Dr Steve Leichtweis

George Mason University, BSc (1990), University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, MSc (1993) & PhD (2002)


I have been the Head of the eLearning Group at the Centre for Learning And Research in Higher Education (CLeaR) since the beginning of 2016. Prior to this I was the Manager of the Centre for the Creative Application of Technology in Education (CreATE) at the Faculty of Education & Social Work. My background includes almost 15 years working in University IT and a decade before that as an academic researcher in cardiovascular disease. My interests involve the use of digital technology to enhance learning and teaching, learning analytics & learning environments.

Research | Current

Learning analytics and personalised feedback and communication at scale using OnTask and SRES. These collaborative, multi-institution projects have resulted in the development of open-source learning analytics tool that supports instructor-driven, bottom-up approaches to the use of learning analytics to understand and improve student engagement. The philosophy for both projects is that learning analytics should be about empowering teachers and students with data. You can learn more about the OLT-funded OnTask project at OnTaskLearning.org or read the recent, open-access publication in the Journal of Learning Analytics - OnTask: Delivering Data-Informed, Personalized Learning Support Actions. Journal of Learning Analytics, 5 (3), 235-249. Contributors to the SRES version 2 project include the Universities of Sydney, Otago & Auckland and software development is supported in part by an Ako Aotearoa Nationally Funded Project (https://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/using-learning-analytics).

Student Engagement & Achievement in Large Lecture Settings (SEALLS) project. This action research programme is a collaboration between a multi-disciplinary group at the Faculty of Education & Social Work to explore the opportunities and synergies of coordinating blended learning design, technology integration, learning analytics and a First Year Experience student mentoring programme within a compulsory first-year course in the Bachelor of Education programme at the University of Auckland, NZ. The intention is to deepen student engagement, more fully support students from traditionally underserved groups, improve student retention while exploring the institutional processes and infrastructure required to achieve these goals.

Learners and mobile devices (#NPF14LMD):
 A framework for enhanced learning and institutional change (2104-2016). This was a collaborative network of practice, supported by an Ako Aotearoa National Project Fund, across six tertiary institutions where some 37 practitioners developed case studies of local practice that informed the engagement with the project questions and the development of the key deliverable. Please visit this URL for more information -  https://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/learner-mobile-devices


Postgraduate supervision

Doctoral supervisions

Bing Xu (Education & Social Work). Research Topic: Detecting Emergent Leaders and Exploring Their Influence in Computer-Supportive Collaborative Learning.

I am able to co-supervise, as a secondary supervisor, in the following areas of higher education research:

  • learning analytics
  • technology-enhanced learning
  • active learning and learning space design
  • mobile learning

Areas of expertise

Industry Certifications:

Agile Fundamentals Certified Professional, ICAgile, Feb 2018

Change Management, ProSci (United States), Nov 2015

PRINCE2 Foundation, APMG International, Nov 2014

ITIL v3 Foundation, APM Group, Nov 2010

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Professional groups: 

University service:

  • Lead, University Learning Design Community of Interest (2016 - )
  • CLeaR Faculty Liaison, Faculty of Business (2018 - ); 
  • Member, University Student Analytics Working Group (2018 - )
  • Member, Faculty of Engineering Multi-disciplinary Learning Spaces (MDLS) Steering Group (2018 - )
  • CLeaR Faculty Liaison, Faculty of Education & Social Work (2016 - 2017)
  • ex officio member, Faculty of Education & Social Work TLQC (2013 - 2015)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Pardo, A., Bartimote, K., Buckingham Shum, S., Dawson, S., Gao, J., Gašević D, ... Mirriahi, N. (2018). OnTask: Delivering Data-Informed, Personalized Learning Support Actions. Journal of Learning Analytics, 5 (3), 235-249. 10.18608/jla.2018.53.15
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45925
  • Kitto, K., Brennan, A., Liu, D., Cox, T., & Leichtweis, S. (2018). Using Canvas data for learning analytics!. Paper presented at Australasian Learning Analytics Summer Institute (ALASI), Melbourne, Australia. 23 November - 24 November 2018. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45965
  • Blumenstein, M., Liu, D. Y. T., Richards, D., Leichtweis, S., & Stephens, J. M. (2018). Data-informed nudges for student engagement and success. In J. M. Lodge, J. C. Horvath, L. Corrin (Eds.) Learning analytics in the classroom translating learning analytics for teachers (pp. 185-207). Routledge. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45338
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marion Blumenstein, Jason Stephens
  • Blumenstein, M., McDonald, J., Gunn, C., & Leichtweis, S. (2017). Let’s talk student engagement: Connecting teachers and students using learning analytics. Paper presented at 17th Biennial conference of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI), Tampere, Finland. 27 August - 2 September 2017.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/40870
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marion Blumenstein, Cathy Gunn
  • Blumenstein, M., Leichtweis, S., & McDonald, J. (8/5/2017). Learning analytics in practice: Nudging students towards study success. Poster presented at The Higher Education Technology Agenda (THETA) 2017, Auckland, New Zealand..
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/41296
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marion Blumenstein
  • Blumenstein, M., McDonald, J., Moskal, A., Liu, D., & Leichtweis, S. (2016). Driving student engagement: SRES, two versions one purpose. Paper presented at Australasian Learning Analytics Summer Institute (ALASI), Adelaide, Australia. 27 November - 27 November 2016.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marion Blumenstein
  • McDonald, J., Liu, D., Moskal, A. C. M., Zeng, R., Blumenstein, M., Gunn, C., ... Pardo, A. (2016). Cross-institutional collaboration to support student engagement: SRES version 2. ASCILITE Adelaide 2016: Show Me the Learning: Conference Proceedings 33rd International Conference of Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational, Technologies in Tertiary Education, 397-405. Adelaide, Australia.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marion Blumenstein, Cathy Gunn
  • Bigwood, K., Bruce, T., Heap, R., Leichtweis, S., Moyle, A., & Neveldsen, P. (2015). From Fantasy to Reality: Six Critical Success Factors for Integrating Mobile Devices in Higher Education. Paper presented at TERNZ 2015, AUT, Auckland, NZ. 25 November - 27 November 2015. From Fantasy to Reality: Six Critical Success Factors for Integrating Mobile Devices in Higher Education. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Toni Bruce, Paul Neveldsen


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 308
New Zealand

Social links

Web links