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June 2020

Welcome to the CIC newsletter!

Dear Colleagues,

These are “interesting times” indeed, which is why this newsletter is hitting the streets a little later than planned. As we note in one of our stories:
“National bushfires. A global pandemic. Global social unrest. The disruption of higher education. And 2020 hasn’t even reached half-time.”
How does CIC support UTS with applied data science tools and services in such times?

We helped convene a new COVID-19 Data Team. Working closely with our colleagues in Business Intelligence, Planning & Quality, and Finance, this team services the most urgent data needs across the university as we support students all over the world, and as staff put in place contingency plans.

CIC’s team has of course switched to working from home, and I’m sure you’ll want to join me in recognising their agility and resilience in maintaining the quality of CIC’s support for UTS over the last 6 months.

While such fire-fighting is necessary, UTS is not losing sight of its 2027 strategy, and CIC continues to advance this with ground-breaking work that demonstrates
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human-centred design of analytics tools that equip students and staff for the only thing we can be sure the future holds — change, complexity, ambiguity.

CIC specialises in how data/analytics/AI intersect with equipping students with Graduate Attributes, and staff with the competencies, that the changing workplace and jobs market will demand. So you’ll be reading about skills analytics, building resilient agency, cultivating critical and reflective writing, more effective teamwork, and optimising the use of learning spaces.

We hope you enjoy these stories, dive deeper with the follow-up links, and do connect with us at

Simon Buckingham Shum
Professor of Learning Informatics
Director, Connected Intelligence Centre



Skills Analytics to help students get on TRACK

A new UTS2027 strategic project, TRACK, is using data, analytics and artificial intelligence to help students make more informed course choices to land their dream job. It’s also helping UTS design courses that anticipate the skills required in the workplace of the future.
Read on ...
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24/7 instant feedback on writing for all students

Academic Writing has distinctive hallmarks that reflect the importance placed on critical thinking, argument and reflection. It’s also tough to learn. Now AI can provide instant feedback — even on your 17th draft, at 3am…
Read on ...
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Building staff resilient agency to cope with disruption

National bushfires. A global pandemic. Global social unrest. The disruption of higher education. And 2020 hasn’t even reached half-time. When the only constant is change, we need a distinctive set of personal qualities to adapt and thrive. But how do we talk about those qualities? Can we meaningfully assess them? And what does it look like when leadership values these qualities?
Read on ...

How well do you make use of a learning space?

“Classroom Proxemics” refers to how teachers and students use a learning space. CIC has engaged UTS academics in evaluating a range of visual analytics that make their use of space visible in completely new ways. Does it make sense? Is it ethical?
Read on ...

Writing a better Research Abstract: free course + AI feedback!

CIC Doctoral Researcher Sophie Abel specialises in academic writing, and has just published a free course on UTS Open, entitled “Writing an Abstract“.
Read on ...
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CIC featured on Experiencing Data podcast

Have you made a serious investment in developing an analytics tool, but nobody’s actually using it? And if they are, it’s painful? Human-Centred Design makes the key difference.
Read on ...
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CIC at (online) international conferences

Research is fuelled by academics connecting through high quality, peer reviewed conferences — all of which had to shift online this year due to the pandemic. CIC was out in force, albeit into the small hours on some occasions!…
Read on ...
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CIC catalyses Reflective Writing Analytics network

Sharing honest written reflections can make the writer vulnerable, as they reflect on their uncertainties, failings, and how they are changing as a learner. CIC is bringing together the leaders in Reflective Writing Analytics, providing instant feedback on such writing.
Read on ...


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Congratulations Dr Vanessa Echeverria!

We’re delighted to announce that Vanessa Echeverria has graduated from our Learning Analytics Doctoral Program! She submitted a thesis that required just a few typographical fixes, earning the praise of her international examiners.
Read on ...

Welcome Joseph!

We are delighted to announce that Joseph Jung has joined CIC as a UX Front Developer. Joseph is particularly interested in UX/UI.
Read on ...