cognition. The project leverages already existing student survey data and other data sources to establish a foundation of analytical benchmarks that can be used to inform the development and attainment of graduate qualities at Trinity College. Graduate qualities have been identified as one of the critical areas that can drive the continuous improvement of the College’s teaching and learning practice. The primary goal of this project is to examine the validity of the existing surveys and their use for assessing students’ SRL and metacognitive skills.

Contact person: Dr Vitomir Kovanović [website] [email]

Solving Epic Challenges with Distributed Teams

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University graduates are more likely than ever to start their professional careers as part of multidisciplinary teams tackling highly complex problems through large projects. Industry is demanding professionals with the skills to become productive members of these teams in these emerging working environments. The goal of this project is to study how students participate in a learning experience with a structure similar to a capstone project that involves collaboration between multiple disciplines and institutions. The project includes the collection of comprehensive data about how students interact in this context, produce artefacts, and progress through the acquisition of the required skills to deduce personalized support actions. Through a tight collaboration with Boeing and NASA, the project explores how to shape educational experiences to promote innovation in the emergent socio-technical, collaborative environments that are becoming prominent in these institutions.

Contact person: Professor Abelardo Pardo [website] [email]