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


Student Relationship Engagement System (SRES). This project is a multi-institution effort to develop an open-source learning analytics tool that support a bottom-up approach to learning analytics. The intention is for the tool to be eminently useful, applicable, and usable by teachers on the ground working with students. The project's philosophy is that learning analytics should be about empowering teachers and students with data, and that good analytics needs to focus on humans, hence the name 'Student Relationship Engagement System.' Contributors to this 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 insitutions 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

Current PhD supervisions

Rogers Kaliisa (co-supervision with Cathy Gunn)

Future supervisions

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

  • learning analytics
  • active learning and teaching spaces
  • mobile learning


I lead a team of 6 permanent, highly qualified & creative Learning Designers focused on building digital technology and eLearning capacity within the Faculty. In addition, we contract additional staff to support special projects as needed.

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

University service:

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

Professional groups: 

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • 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.
    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..
    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. Related URL.
    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: Rena Heap, Toni Bruce, Paul Neveldsen
  • Stephens, J., Locke, K., Rawlinson, C., Leichtweis, S., Willimott, M., Rata, N., & Ellis, D. (2014). Promoting student engagement and achievement in large lecture settings through blended delivery, learning analytics and peer mentoring. Paper presented at TERNZ 2014 Conference, Auckland, New Zealand. 26 November - 28 November 2014. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Damon Ellis, Kirsten Locke, Nicoletta Rata-Skudder, Catherine Rawlinson, Michael Willimott
  • Frielick, S., O'Carroll A, Cochrane, T., Narayan, V., Mac Callum, K., Moyle, A., ... Mann, S. (2014). Learners and Mobile Devices: Sharing practice from a national project. Paper presented at Ascilite 2014, Dunedin, New Zealand. 23 November - 26 November 2014. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rena Heap
  • Frielick, S., Leichtweis, S., MacCallum, K., & Moyle, A. (2014). #NPF14LMD: Learners and mobile devices. Paper presented at 4th Mobile Creativity & Mobile Innovation Symposium (MINA), Auckland, NZ. 20 November - 21 November 2014. Related URL.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 404
New Zealand

Social links

Web links