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Smart Education: Empowering Student Engagement

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Over the years, universities have dedicated significant efforts to address this multifaceted issue. Despite these endeavours, finding practical solutions has remained elusive. Fortunately, recent technological advancements have opened new avenues for identifying disengaged students and implementing automated interventions, offering cost-effective strategies to tackle this persistent challenge. This intersection of technology and education presents an opportunity for universities to proactively support their students and foster a more conducive learning environment.

The University of Canterbury (UC) has implemented the Analytics for Course Engagement (ACE) system to detect students at risk of disengagement and provide them with the necessary support. This comprehensive initiative caters to undergraduate students and encompasses student-facing dashboards, course-related resources for educators, and an active re-engagement effort.

Analytics for Course Engagement (ACE) is a comprehensive system to enhance student engagement and success in higher education. It comprises three primary components designed to support students throughout their academic journey. It provides students with personalised dashboards within their learning management system (LMS).

These dashboards allow students to assess their online learning engagement compared to the class average, offering valuable insights into their study habits. Additionally, these dashboards provide students with guidance on allocating their study time effectively and prioritising weekly tasks. Furthermore, ACE incorporates assessment details into this unified space, promoting improved time management skills.

Likewise, ACE provides a valuable tool for educators, enabling them to identify students who may be at risk and encouraging self-reflection on their teaching methods. It empowers instructors to refine course resources and enhance student support mechanisms.

As educators are closely involved in the teaching process, they play a crucial role in determining the data required for accurate student monitoring and advancing educational outcomes within specific courses. These dashboards also facilitate a comprehensive evaluation of course design and student information delivery.

Recent research findings have highlighted the effectiveness of the Analytics for Course Engagement (ACE) system in rekindling students’ interest in learning resources. When students exhibit signs of disengagement from digital learning materials, ACE proactively sends them personalised text messages and emails.

If there is no response or re-engagement with these resources, dedicated student advisers establish contact through email or phone. Notably, students who receive messages from ACE tend to display engagement levels approximately 33% higher than their counterparts who do not receive such outreach.

ACE leverages automatically collected data within the Learning Management System (LMS), presenting higher education institutions (HEIs) with a valuable data source to identify and address disengagement effectively. Through seamless integration with a student relationship management system equipped with text message and email capabilities, an automated system can systematically encourage disengaged students to re-engage with their learning materials.

Consequently, this approach enables higher education institutions (HEIs) to manage outreach efforts cost-effectively, allowing more intensive, personalised interventions reserved for students who require them the most. By combining data analytics with automated outreach, it efficiently supports students, helping them stay engaged and succeed in their academic pursuits. The system has demonstrated its effectiveness in improving student engagement and outcomes by proactively guiding students back to active learning.


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