2016 in review

It’s the end of 2016, and I’ve been in post for ~14 months now. Mostly for my own memory, I thought I’d collate the key achievements (by the metrics – linking to fuller blogs where I have them) of the year…:


I kicked my role off by defining a broad research programme, against which I’ve been working since.  I also successfully defended my thesis (and was awarded BPS chartered status), with one minor change to make, and have since submitted three papers based on that work (all in review) (I talk a bit about thesis->papers here and here).  A key thing this year in my research-teaching space is we recruited 4 PhD students to CIC (including two supervised by me – Amy Chandler, and Shibani Antonette).

Most of my work has been driven by the below activities (e.g., work on the papers and implementing the research funded). In addition I got to apply my research knowledge supporting two innovation lab (ilab) projects in our Masters in Data Science and Innovation (one on mining the REF impact studies, and the other on analysing student search data to support their learning). I’ve also been preparing another research grant recently (medium – $65k AUD) to explore ‘giving feedback on feedback quality’, as well as having a small involvement in an international project (on which I’m hoping to pilot a technique I can apply in our other data).

Funding: I led the drafting of two bids this year a small ($35k) and large (>$150k), acting as PI for the first.  With Laura Allen at ASU I also got $2k (USD) as a ‘data consortium fellow’ to visit ASU and build collaborations there (described here). I’ve been on almost $40k (AUD) of internal teaching and learning grants across multiple projects (see CV for full details):

  1. ~$3,000 (AUD) Writing for Data Scientists, Balanced Teaching Periods internal UTS funding. Based on these projects (writing in data science, white papers, wordpress portfolios).
  2. $3,400 (AUD) Assessing the Quality of Feedback Comments in a Benchmarking Exercise, funding from Andrea Leigh’s OLT citation. (described here)
  3. $9,621 (AUD) Vice Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning. Flipping the textbook: Student-created textbooks for students. (described in part here).
  4. $10,000 (AUD) Vice Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning Grant. Improving written communication skills in an accounting subject through the use of writing analytics.
    1. In addition to working with accounting on this project, we used the same implementation in civil law to investigate the efficacy of AWA to support student writing
  5. 10,000 (AUD) Vice Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning Grant. Participatory design and evaluation of an online mentoring space for postgraduate students. (described in this video).

Awards: I was involved in one main award this year (with the CIC-AWA team), supporting the submission on the other (I love the project, and use it, but I’m not a key team member on it):

  • Team finalists (with CIC-AWA team) in ASCILITE Learning Analytics SIG Awards for Excellence in Learning Analytics, Academic Writing Analytics, an online learning application using Natural Language Parsing techniques to analyse student analytic and reflective writing, and then giving feedback at sentence and whole text level.
  • I co-authored the application for the Pearson-ACODE Technology Enhanced Learning Award (with Darrall Thompson – REVIEW inventor), for which REVIEW was ‘Highly Commended Award for Innovation in Technology Enhanced Learning’.  Application here.


We got a few publications out this year, with a book chapter (1), full paper (2), conference paper (3 + another led by Anderson, waiting for proceedings!), two workshops (4-5), and workshop papers (6-7), and two editors (8-9).

  1. Knight, S., & Buckingham Shum, S. (Forthcoming). Theory and Learning Analytics.
  2. Knight, S., Buckingham Shum, S., Ryan, P., Sándor, Á., & Wang, X. (Forthcoming). Academic Writing Analytics for Civil Law: Participatory Design Through Academic and Student Engagement. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. Available Open Access via Springer
  3. Knight, S., Allen, L., Littleton, K., Rienties, B., & Tempelaar, D. T. (2016). Writing Analytics for Epistemic Features of Student Writing. Presented at the International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Singapore. Available via The Open University Eprint Archive: Slides here.
  4. Buckingham Shum, S., Knight, S., McNamara, D., Allen, L.K., Bektik, D., Crossley, S., (2016). Critical Perspectives on Writing analytics, 6th ACM Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference, Edinburgh, UK. 
  5. Chen, B., Wise, A.F., Knight, S., Cheng, B.H., (2016). It’s About Time: Putting Temporal Analytics into Practice: The 5th International Workshop on Temporality in Learning Data, 6th ACM Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference, Edinburgh, UK.  Workshop website. Proceedings paper.
  6. Knight, S., & Anderson, T. (2016). Action-oriented, Accountable, and inter(Active) Learning Analytics for Learners. Presented at the Learning Analytics for Learners workshop, co-located with the 6th ACM Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference, Edinburgh, UK: ACM Press. Available through CEUR.
  7. Martinez-Maldonado, R., Buckingham Shum, S., Anderson, T., & Knight, S. (2016). Towards Supporting Awareness for Content Curation: The case of Food Literacy and Behavioural Change. Presented at the Learning Analytics for Learners workshop, co-located with the 6th ACM Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference, Edinburgh, UK: ACM Press. Available through CEUR.

