In May we pointed you to Andrew Harvey’s piece in The Australian on the risks involved with creating ‘profiles’ of students using institutional data. Sharon Slade and Fenella Galpin from Open University, UK are undertaking significant work in this area specifically examining ethical issues in learning analytics. Back in April/May this year they ran a workshop at the LAK2012 Conference in Vancouver which explored some of the ethical issues and dilemmas coming to the fore around the widespread use of learning analytics in higher education.
Sharon’s blog site details this workshop which one of our Working Group members from UniSA, Tim Rogers, participated in – she writes:
Students leave behind lots of information about themselves, with little or no realisation of what Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) do with it. Does it matter? We ran a ½ day workshop at the LAK12 conference in Vancouver in late April 2012 to explore some of the ethical complexities that are introduced by using learning analytics to categorise and predict student cohorts and behaviours.
HEIs regularly access and capture student data, for example around gender, log in frequency, study goals, and assignment scores, in the hope that this will lead to a clearer and simpler means of understanding and driving student engagement and performance. That all sounds fine. So what’s the big concern?
Read the full discussion and summary of the workshop at Sharon’s blog site odlsharonslade