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Improving Student Success submissions 2021

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 Note: Submissions where the nominees are not aware of the nomination are not listed.

Analytics for Course Engagement (ACE): A predictive and proactive approach to student success

University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury

Launched in April 2020, the Analytics for Course Engagement (ACE) initiative is a collaborative endeavour between IT and the Student Success programme, combining technology with proactive outreach. Focussing directly on first years, ACE takes a variety of information about students, combines this with data directly related to engagement in the online learning environment. Using Artificial Intelligence, ACE predicts and proactively supports students at risk of disengaging, via an organisation wide response plan. A personalised dashboard (embedded in LMS) enables self-direction in study behaviour, as students can monitor their own engagement relative to their peers in the same course. This level of transparency has been shown to be a powerful tool, in particular with our Māori, Pacific, low decile and First-in-Family students. During the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown ACE enabled us to monitor and support our first-years, many of whom had little experience with University study prior to the shift to fully online.

Website Visitor Analytics & Jobs Insights Dashboards

Victoria University

Victoria University

The linked Jobs Insights Dashboard – linked to VU’s Website Visitor Analytics Dashboard, O*NET OnLine and to Government Future Outlook to monitor real jobs data – offers information on positive and negative growth trends in employment. The Dashboards identify and then bridge the gap between VU’s current courses, and the skills students will need to thrive in future workplaces. They provide marketing and academic teams the capacity to search particular fields of employment via detailed job titles to display projected employment growth or decline over coming years – as well as match these with VU courses and units. By combining insights from both dashboards, we gain a holistic view the fields relevant to prospective students (via top search terms) and assess these against projected job growth to discover potentially marketable gaps in our course offering. This ensures VU constructs new courses to maximise market relevance and employment outcomes for graduates well into the future.

Curriculum @ Murdoch: Publishing

Murdoch University

Murdoch University

This project built on the previous success of the Curriculum@Murdoch: Lifecycle project utilising the Courseloop Curriculum Management System. The key deliverables were a new Handbook, Website Course Pages and Fee Calculator all to enhance the future and current student experience with accurate data feeding from the one source (Courseloop). A large source of student complaints came from the inability to navigate or digest the old Handbook and Fee Calculator which were not mobile optimised and often out of date. In addition, the project delivered a number of back office and operational benefits including less IT involvement in the management of curriculum and its associated processes, one system of record that all academic staff can refer to and the ability to improve/retire several bespoke and unsustainable systems including Entry Requirements, Course Plans, Academic Calendar/Teaching Periods/Key Dates. Check out the deliverables here:

New technology initiatives that provided an exceptional student experience during the Covid-19 pandemic

University of Canberra


This nomination is in recognition of the signification amount of effort that the VMO team accomplished within tight timeframes to support and provide an exceptional student experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to rollout and fast-track a range of technologies and initiatives to enable students to continue their studies remotely. Including; the expedited roll-out of a facility to allow students to connect to physical student computer labs remotely (; fast-tracking the University’s virtual desktop rollout using Nutanix Frame (this allows both students and staff to have access to a virtual desktop from any device with a web browser), the virtual desktop provides access to their student storage and specialised software used for their studies; the implementation of a VPN (virtual private network) for students based (stuck) in China to be able to successfully connect to learning resources required for their UC studies. DITM has received comments that this facility has stopped students from discontinuing their studies.

Further info here


Swinburne University of Technology


Due to COVID-19, Swinburne (along with many other universities) had to cancel its annual on-campus Open Day event which was scheduled for Sunday 26 July 2020. We pivoted quickly to find a replacement activation that embraced technology and innovation (true to our brand) and would be an experience that no other university could replicate. At the forefront of our mind was our core target audience, Year 12 students, and what they would find engaging and relevant. Introducing Swintopia, a gamified, virtual, ‘open world’ campus experience inspired by Animal Crossing, a popular video game. It is a first-of-its-kind for an Australian university. In Swintopia prospective students can talk to animated avatars of academics, students, alumni and even the famed Library LateLab pigeon (the source of many urban legends), watch videos, add study guides to their virtual tote bags and complete missions in return for discount vouchers.

