Implementing learning analytics at JCU: An International student support perspective

Tom Bayliss-Hack1, Tristan de Mezeires2

1 James Cook University, 1 James Cook Drive, Townsville, QLD, 4811,  
2 James Cook University, 1 James Cook Drive, Townsville, QLD, 4811,

The academic performance of international students is influenced by a wide range of factors. Difficulties can result from a lack of academic skills or be an indicator of other barriers to success, such as their physical and mental health, English language competence, social wellbeing and support, financial stability or digital literacy. Early identification of students who are at risk academically may allow the cause to be identified and effective interventions delivered. If the problem is only identified after a subject failure however, this can exacerbate the issue and leave students with additional emotional and financial costs.

In late 2015, James Cook University (JCU) implemented Blackboard Analytics for Learn, giving the ability to monitor student engagement with their online subject materials. Through cohort monitoring, academic risk assessment and a triaged referral process JCU has been working to establish a whole-of-institution approach to the use of this data to support students. This presentation will focus on this project from an International Student Support perspective, the challenges and opportunities, and the potential for analytics data to inform enrolment, welfare and compliance decisions.


Tom has been the Manager of the International Student Support team at James Cook University since 2012. His team is responsible for +/- 2000 international students across the Townsville and Cairns campuses. Tom has also been the ISANA National Vice President for Professional Development since 2013.