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Curtin University
Transforming Learning at Curtin

Smart data helping Curtin meet student needs

12 March 2014

Curtin University is undertaking an innovative project to personalise learning and drive greater student success using data from 52,000 students who attended the Bentley campus between 2009 and 2013.

The big data project allows the University to answer key questions about student engagement and build meaningful student profiles that reveal their pathways to success based on their individual interactions with campus services and their lives on and off campus.

Director of Learning Engagement Associate Professor David Gibson said the University was now able to predict those students most likely to succeed without intervention and those more likely to need assistance from the network of University support services.

The first stage of assessment has been completed, allowing the University to aim to have personalised student learning by 2017 and measure key retention strategies, in place as part of the Learning for Tomorrow strategy.

The key outcome of the analytics project – funded by Curtin’s Learning for Tomorrow initiative - was to provide the University with key indicators not only of student success but also impediments to success.

“The analytics project has given the University a valuable resource for mapping future educational services for its on-campus students and the one million learners who will be engaged in a Curtin University education by 2017,” Associate Professor Gibson said.

“This research has delivered insights about multiple pathways to success for our students, and has demonstrated the power of learning analytics capabilities for the future.

“We will continue to engage all our stakeholders in the use of advanced data science techniques to discover patterns in the University’s data that will help us improve learning and teaching.”

The highly detailed data analysis provides an essential framework for ensuring all Curtin students have the best possible opportunity to succeed.

“As an example, the University can now see there are some students who, while smart, confident and ambitious, when faced with poor results, may be unwilling to seek help,” Associate Professor Gibson said.

The analytics project enables the University to be aware of potential student problems and to intervene early and in new ways that guide students through issues to ensure a personalised and satisfying experience.