Safeguarding Student Learning Engagement

On March 26, 2013 the Good Practice Guide was officially launched by RMIT Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the OLT Strategic Advisory Committee at RMIT.  Project members, including all eight working party members and the project evaluator, joined project leader Dr Karen Nelson and invited guests in a summary of the project activities which included a panel discussion on the social justice principles.  After lunch members and guests participated in practice-based workshops led by various project members.

It is proposed the guide will be a practical resource as well as an informative document and thus it includes a suite of activities to help readers engage in a practical way with the framework, examples and case studies—these activities are located throughout the guide under the heading ‘Reviewing Practice’.

The Guide, available as an eBook on this site, is also available as a hard copy on request (please contact the project manager Tracy Creagh)

Project members participate in the panel discussion during the launch

Project members participate in the panel discussion during the launch

The national launch of the project has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, 2013.   Melbourne’s RMIT University will provide the venue for the event that will include the launch of the Good Practice Guide at a one day forum including all project team participants.  The forum will be promoted to academic and professional staff engaged in, or considering the development of programs or activities that monitor student learning engagement. The forum will be organised in a way to provide specific sessions for the various MSLE practitioners as well as disseminate the Guide.  For more information on the program for the day please visit the project launch page

More success for SSP

September 18th, 2012 | Posted by Administrator in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

In Canberra last night (19th of November 2012), the SSP was awarded with an Award for Programs that Enhance Learning in the 2012 Australian Awards for University Teaching.  Announced by Senator Chris Evans, the Minister commented that the Program “… has set a benchmark for ongoing learning and teaching activities in Australian higher education institutions and the dedication of your team will continue to significantly impact student learning”.

Back in September SSP  was awarded with an Australian Award for University Teaching Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.  Announced by Senator Evans, the Program was awarded  ‘For a sustained commitment to proactively delivering tailored advice and referral to students so that they are empowered to reach their individual academic goals’.

These awards follows an institution gong back in July and continues the recognition of the impact of monitoring student learning engagement activities and programs.

Don't Label Me t-shirt image

In May we pointed you to Andrew Harvey’s piece in The Australian on the risks involved with creating ‘profiles’ of students using institutional data. Sharon Slade and Fenella Galpin from Open University, UK are undertaking significant work in this area specifically examining ethical issues in learning analytics. Back in April/May this year they ran a workshop at the LAK2012 Conference in Vancouver which explored some of the ethical issues and dilemmas coming to the fore around the widespread use of learning analytics in higher education.

Sharon’s blog site details this workshop which one of our Working Group members from UniSA, Tim Rogers, participated in – she writes:
Students leave behind lots of information about themselves, with little or no realisation of what Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) do with it. Does it matter? We ran a ½ day workshop at the LAK12 conference in Vancouver in late April 2012 to explore some of the ethical complexities that are introduced by using learning analytics to categorise and predict student cohorts and behaviours.

HEIs regularly access and capture student data, for example around gender, log in frequency, study goals, and assignment scores, in the hope that this will lead to a clearer and simpler means of understanding and driving student engagement and performance. That all sounds fine. So what’s the big concern?

Read the full discussion and summary of the workshop at  Sharon’s blog site odlsharonslade


QUT's SSP Team awarded a VC Award for Excellence (Jo Bennett, Bruce Tills, Carole Quinn, Karen Nelson & Wayne Duxbury)

QUT’s Student Success Program (SSP) has been recognised at the QUT 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. The Program took out a team award (Mixed – Professional and Academic) at the July 19 ceremony which recognises exceptional and sustained performance in the following areas: Research, Learning and teaching, Partnerships and engagement, Client focus, Innovative and creative practice and Leadership. The SSP team (represented by Karen Nelson [Good Practice Project leader], Joanna Bennett, Carole Quinn, Wayne Duxbury, Julia Humphreys and Bruce Tills) was nominated for Learning and teaching, Partnerships and engagement, Innovative and creative practice and Leadership.

The SSP is a University-wide student engagement and retention initiative that focuses on the early identification of students who may be at-risk of disengaging from their studies or university. The Program provides proactive purposeful advice and referrals to these students and is particularly focused on the experiences of students from under-represented social groups and those students for whom completion of a university course presents more challenges.

QUT and the SSP are active participants in the Good Practice project and this institutional award recognises the prolonged impact the program has made across the institution, and importantly, on the educational outcomes of the students it has contacted.  Tracy Creagh

Sharing Good Practice

July 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Administrator in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The annual International First Year in Higher Education (FYHE) Conference in Brisbane, Australia (June 26-29, 2012) provided a unique opportunity to road test some key resources being developed for the sector around the safeguarding of student learning engagement.  While the resources relate specifically to early intervention programs and initiatives, we were curious to gain some feedback on whether a social justice framework could be applicable to other student engagement programs (like orientation, peer mentoring or even the development of curriculum).


The risks of profiling

May 17th, 2012 | Posted by Administrator in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Andrew Harvey’s article in The Australian on May 16, Student entry checks by universities carry risks,  captures the increasing dialogue around the collection of student information, in particular the collation of data as predictive indicators of  attrition.   The ethical issues raised in this article surpass the scope of this project but the outputs – a Good Practice Guide – will undoubtedly go some way to providing clarity around what Harvey details as the “risk of profiling”.  Central to this project is consideration of the notions of equity and social justice and how they manifest in the higher education sector and within various institutions.  The Good Practice Guide will be reinforced by the set of social justice principles and a social justice framework that presents guidelines and resources to exemplify and provide examples of the principles in practice – with the foci on the specific institutional initiatives and programs that monitor student learning engagement.  Tracy Creagh



May 10th, 2012 | Posted by Administrator in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Welcome to Safeguarding Student Learning Engagement.

This website has been developed as part of an Australian higher education learning and teaching initiative Good practice for safeguarding student learning engagement in higher education institutions.

The project, which commenced in 2010, was originally funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) as a Competitive Grant. The research is now overseen by the Office for Learning and Teaching within the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

The Project acknowledges the contributions of the Working Party leaders and their Working Groups from Auckland University of Technology, Curtin University, RMIT University , University of New England, the University of South Australia, Queensland University of Technology, Edith Cowan University and Charles Sturt University.

This website will continue to evolve as the project does and we encourage your feedback and comments.  As well, we encourage you to contact us with information you feel is relevant to student learning engagement in the higher education sector – both in Australasia and internationally.

Karen Nelson

Tracy Creagh