27 - 28 June, 2018| Bayview Eden, Melbourne, VIC

Day Two: Wednesday, 28th June, 2018

9:00 am - 9:30 am Coffee and Registration

9:30 am - 9:40 am Opening remarks from Conference Chairperson

Dr. Jaclyn Broadbent - Deakin University
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Dr. Jaclyn Broadbent


Deakin University

Due to reforms to higher education, a changing economy and a rapid expansion of technology; the student cohort has changed dramatically in recent years. More students are working part time, caring for families, choosing to study externally and struggling financially. In order to adequately support and retain these students we must first understand what drives and challenges them in their student journey. This session will be an opportunity to come together and discuss strategies for institutions to engage with students on a personal level and provide channels for them to comfortably voice their concerns and issues.

  • How can we improve the amount and quality of contact we have with students to collect more valuable information?
  • What measures can be taken to make our institutions more approachable and student-centric?
  • How can we better communicate this important information to all relevant staff members so that it is actioned accordingly?

Professor Glen Bates phD

Pro- Vice Chancellor Student Engagement
Swinburne University of Technology

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Barb Shaw

Director Student Success
University of New England

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Alex Reeman-Clark

General Manager Student Experience
Kaplan Business School

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Fernando Padro

Associate Professor Tertiary Preparation
University of Southern Queensland

10:20 am - 11:00 am Working with Students for Students: Enhancing Up-take and Success through Creating a Culture of Partnership

Dr Sally Varnham - Professor of Law & National Teaching Fellow University of Technology Sydney
Sally’s comprehensive international research has revealed student partnership plays a central role in higher education sectors elsewhere and found evidence of clear benefits for both institutions and their students. The authentic engagement of student voice is recognised as enhancing the quality of teaching and learning and the educational experience of students. It assists their personal development in terms of critical thinking, leadership and citizenship, factors which are arguably core measurements of ‘success’. Importantly an ethos of partnership helps to create a sense of community and a connection with the institution, increasing the chances of student retention. The Principles and Framework developed as an outcome of the Fellowship are known as STEPUP – Students and Tertiary Education Providers Undertaking Partnership for quality enhancement. In this presentation, Sally will discuss:

  • The collaborative process undertaken by the Fellowship
  • The principles and the framework: STEPUP
  • The proposed way forward to sustainable student partnership
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Dr Sally Varnham

Professor of Law & National Teaching Fellow
University of Technology Sydney

11:00 am - 11:30 am Morning Tea

11:30 am - 12:10 pm Considering the Technological and Psychological Aspect of the Modern Student for Improved Student Success

Dr Diana Collett - Learning Development Officer University of South Australia
An Increasing number of students report losing their motivation and procrastinating. This trend has risen sharply with the advent of interactive screen use. Students confide they are turning to Facebook, YouTube, and online Gaming etc. as ways of escaping when things get hard. Like many of us, today’s students are struggling to balance the pervasive temptations found online with the mental rigour required to achieve goals and become successful. This silent addiction has potentially widespread implications for retention and success. Diana has identified shifting student attitudes toward their study and their expectations of learning, particularly in younger commencing students. In this session she shares invaluable psychological insights, gleaned from student experiences, and the implications for academic success. She will explore:

  • How excessive interaction online is transforming the mindset of current students
  • What current students expect from tertiary study
  • How institutions can best address changing attitudes toward study
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Dr Diana Collett

Learning Development Officer
University of South Australia

12:10 pm - 12:50 pm Using a strategic approach to student lifecycle engagement to create the right message, at the right time, on the right channel to the right student

Lynton Beaumont-Bilsby - Associate Director Student Experience Curtin University
The correlation between student engagement and retention has long been established. Engagement is also at the centre of keeping all students in-the-know in terms of important information; such as deadlines and available services. As thoroughly as we understand these correlations, very little is understood about what it means for a student to be engaged. What does an engaged student look like, and how can we determine this using the information from different data sources? How can student lifecycle engagement be used to create the right message, at the right time, on the right channel to the right student? Central to the success for Curtin’s Digital Experience team in ‘unpacking’ and addressing these questions is their ecosystem approach. This approach incorporates the broad themes of data analytics; student lifecycle; and multiple digital channels in a holistic way. This approach has created a web of innovative ways to explore and increase student engagement. In this session Lynton will share this journey:

  • What does student engagement look like- rudimental investigation findings
  • Selecting data to utilise; which points to explore amongst which data sources?
  • Linking data metrics to engagement and success for early intervention
  • The successful outcomes achieved from mapping: the student lifecycle, the different needs of students at different stages, and the many channels with which student can be reached
  • Where to now and the next steps
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Lynton Beaumont-Bilsby

Associate Director Student Experience
Curtin University

12:50 pm - 1:50 pm Lunch

1:50 pm - 2:30 pm Intervention at scale – Utilising Technology to Service Over 55,000 Students

Matthew Willis - Chief Education & Experience Officer Open Colleges
How do you deliver meaningful intervention campaigns to over 55,000 online students when they are studying at their own pace with no fixed deadlines? Technology has empowered students to choose when and where they study, from a myriad of modes, providers and price points. Education is more accessible, flexible and attractive to adult learners than ever before, but how do you drive student retention at scale? Matt and his team have leveraged technology and data analytics to implement automated, dynamic, large scale interventions to tens of thousands of students across a diverse portfolio of over 100 accredited courses. The early results have seen a staggering 31% increase in student activity, 5% growth in course completions and the numbers continue to climb. But this is only the early days of an ambitious retention and progression strategy. Find out how big data, bots and machine learning will factor into answering some big questions, as Matt answers:

