Learning analytics: what students want unis to know

What do students think about their records being used for learning analytics? The Innovative Research Universities asked some

The IRU student survey and focus groups was part of a project on the use of learning analytic dashboards, including check-lists for programmes and codes of institutional behaviour

Overall it appears students accept universities collecting performance data.

“Most students felt the university was using their information to support their learning and make determinations about service provision. Interestingly, students often reported a more sophisticated use of data by the university than is currently possible or implemented.”

They also assume universities are organised in the way they use it; “Students were happy for their information to be provided to university support services and a number thought that all areas of the university already had access to their information and were frustrated that they had to keep repeating their story.”

However, students do not like tracking of their wifi and mobile app use. And they want to, “feel secure that their data would only be used by the university and not sold to third parties.”

The report proposes six university data do’s.

* be explicit when asking for student consent about what data will be connected and to what purpose

* remind students that their data is being collected

* develop “student-facing” dashboards related to available study services and material, “regardless of student grades” and information on study habits

* “exhibit caution” in including dashboard data on a student’s progress compared to peers

*  give students information on, but the power to turn off, dashboards and “push notifications”

* be cautious in using collected data “to trigger student support services

The guide also includes a code of practice for learning analytics and checklists for student data protection, academic interaction, student dashboard ICT support, and change comms.

The project authors are, Deborah West (Flinders U), Bill Searle (Charles Darwin U), Jessica Vanderlelie (La Trobe U), Danny Toohey (Murdoch U), Ann Luzeckyj (Flinders U) and Kevin Bell (Western Sydney U).

The report is open-access, in common with the substantial suite of resources in the IRU’s national innovation case study collection.


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