Invited Talks

  • October 2016 –  Writing Analytics to Improve Formative Feedback. Presented at Transforming Assessment. Buckingham Shum, S., Knight, S., Gibson, A., Ryan, P., & Aitken, A. (2016).
  • October 2016 –  Writing Practices and Epistemic Cognition, Arizona State University as part of a study visit to Arizona State University, The Science of Learning and Educational Technology (SoLET) Lab, to build collaboration around writing analytics. Funded by NSF Data Consortium fellowship (Laura Allen).
  • October 2016 –  Sites of Epistemic Cognition, at the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation, University of Sydney.
  • June 2016 –  Participatory Design Of A Learning Space and Learning Analytics invited talk (with Theresa Anderson) at the Learning Analytics and Data Science in Education Research Group, University of New South Wales.
  • April 2016 – Collaborative Information Seeking, a Lens on Epistemic Cognition, invited talk at the MEDIATE group, University of Oslo Faculty of Education.
  • April 2016 – Epistemic Cognition Socialised, invited talk at the MEDIATE group, University of Oslo Faculty of Education.


I’m formally involved with two subjects (strictly, formally I do no teaching) – an undergraduate quantitative literacy subject (Arguments, Evidence, and Intuition), and M-level data science subject (Data Science for Innovation). I am coordinating the former in summer, and teach into it in the other two semesters; I coordinate the latter. In the case of AEI we are also working to scale the subject up, and I have been a part of that time, alongside supporting general development across the MDSI (Masters in Data Science and Innovation) subjectsAt the higher degrees research (HDR) level, I co-coordinate CIC’s activities (e.g., by running two internal events),

That slightly understates what I’ve done in the teaching space this year though, which has included:

  1. Setting up a Facebook page and Diigo group (using to feed facebook from diigo bookmarks) to share resources for AEI
  2. Supporting student blogging through the CICAround project, including the development of an activity dashboard with student-driven activity indicators
  3. Through the FlipAround project, the start of students creating their own OER for learning (not through Wikipedia…yet) in the development of a student-authored/curated ‘textbook’
  4. Setting up a new student journal (Trends in Data Science) – first issue anticipated 2017
  5. Implementing benchmarking tasks in both my research and DSI teaching
  6. Implementing use of REVIEW in DSI, and supporting its implementation (and design of effective assessments/criteria/alignment in other MDSI subjects)
  7. Re-design of subject learning outcomes, assessments, and their criteria in DSI (contributing across MDSI) and AEI
  8. Engaging students in writing their own rubric for one key assessment in DSI
  9. Setting up a project for portfolio thinking and writing across the curriculum review in the MDSI
  10. Widespread innovative use of google drive and docs in my teaching
  11. Planning for a rehaul of another assignment (through shared – but individualised – dataset and quizzes)
  12. Running an internal briefing on Virtual Internships (with a future external collaboration planned)


It’s also been a pretty busy year in terms of ‘service’ (that nebulous bucket of ‘everything else’).

Externally, I became an editor of the Journal of Learning Analytics (3 year term commencing July 2016)…also acting as a guest editor for a forthcoming special section on Temporal analyses of learning data. In our recent editorial we outlined some of the changes we’re looking at in the journal, and there will be more on that in the coming months (post-LAK).  I was also Social Media and Publicity Chair for the 6th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference, Edinburgh, moving to Workshop & Tutorials Chair for the 7th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference,Vancouver.

Internally, my main role is as a CIC member and collaboratively leading projects on writing analytics. I also co-coordinate the HDR activities in CIC, and am on the task force to scale up the undergraduate subject ‘arguments, evidence, and intuition’ (as well as other subject coordination and teaching responsibility). I also joined the UTS Data Governance Sub-Committee this year (see here), and recently joined the Graduate Research School Board as CIC’s representative. More informally I’m a peer reviewer for the UTS learning.futures compliance process, and have been involved in various ad-hoc work on teaching and learning developments.

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