EduTECH Australia 2022

On 11 Aug at 3:30p at MCEC in Meeting Room 212, I’ll be speaking at #EduTECHAU discussing how we can better empower students through equity-driven human-data interaction. My presentation will be based on my co-authored book chapter in upcoming book, Human Data Interaction, Disadvantage & Skills in the Community’: Enabling Cross-Sector Environments For Postdigital Inclusion, edited by Dr. Sarah Hayes.

Join my session at #EduTECHAU! 10,000+ education leaders gather at Australia’s biggest meeting for the education sector to learn, exchange ideas & network. Book now with my discount code SPEAK20 and save an additional 20% off your in-person delegate pass. Register here

HERDSA 2022 Program Picks

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m so thrilled to attend (and present at) my first HERDSA conference! This will also be my first ever in-person conference. So, I thought I'd take a moment to share with you what I’m most looking forward to at HERDSA 2022 - happening both on-site and virtually! 

The program for the poster presentations are available at this link. The below does not include keynotes and panel discussions. +Please note that my program picks reflected below are for the on-site program unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, 27 June (Pre-conference workshops)

  • Workshop 2: I’m beginning to publish in higher education – what next?
    Host(s): Dr Wendy Green, University of Tasmania; Assoc Prof Susan Blackley, Curtin University; Assoc Prof Eva Heinrich, Massey University
    Room: Wadawurrung 2
    Time: 8:30a-12p
  • Workshop 6: Improving feedback practices: The role of learner-teacher relationships and digitally enabled learning design
    Host(s): Assoc Prof Rola Ajjawi, Deakin University; Prof Elizabeth Molloy, The University of Melbourne Assoc; Prof Kelly Matthews, The University of Queensland
    Room: Gunditjmara 2
    Time: 12:30p-4p

Tuesday, 28 June

  • Professional learning for changing academic practices: To be or not to be (in academia)? Inward calling and academic hazards in aspiring academics’ career prospects

Host(s): Ms Pham Ai Tam Le, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
Room: Meeting Room 103
Time: 10:30a-10:55a

  • Teaching, learning and the student experience: Improving learner engagement through narrative digital storytelling

Host(s): Dr Pranit Anand, Queensland University of Technology
Room: Meeting Room 106
Time: 11:30a-11:55a

  • Values, justice and integrity: Anti-racism as a critical graduate competency: Developing students’ capacity to recognise the mechanism of structural

Host(s): Ms Jessica Genauer, Flinders University
Room: Meeting Room 104
Time: 11:30a-11:55a

  • +Virtual 1.2: Feedback vs feedforward: which matters more to students?

Host(s): Dr Jeffrey Lim, The University of Sydney
Time: 11:30a-11:55a

  • Teaching, learning and the student experience: Authentic assessment in the digital world: A critical scoping review

Host(s): Assoc Prof Rola Ajjawi, Deakin University
Room: Meeting Room 105
Time: 1:30p-1:55p

  • Pathways and partnerships: Does industry and external engagement matter for PhD careers?

Host(s): Dr Peter Bentley, Innovative Research Universities
Room: Meeting Room 102
Time: 1:30p-1:55p

  • Professional learning for changing academic practices: The role of scholarship of teaching and learning in professional learning and development of academic staff

Host(s): Dr Ekaterina Pechenkina, Swinburne University of Technology
Room: Meeting Room 103
Time: 2p-2:25p

  • Teaching learning and the student experience: Principles of authentic assessment: A new model from teacher education

Host(s): Mrs. Claire Simpson-Smith,
The University of Adelaide
Room: Meeting Room 106 + 105
Time: 2p-2:25p

Wednesday, 29 June

  • Teaching, learning and the student experience: How do we improve student feedback literacy? A scoping review of intervention studies

Host(s): Miss Tegan Miller, Deakin University
Room: Meeting Room 105
Time: 11:30a-11:55a

  • Teaching, learning and the student experience: Approaches to designing feedback processes for student uptake: Differences in practices based on academics’ teaching contexts and conceptions of feedback

Host(s): Dr Kieran Balloo, University of Southern Queensland
Room: Meeting Room 105
Time: 12p-12:25p

  • Teaching the hidden curriculum to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students: Evaluation of an innovative unit

Host(s): Mrs Ashah Tanoa, Kulbardi
Aboriginal Centre Murdoch University
Room: Meeting Room 103
Time: 12p-12:25p

  • Roundtable 3C: Developing teacher feedback literacy through relational feedback practices

Host(s): Miss Ameena Payne, Deakin University
Room: Meeting Room 104 – Table #3
Time: 12p-12:25p