  • Can the probability of a student completing a course be calculated within the first week of enrolling?
  • Can students needing early intervention be identified through analyzing platform behaviour and metadata?
  • Can the effectiveness of online learning materials be measured?
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Matthew Willis

Chief Education & Experience Officer
Open Colleges

2:30 pm - 3:10 pm Case Study: Embedding Student Retention and Success within the Curriculum through Professional Development of Academics

Amy Barnhouse - Associate Dean Student Retention & Success Federation University
What is SPARK Training? This project, like many, started with a small idea, a tiny spark, if you will. The idea was to create a student retention and success training program for academic staff at Federation University, dual sector partner providers and non-dual sector partner providers. With input from the partner providers, six Professional Development training modules were developed, emphasising Student Progress and Retention Knowledge (SPARK).The goal is for SPARK Training to ignite a spark within those who complete the training when it comes to creating positive student experiences for FedUni students. The plan is to have SPARK Training continue to evolve to meet the needs of our academic staff. In this session Amy will provide you with the steps in creating your own training programs for academics:

  • How to impact student attitudes and behaviours towards study through teaching and learning
  • Design and development of the training modules: creating modules which were engaging and timely for academics
  • Moving forward: how FedUni plan to add to the suite of professional development modules based on input and feedback from SPARK Training participants
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Amy Barnhouse

Associate Dean Student Retention & Success
Federation University

3:10 pm - 3:50 pm Driving Student Retention and Advocacy through the Lens of Student Experience

Mark Young - Senior Manager, Sales and Customer Experience La Trobe University
From first contact through to completion, what is the role of marketing and recruitment in supporting student experience, retention and success? In recent years the low growth in mature markets has propelled investment in customer experience programs. These programs have supported internal divisions in pursuing improved retention tactics, increased student advocacy and provided strategic insights to improve student experiences. In this presentation, Mark will outline La Trobe’s student focused approach to retention:

  • The key drivers identified for education customer experience investment
  • Shaping internal partnerships and governance around delivery of CX outcomes
  • Individual case studies from La Trobe demonstrating the process and benefits of embracing a student experience focus
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Mark Young

Senior Manager, Sales and Customer Experience
La Trobe University

3:50 pm - 4:20 pm Afternoon tea

4:20 pm - 5:00 pm Case Study: Creating a Student Digital Strategy through Journey Mapping at the University of Auckland

Student Journey Mapping has huge potential in increasing competitive advantage in higher education through bringing down silos within the institution, optimizing the role marketing can play in supporting the education and research and diverting the focus solely from quality content to seeing the institution from an external perspective. Mapping has helped University Of Auckland in providing insight into the value of the various touch points, such as the website, as well as the value (or in some cases the lack thereof) of marketing campaigns, for example recruitment programs. Vanessa and Stephen will share how this challenged their assumptions about what student experience is, what is most important to students and the link to student retention, by walking you through the process:

  • Stimulus: are we using the right online and offline channels to create interest among potential students?
  • Zero moment of truth: are we facilitating the 'social discovery' process of potential students; is the image of the university also positive in earned channels (eg. review sites)?
  • First moment of truth: are we properly helping the various influencers and decision makers in their purchase decision?
  • Second moment of truth: how do students perceive the service, how are they sharing their experiences and how can we influence this process?

5:00 pm - 5:40 pm Case Study: Designing and Implementing an Employability Framework to Enhance Student Outcomes at University of Queensland

Dr. Dino Willox - Director Student Employability University of Queensland
Change is constant and occurring at an alarming rate as we move further into the digital age. This change is having a large impact in the workplace with 44% (5.1 million) of current Australian jobs now at high risk (70% chance) of being automated in next 20 years. To meet the transformation of the workplace, universities themselves must transform; from a place of didactic learning to that of experiential learning. In initiating the transformative process the University of Queensland has developed an ‘Employability Framework’, the creation and application of which Dr Dino Willox will explain in this session:

  • Development of the Framework and its four pillar structure
  • How the framework is applied to the curriculum at the University of Queensland
  • Outcomes, challenges and lessons learned from implementation of the Employability Framework
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Dr. Dino Willox

Director Student Employability
University of Queensland

5:40 pm - 6:20 pm Reducing Attrition through Explicit Embedded Employability and Student Career Identity

Shelley Kinash - Director Advancement of Learning and Teaching University of Southern Queensland
One of the most common reasons students give for losing motivation and dropping-out of university is that they fail to see career relevance and lose faith that a degree will help them achieve their career goals. This session will present an action-oriented review of empirical research on attrition, retention and success in the context of employability. Innovative and creative employability-related strategies that Australian universities are effectively using to retain and build student success will be presented. The key takeaways of this session are practical recommendations to reduce attrition by explicitly embedding employability and student career identity throughout curriculum and assessment. In this session Shelley will break down the reassessment process of curriculum reassessment through:

  • Applying lessons learned through empirical research
  • What makes for a successful employability related strategy?
  • Aligning curriculum and assessment design to enhance employability and career identity
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Shelley Kinash

Director Advancement of Learning and Teaching
University of Southern Queensland

6:20 pm - 6:20 pm Closing remarks from Conference Chairperson