All posts by ekt23

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Thoughts of Deferring or Discontinuing Studies

Annually, the UCount Survey asks undergraduates through taught masters students if they have thought about deferring or discontinuing their studies.

In 2019, 27% of respondents had considered deferral or discontinuation, in 2020, the number spiked up to 37% (the COVID effect), and in 2021, 32% report considering leaving. 

When a respondent indicates having considered leaving, they are directed to a set of questions that ask what has contributed to these thoughts (e.g. whānau commitments, enrolment difficulties, a concern that they are not suited to university study, etc.).

To help better understand from a longitudinal perspective what might be driving students’ consideration of leaving, Ako Marake | Evaluation & Student Insights have developed a new trendline page on the UC Student Experience Dashboard (“Discontinue/Defer Trends”). See below screenshot below:

screenshot of UC data dashboard of example trendlines from 2019 to 2021 of what students who have considered leaving indicate as reasons why

Users can also still use the slicers in the slicer panel to the left; maybe you are interested in a specific demographic of student, or students in a particular subject area.

This new page allows high-level insight into what might be driving students to leave UC.

Further analysis will be performed, but in the meantime, check out the new page in the dashboard here!

Additionally, all staff can access the whole suite of UC Data Dashboards here.

For any questions, or if you would like ESI to come to speak to you or your team about these data, please email Ellie Kay and Elyse Thompson at

3 Years of Learning and Teaching at UC

With the closing of the UCount 2021 survey last week, we’re happy to write that that brand new data is already accessible to all UC staff in the Learning & Teaching Dashboard (opens new tab)!

Using the Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching (opens new tab), students provide feedback on the learning & teaching they experience at UC. Respondents consider their overall educational experience, course structure and relevance, engagement inside and outside of courses, and quality of learner resources, like physical spaces and course materials, and more. Individual items within the focus area categories undergo calculations to derive the respondents’ overall “percent positive” scores.

Ako Marake have used these QILT Learning & Teaching Indicators in the UCount survey since 2019. We now have 3-year trendlines for the focus areas, all of which can be “sliced and diced” to show your cohort of interest, whether it be a specific programme, subject, or ethnicity.

Over 12,000 respondents comprise the trends presented below:

line graph trends of UC Learning and teaching

In nearly all focus areas,  percent positive scores have reached or surpassed pre-COVID scores in 2019.

Have a look at the brand new data, and explore all of the new features in this dashboard (see this blog post for reference)(opens new tab).

If you would like, a member of the Ako Marake ESI team would be happy to come talk with you and your team about these data; reach out to Ellie and Elyse at with any questions or comments.


Comparison is the Thief of Joy – Or is it?

Actually, Ako Marake think that comparison can offer incredible insights into students’ diverse experiences at the University of Canterbury.

From the beginning of Ako Marake’s foray into using data dashboards for reporting, staff have expressed the desire for direct comparison amongst cohorts of interest (“How can I see my department’s international and domestic students’ scores right next to each other to easily compare?“).  We could see the value and ease of direct comparison, but this remained a longstanding item on the to-do list.

During a recent period of dashboard re-development, in combination with a bit of knowledge and a lot of determination, we are very happy to announce that direct comparison is here (in some dashboards, anyways!). Specifically, the Learning & Teaching  and Postgraduate Experience Dashboards.

For example, users are now able to select on a department, and quickly see the Learning & Teaching indicators across all subjects and programmes within that department; see (redacted) below  example:

screenshot of Learning & Teaching dashboard new updates

With these updates, users can compare across departments, schools, colleges, or programmes, and easily switch amongst layer views using the buttons above the graph.

You can also click to compare by demographics, including comparison by age, ethnicity, fee type, first year/non-first year, and self-reported study location. The insights are truly endless!

We understand that these are big changes and that it might seem confusing. A member of the ESI team would be happy to come talk with you and your team; reach out to Ellie and Elyse at with any questions or comments.

Become a leader within the teaching community – UC teaching scholarships now open

UC’s Leadership in Teaching Development Programme offers prestigious scholarships that reward recipients with time and funds to pursue their teaching interests, within their localised teaching and learning communities.

In 2021, the Deputy Vice Chancellor’s office will again be awarding five scholarships across UC to support teaching development projects. The scholarship offers $10,000 to enable staff to undertake teaching related research and development, as well as an academic buyout for 0.2 FTE for two years. Proposed projects need to address UC strategic priorities, while building developmental capacity for collaborative problem-solving through authentic, practiced-based teaching development.

This is the second year of the Leadership in Teaching Development scholarship, with five projects already funded and underway. The projects that have secured funding so far are looking at a range of issues; from the development of robust methodology for flipped/blended teaching environments, to equity and inclusiveness in online teaching. The uses of adaptive technology to enhance introductory math outcomes, indigeneity in Engineering teaching, and developing pedagogies that better support practice-oriented teaching and assessment are further areas currently being researched.

The scholarship is prestigious. It rewards staff who are interested in developing teaching practices, and offers recipients the opportunity to become leaders within the teaching community.

Check out this website for more information on the scholarships, and how you might be able to apply.

Applications close on the 31st of March, 2021.

When They Leave Us, Where Do They Go?

Have you ever wondered where University of Canterbury graduates end up?

Did you know that 47% of 2019 graduate respondents are employed in Ōtautahi Christchurch? And 62% are employed in roles directly related to their field of study? Well, it’s true!

For over a decade, the Ako Marake | Evaluation & Student Insights Team (formerly Learning Evaluation & Academic Development, LEAD) has been collecting data on UC grads through the annual Graduate Destinations Survey (GDS). The survey invites all graduates to participate during the year following the completion of their studies.

The graduates are asked about any current employment, and/or further study, and also for feedback on the courses they completed and the skills they learned. We are constantly tweaking the survey to find better ways to understand our graduates’ experiences after leaving the university.  The 2020 survey had a response rate of ~38%. This year, respondents had the chance to win one of ten $100 Prezzy Cards – not bad for 10 minutes “work”!

The Evaluation and Student Insights (ESI) team has just published the latest GDS data in a new version of the Graduate Destinations Dashboard (opens new window). More interactions and insights than ever before are available, and new features make it easy for UC staff members to “slice and dice” the numbers to investigate cohorts of interest.

If you are looking to alter curriculum, needing evidence to support a programme review, or just curious, you can find interesting information in the “Programme Feedback & Skill Development” tab. For example, about 3 in 4 grads would recommend their programme of study at UC to others, and 80% agree there was good teaching throughout their study.

These are just some examples of the insights to be found in the Graduate Destinations Dashboard (opens new window). Find all our dashboards here.

To access, you must be a UC staff member. If you are on Windows, we recommend using Google Chrome. If you are on a Mac, please use Safari.

For any questions, or if you would like ESI to come speak to your team about this dashboard and others, please email Ellie Kay and Elyse Thompson at