  • Roundtable 3C: Innovative online assessments for the dynamic digital world

Host(s): Miss Corina Raduescu and Dr Amanda White, The University of Sydney Business School
Room: Meeting Room 104 – Table #4
Time: 12p-12:25p

  • Supporting the development of Indigenous early career researchers

Host(s): Dr Michelle Locke, Western Sydney University
Room: Meeting Room 103
Time: 12:30p-12:55p

  • Roundtable 3C: Our mentor-mentee relationship: Creating a shared story while getting to know each other

Host(s): Dr Nira Rahman, The University of Melbourne
Room: Meeting Room 104
Time: 12:30p-12:55p

  • Professional learning for changing academic practices: Lend your ears to ‘Tales of Teaching Online’ – podcasting as a way of sharing innovation and building engagement

Host(s): Dr Joanne Elliott and Assoc Prof Chie Adachi, Deakin University
Room: Meeting Room 103
Time: 2:45p-3:10p

  • Professional learning for changing academic practices: Professional learning through purposeful, reflective fellowship writing – changing more than just practice

Host(s): Dr Paula Myatt, Griffith University
Room: Meeting Room 103
Time: 4p-4:25p

Thursday, 29 June

  • Teaching, learning and the student experience: Inner qualities versus inequalities: Measuring and tracing change in postgraduate students of Indigenous public health

Host(s): Ms Sally Fitzpatrick, School of Population Health
Room: Meeting Room 106
Time: 10a-10:25p

  • Teaching, learning and the student experience: Making talk work: Using a dialogic approach to develop intercultural competence with students at university

Host(s): Dr Johanna Einfalt, University of the Sunshine Coast
Room: Meeting Rooms 105 + 106
Time: 1:45p-2:10p

  • Innovation and research: Re-defining feedback literate students: Feedback barriers and students’ strategies for overcoming them

Host(s): Dr Judit Kibedi, The University of Queensland
Room: Meeting Room 104
Time: 2:15p-2:40p

Social program

Information on the social program is available at this link.

Tuesday, 28 June

  • New to HERDSA breakfast
    Time: TBA
    Venue: MCEC

Wednesday, 29 June

  • Conference Dinner
    Time: 7p-11p
    Venue: River’s Edge Events Melbourne

These choices reflect my preferences, interests and career stage and may be quite different to your own.

If you haven’t already be sure to check out the HERDSA 2022 Annual Conference program which is available at this link!

#LTHEChat 225 Tweetchat – 2 February 2022 – Supporting and humanising behavioural change without the behaviourism: nudges and digital footprints

Ameena Payne, Martin Compton, Sophie Kennedy

Hosted by an early career researcher, educator and incoming doctoral student (Payne), senior researcher and educator (Compton) and disabled, undergraduate psychology student (Kennedy), our collaborative and interactive tweetchat aims to explore how behavioural change in online, higher education can be supported without behaviouristic approaches. Specifically, we will engage in discussion on how nudges and digital footprints may be deployed effectively to empower marginalised students – and the potential pitfalls of such data-driven pedagogy.

When students engage in online learning, they leave behind digital footprints, artefacts that trace their activities such as contributions, page views and communications. Digital learning management systems (LMS) generate data from these footprints that can provide insight into student progress and engagement as it relates to student success. These data are called learner analytics (LAs). LAs encompass the broad data mining, collection, analysis, and sharing/reporting/disseminating of students’ digital footprints. LAs are shaping the role of online instruction and student self-regulated learning by promoting ‘actionable intelligence’ (Bayne et al., 2020, p. 71), allowing instructors to orient students and empowering students to orient themselves. 

The growing adoption and interest in LAs has supported a strategic commitment to transparency regarding key drivers for improved student engagement, retention and success. At the same time, concerns are increasingly voiced around the extent to which students are informed about, supported (or hindered by), and tracked and surveilled as they engage online. It is important to acknowledge that making pedagogical conclusions based on delimited dimensions creates a context for stereotyping and discrimination, and profiling can result in hindering students’ potential and may hurt self-efficacy.