Mobile Application Attendance Check-in solution

University of Newcastle

There are clear, well-documented links between high attendance and student success. These studies have proven
that for most students, the best learning happens when engagement is high. In Q3, 2019 the University of Newcastle
made the decision to take an across-the-board approach to ensure the first-year student experience is a highly
engaged one. From Semester 1 2020, all first-year students were required to attend a minimum of 80% of small
group sessions – tutorials, laboratory sessions and lectorials. To support the 80% attendance requirement policy, a
digital solution was developed utilising ExLibris’ campus M software. The outcome was a digital check-in system that
allows students to mark their attendance via the Universities already developed and widely adopted mobile
application “myUON”. Critically, the system needed to provide educators with the ability to update student
attendance records and generate attendance reports for each student, class or course to ensure attendance
requirements were being met.

Your World Your Way

The University of Auckland

University of Auckland

Your World Your Way was initiated in response to the disruption to our traditional face-to-face student recruitment model with the goal to engage prospective students in a new and refreshing way. It’s part of the Kāhu Connected Experiences programme which delivers an engaging, interactive, and immersive digital experience for the student on their decision making journey, and throughout their time with the University. The University of Auckland is seen as highly academic, so we wanted future students to experience our rich social and cultural dimensions. Your World Your Way is a personalised, fun and interactive showcase of the University, designed to inspire our future students. It is a virtual front door, where students can explore all that the University has to offer. Design elements, bilingual signage and a strong narrative depict an institution that represents inclusiveness and connectiveness and reflects the values of a Māori and Pacific world view.

Student Digital Equity

The University of Auckland

University of Auckland

The ability for all students to equally participate in learning is vital to their overall success. During the pandemic, student support and their need for remote access became more evident. In response, the University of Auckland’s Student Digital Equity initiative was launched, supported by the Ministry of Education ‘Technology Access for Learners Fund’. This initiative provided students with equal access to a computer and a reliable internet connection to assist with their studies. This involved establishing new systems and processes to ensure students received appropriate equipment to support their learning, collaborations needs and ultimately succeed in their studies. A logistical and equitable solution was created that provided hardware, internet devices and technical support and assistance to students. As part of the remote learning, a new student application platform FlexIT, was released. This platform provides flexibility for student to work with over 150 University licensed applications anywhere, anytime on any device.

The new MyCQU Assistant

Central Queensland University


As part of a broader Digital Transformation agenda at CQU, the new MyCQU Personal Assistant was implemented in October 2020, to support students throughout their study journey and enable them to feel ‘Prepared, Engaged, Supported, and Confident’. We know that this the foundation of our students being successful, both in their studies and beyond. MyCQU was built on the Sitecore Digital Experience Platform (DXP) as a progressive web app with mobile-first design. The project was delivered in collaboration with staffand a diverse range of our students. MyCQU provides a simple, guided and personalized experience to make our students lives easier. Some of the features include: a personalised checklist to provide a guided onboarding experience for new students one consolidated calendar displaying key dates, events, classes, exams and assignments key study information, including units, grades, textbooks and unit coordinator information notifications to remind students of upcoming tasks and assessments, helping them stay organised personalised content collections to assist in finding information that is relevant to them, when they need it visibility of service requests and their status Links off to other CQU systems including Moodle, Library, Sonia and Handbook Access to Student Forms, Finances and management of Contact Information.

Digitising the Joint Medical Program

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University

Starting a new initiative, i.e. the delivery of a medical program in partnership across two universities (WSU and CSU) has many complexities to navigate and negotiate. Medical student applications are significantly over-subscribed every year, with the number of Commonwealth Supported Places being determined by the Australian Government. The investment from applicants and Universities in managing the application process is significant, thus the value of a technology platform that would reduce manual processes, enhance data integrity, with highly configurable capabilities and manageable by non-technical staff members. As a result of this, ITDS worked with the School of Medicine at WSU to digitise the enrolment and review process for candidates entering the Joint School of Medicine a unique venture between WSU and CSU. To meet the requirements of this project, ITDS implemented a unique, bespoke solution featuring a responsive device agnostic platform that was accessible to staff across two tertiary education institutions.