“I’m Not a Number, I’m Someone to Them”: Supporting Commencing University Students’ Through Technology-Mediated Personalised Communication
As universities offer more flexible delivery options there are parallel concerns about increasing levels of engagement. Withdrawal and disconnection from study is most common during the first year of university as students experience social, cultural and financial adjustments and attempt to understand the nuances of academic learning. This article reports on the impact of a technology-enabled support system delivering timely, personalised and actionable feedback on online activity and support emails at critical periods in two courses. Learning analytics data was used to identify appropriate engagement metrics for personalising feedback to students with results indicating an improvement in course grades. While the learning analytics approach provides a technology-mediated means for scaling personalised feedback and communicating with large cohorts of learners, the qualitative results indicated that students felt they were noticed as individual learners, were more willing to contact educators for support, and more motivated to engage with the online course learning materials.