As one of Australia’s leading tertiary education providers, Deakin University (Deakin) provides personalized learning experiences to students.
With four campuses in Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool and an online learning platform, Deakin provides 60,000 students with access to world-leading facilities and in-depth learning materials. The university’s academic staff also provides leading education curriculums across four faculties and 14 schools, helping students achieve their learning goals and ensuring a brighter professional future for them.
Evolving student needs amid a disruptive education landscape
Australia has one of the most competitive higher education landscapes in the world. To maintain its position in this landscape, Deakin University took the opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 to review its IT infrastructure and approach to teaching. Specifically, the university sought to tap its wealth of data for insights to transform its education processes and deliver better experiences for students.
Deakin’s goal was to build a data platform to aggregate data from disparate sources such as learning management platforms, the registrar’s office, and administration systems to draw up more comprehensive profiles of students’ experiences and the ways in which they interact with academic staff and learning materials.
Laying a foundation to nurture data analytics
Deakin required a solution that could run on its hosted infrastructure and that offered the capability to develop new services. Deakin implemented Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) to empower its staff and students with a data-driven and data-first approach to university operations and learning. CDP enabled Deakin to harness the growth and distribution of its data, ingesting over 8.8 million events per day from systems such as learning management, registrar, administration, and occupancy analytics. CDP also gives Deakin the flexibility to leverage open-source tools to design capabilities like data services for blended learning and analytics.
“We required a platform that could consolidate data from our myriad of university systems,” said Alan Longmuir, Delivery Manager, Deakin University. “With CDP, we can leverage our data to make better decisions based on insights, optimize the way we support our students’ learning and help them graduate on time–regardless of circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Scoring high marks for student learning insights and driving decision making
Deakin embarked on its path of digital transformation that started with consolidating and tapping its vast pool of data for insights. With CDP supporting its technological platform, Deakin has empowered academics to better engage with students and helped the leadership team to make better decisions on policies to improve the campus experience.
Teaching staff can also draw insights into how students are learning. The university upgraded its learning management system with analytics that track student activities, such as the number of times they click to access online materials, how frequently they stream digital lessons and their level of engagement in discussion forums. With these insights, Deakin academic staff can optimize their lessons and materials for the preferences of its students. The analytics capability has been well received, scoring high marks for ease of use (4 out of 5 score) and usability (71%) in an internal user research study.
The data platform has also enabled management and leadership staff, such as chancellors and deans, to hone university policies to improve student lives in the future. Deakin is gaining insights into processes such as strategic planning, financial policies and reporting and research planning.
Going forward, Deakin plans to expand its analytics and insights capabilities to more departments. This will empower the university leadership and educators to shape curricula that will help students be competitive in future workplaces, plan research goals to raise its academic branding and adopt new digital technologies like augmented reality to deliver more engaging lessons.