Developing a learning analytics resource with meaningful data for first year teachers




learning analytics, first year experience, student retention


It is known that due to the large, diverse sets of data captured in learning analytics, clear display of information is crucial to its success. Here, we describe a concise learning analytics resource, the Cohort Snapshot, that has been developed using a human centred approach, with input from experienced academics from across the institution. Meaningful data is presented as a unit level summary and includes program enrolment, student demographics, grade distributions and LMS activity. The data that was used to develop the resource was accessed via the university’s data warehouse which was synthesised using the R programming language. The Cohort Snapshot provides teaching academics, including sessional staff, access to data, to allow the adaption of teaching pedagogy to meet the needs of increasingly diverse student cohorts in a regional Australian university.

Author Biographies

Noelia Roman, Charles Sturt University

Noelia completed a PhD in Protein Biochemistry and has extensive experience teaching with a particular focus on First Year subjects. Noelia has coordinated various subjects across various year levels in medical Science and led the work place learning component of the course.

During her teaching time Noelia helped lead a full course redesign and has been actively involved in various scholarly activities across the university with extensive project management experience. Noelia has presented at various national and internal conferences and has been the recipient of various internal teaching awards including the Charles Sturt Executive Dean’s Teaching Award.

Kelly Linden, Charles Sturt University

Kelly is passionate about all aspects of the student experience, with a particular focus on widening participation and student retention. Kelly graduated from The University of Melbourne with a BSc (Hons) in Physiology and continued on to complete her PhD in the department of Physiology examining the role of AMP protein kinase and nitric oxide on contraction-mediated glucose uptake. Kelly commenced at Charles Sturt University in 2008 and worked as a senior lecturer teaching Anatomy and Physiology into many of the health courses including Nursing and Physiotherapy. In 2019 Kelly received an Australian Award for University Teaching citation for her work in creating engaging adaptive learning lessons in Anatomy.

Since 2017 Kelly has worked in a range of leadership roles including Sub Dean Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Science & Health, and now leads the Retention Team in the Division of Student Success.

Sarah Teakel, Charles Sturt University

Sarah completed a PhD at Charles Sturt in 2021 in Cell Biology and Protein Biochemistry, and has been involved in teaching and tutoring in the School of Dentistry and Medical Sciences. Sarah has clinical expertise as a Medical Scientist in a pathology laboratory and over 10 years’ experience tutoring.

Sarah has a current role as the Embedded Tutors Academic Coordinator where she assists the Retention Team in embedding tutors into key first-year undergraduate subjects to increase student engagement. Sarah has been involved in the training and support of tutors, evaluation of the Embedded Tutors Program, data analysis and research.

Neil Van der Ploeg, Charles Sturt University

Neil graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2011. While his fellow graduates moved away from the University to practice Physiotherapy, Neil remained at the Albury campus and found a love of teaching in Anatomy and Physiology across a variety of courses in the health sciences. Midway through 2019 he moved into the Retention Team utilising his teaching experience, communication and data science skills to perform a very diverse role within the team.

Ben Hicks, Charles Sturt University

Ben likes patterns and understanding how we make sense of the world. He studied mathematics as an undergraduate (at ANU, with honours), worked as a teacher and e-Learning leader for over a decade across three continents, and has built probabilistic models of various flavours; water-catchments, financial, learning. Ben joined the Retention Team in 2019 and has been merrily developing, optimising and analysing the team’s interventions, data and systems since.