Nudge theory, coined by behaviour economist Richard Thaler, connects persuasion with design principles (Thaler, 2015). A nudge is an approach that focuses not on punishment and reward (behaviourism) but encourages positive choices and decisions – fundamental is understanding the context.
We’d like to share a few assumptions as we engage in this discussion:

  • Academic staff have a responsibility to support our increasingly diverse body of students and need to be open to new tools and techniques such as data generated by our students’ digital footprints and opportunities offered by behavioural psychology.
  • Achievement differentials and attainment gaps exist for marginalised students. Disabled students, or students with executive dysfunction, may struggle with skills vital to independent study and content learning e.g., initiation, planning, organisation, etc. For disabled students, a product of being under-served by higher education institutions (HEIs) is that they often demonstrate lower levels of engagement which leads to disproportionate completion rates and, subsequently, employment rates and other outcomes. 
  • Behaviouristic approaches (rewards and sanctions) are at the heart of much of what we still do in education but there have been movements and trends challenging manifestations of this – from banning of corporal punishment in schools to rapid growth in interest in ungrading. 
  • LMS data are not indicators of students’ potential and merit. LAs are not impartial; they are creations of human design. By giving a voice to the data, we’re defining their meaning through our interpretations.

It is valuable to build in periodic or persistent nudges of and toward ‘both the goal and its value’ to empower all students to sustain their efforts (CAST, 2018). We advocate the implementation of nudges as something that can be useful for everyone using an LMS, as compared to a tool aimed directly at disabled students, who may feel singled out. We hold that nudging is less of an evolution of behaviourism but more of a challenge to its ubiquity and all the common assumptions about its effectiveness. We propose the employment of empathy, human connection (in contrast with carrot and stick approaches of education) and understanding to help effect small changes through supportive nudges. Nudging, prompted by LAs, is one way to approach improving achievement, narrowing gaps and offering connection and support for all students. 

Q1 – If nudging students is less about coercive practises (punishments and rewards) and more about ‘soft’, small-step connections towards positive change, what examples can you offer from your practice?

Q2 – What role does/could learning analytics (LAs) play in shaping our in-course interactions with students, particularly those from marginalised groups? 

Q3 – LAs risks profiling students and driving inequality. How might we address the weaknesses of LAs (such as the cognitive biases we may bring to its interpretation and/or some students being advantaged by extra guidance)?

Q4 – What role might nudging and/ or LAs play in personalising/adaptive learning?

Q5 – Regarding the complex issues in the nexus of student agency & subjectivity, privacy, consent, & vulnerability, how might we differentiate between LAs & surveillance in online HE?

Q6 – Can nudges assist students in overcoming ‘learned helplessness’ especially when breaking through cycles of negative thoughts and self-blame? If so, how might nudges support students in taking control of their educational experiences?

Join us on Wed, 2 Feb at 8p (GMT) / Thu, 3 Feb at 7a (AEDT)

Further reading:

Bayne, S., Evans, P., Ewins, R., Knox, J., Lamb, J., Mcleod, H., et al. (2020). The Manifesto for Teaching Online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2.

Commissioner for Fair Access. (2019). Disabled students at university: discussion paper. Scottish Government. Available at:

Gašević, D., Dawson, S., & Siemens, G. (2015). Let’s not forget: Learning analytics are about learning. TechTrends, 59(1), 64-71. 

Lim, L. A., Gentili, S., Pardo, A., Kovanović, V., Whitelock-Wainwright, A., Gašević, D., & Dawson, S. (2021). What changes, and for whom? A study of the impact of learning analytics-based process feedback in a large course. Learning and Instruction, 72, 101202.

Payne, A. L., Compton, M. & Kennedy, S. (In Progress). ‘Supporting and humanising behavioural change without the behaviorism: nudges and digital footprints.’ Human Data Interaction, Disadvantage and Skills in the Community: Enabling Cross-Sector Environments For Postdigital Inclusion. Springer.

Prinsloo, P. (2016). “Decolonising the Collection, Analyses and Use of Student Data: A Tentative Exploration/Proposal.” Open Distance Teaching and Learning (blog).

Prinsloo, P., & Slade, S.(2015). Student privacy self-management: implications for learning analytics. In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Learning Analytics And Knowledge (LAK ’15). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 83–92.

Prinsloo, P., & Slade, S. (2016). Student Vulnerability, Agency and Learning Analytics: An Exploration. Journal of Learning Analytics, 3(1), 159–182.

Roberts, L. D., Howell, J. A., Seaman, K., & Gibson, D. C. (2016). Student Attitudes toward Learning Analytics in Higher Education: “The Fitbit Version of the Learning World”. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1959.

Thaler, R. (2015). The Power of Nudges, for Good and Bad. The New York Times. Available at:

Weijers, R.J., de Koning, B.B. & Paas, F. (2021). Nudging in education: from theory towards guidelines for successful implementation. Eur J Psychol Educ 36, 883–902).

Inclusive Assessment: Recognising Difference through Communities of Praxis – Review – CRADLE Symposium – 26 October 2021

Following a well-attended CRADLE symposium keynote from Prof. Penny Jane Burke, I reflected on the key points arising from the event. Read the summary on CRADLE News: