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Leading Australian university collaborates with Cloudera to advance learning outcomes

Leading Australian university collaborates with Cloudera to advance learning outcomes

CloudEducationTop Stories

Deakin University has entered a strategic relationship with hybrid cloud company Cloudera to deliver deeper data insights into 8.8 million data events, levelling up on teaching and learning outcomes for its 60,000 students.

Cloudera, the hybrid data company, has announced its collaboration with leading Australian higher education provider Deakin University.

The university has selected Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) to achieve the next phase of its Digital Transformation journey. Through this strategic data investment, Deakin University will become more data-driven, improving the teaching and learning experience for its 60,000 students.

Remaining future-proof in Australia’s highly competitive higher education market is mission critical for Deakin University. Modernizing its data architecture not only strengthens its personalized learning pathways but heightens operational efficiencies. Using CDP, Deakin’s IT teams can now ingest and process more than 8.8 million data events per day from disparate systems, including learning management, registrar, administration and occupancy analytics.

The university also upgraded its learning management system with analytics that provide crucial insights into student learning patterns, providing real-time understanding of how to improve teaching and student learning outcomes. Teaching staff are also able to access various data sources via Deakin’s CDP learning analytics dashboard to provide more personalized and targeted support to students.

Faster access to usable data insights enables Deakin University to develop comprehensive profiles of student campus experiences and the many ways students interact with academic staff and learning materials. Armed with this knowledge of student learning patterns, university leadership, faculty and staff are now empowered to deliver more engaging lessons aligned to learning preferences and future workplace needs.

Craig Warren, Chief Digital Officer, Deakin University

Deakin University’s Chief Digital Officer, Craig Warren, said that CDP is giving the university crucial insights to improve its data collection and analysis strategy.

“Deakin University partnered with Cloudera to capture and better understand key student data to realize the next phase of our Digital Transformation,” he said. “Providing improved and enhanced teaching and learning experiences is integral to our digital strategy and Cloudera Data Platform helps us deliver this. The collaboration has not only generated significant value for current students but supports the university’s future plans to deliver data analytics capabilities to more departments.”  

Keir Garrett, Vice President, Cloudera Australia and New Zealand, said: “Australia is one of the world’s most competitive higher education sectors. Investing in a modern data infrastructure ensures Deakin has the ‘data intelligence’ to really understand the needs of today’s students while also anticipating how this might change in the future. Our team at Cloudera is delighted to be supporting Deakin on their data transformation journey as we are equally passionate about equipping students with the skills and knowledge they will need to thrive in the workplaces of tomorrow.”     

We asked Craig Warren, Chief Digital Officer, Deakin University, Australia, further questions to find out more.

Why is it important for the university to become more data driven and what advantages will this bring to students?

Australia has one of the most competitive higher education landscapes in the world. To maintain our 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, we sought to tap our wealth of data for insights to transform our education processes and deliver better experiences for our students.

Deakin’s goal was to build a data platform to aggregate data from disparate sources such as learning management systems, the registrar’s office, and administration systems to create more comprehensive knowledge of students’ experiences and the ways in which they interact with academic staff and learning materials.

We required a platform that could consolidate data from our myriad of university systems. With the Cloudera Data Platform, we are able to leverage our data to make better decisions based on insights, optimize the way we support our students’ learning and help them graduate on time.

What is the single most beneficial feature of the Cloudera Data Platform?

The Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) empowered our 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 our data, ingesting over 8.8 million events per day from different 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.

It is difficult to isolate one of the many valuable features Cloudera provides, however the team who support the platform feel the tight orchestration of the various tools within the platform and the overarching security and governance enable the team to provide end-to-end data services. Prior to having access to a platform such as Cloudera the team were required to manually administer a number of disconnected tools to create end-to-end processes which was less efficient, more prone to failure and harder to troubleshoot and support.

Can you explain how modernizing the university’s data architecture has strengthened its personalized learning pathways?

Our path to Digital Transformation started with consolidating and tapping our vast pool of data for insights. With CDP supporting our technological platform, Deakin has empowered our academics to better engage with students and helped the leadership team to make informed decisions on improving the campus experience.

Teaching staff are now able to draw insights into how students are learning. The university augmented 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 are able to proactively understand which learning materials are being accessed and when, and from these insights determine how to interact with their students to optimize their lessons, materials and the overall student experience. The analytics capability has been well received, scoring high marks for ease of use (four out of five score) and usability (71%) in an internal user research study.

How has the deployment heightened the university’s operational efficiencies?

CDP at Deakin is helping the Learning Analytics team to integrate, manage and analyze larger amounts of data from multiple sources. This is helping the teaching staff and, ultimately, the organization by providing an evidence-based teaching environment where data insights are used to positively change learning and teaching experiences. Teachers can now efficiently access data and insights about their students to provide support and maximize opportunities for students to succeed.

Data management and analytics processes at Deakin have improved by CDP providing a clear and complete view of the data in one place. This leads to a sustainable and ethical approach to accessing learners’ data and conducting research to improve the quality of teaching and student success.

What other benefits has the use of analytics brought to the university?

The data platform has also enabled management and leadership staff to hone university processes and procedures to improve student outcomes in the future, by gaining insights into processes such as strategic planning, financial policies and reporting and research planning.

  • Occupancy analytics to understand usage of space, important to understand usage post-COVID
  • Analysis of data relating to our Disability Resource Center
  • Usage and analysis including predictive analytics for DeakinSync (our student web portal)
  • Ability to consolidate historic data sets from on-site deployments of systems with data coming from their redeployment to the cloud

How will this use of analytics be developed in the future?

Going forward, Deakin plans to expand our 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. Some particular outcomes the university is investigating are:

  • Improved enterprise governance and security of data analytics
  • Empower business areas to manage and utilize their data with self-serve capabilities
  • Make organizational data easier to find, access and analyze enabling our staff and students with information that leads to better creation of knowledge
  • More advanced use of predictive analytics
  • Advance the use of live or streaming analytics to support real-time decision making and automation

Why did you choose to work with Cloudera?

Deakin University puts itself at the forefront of innovation and data is key to helping us reach the next phase of our Digital Transformation. The Cloudera Data Platform helps put data at the center of our digital strategy to deliver better teaching and learning experiences for our staff and students.

We are confident that working with Cloudera can help us extend the benefit of data analytics organization wide, impacting more university operations and student life for the better. Our new data platform will also give us more insights to help us decide on the right technologies to adopt for the future classroom.

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