Obligation of Knowing: Ethics of Data Collection and Analytics
The use of analytics in higher education is a relatively new area of practice and research. As with any new area of practice, a variety of issues will emerge as field progresses. For analytics, it’s the ethics of data collection and the actions of learning analytics. Some of the ethical issues are evident, including following federal regulations (such as FERPA); other issues are much more subtle, such as the impact of learning analytics and any obligation that an institution may inherit based on having actionable intelligence. This session will provide a landscape of the ethical and privacy issues related to learning analytics. Participants will learn how to (1) develop a foundational knowledge of the ethical and privacy issues related to learning analytics, (2) identify individuals on campus who must be included in a broader discussion on the ethical issues related to learning analytics, and (3) develop individuals to cultivate a balanced approach toward learning analytics, which will allow projects to proceed within the culture of the institution.
- Institutions collect an enormous amount of data on students. (instructional tools, admin apps)
- Institutions are also “giving” an enormous amount of data to others. (publishers, online tools)
- Obligation of knowing = the ball is already in our court.
- Goals are to provide the best instructional approaches, providing support to all that ask or need it, and for students to track academic progress. Do students over simplify their progress? Instructors often have limited data to inform their practice. Institutions already invest a lot of resources often without knowing what the impact of the investments are!
- Signals – Early Alert at Purdue:
- Who decides what data is collected and by whom?
- Once data is collected, what are our obligations to use it?
- Analytics raises issues on campus and at the same time is providing data to make better decisions.
- Big 3 questions:
- Student: What will be the reaction to the “big brother” collecting data?
- Faculty: Should an institution take a nature vs. nuture approach?
- Institution: Who has the educational right to know? (FERPA)
- “Obligation of Knowing”
- If we have the data and the working models – what is the obligation to do anything?
- Institutions have data which can be used to improve student success.
- Projects have been implemented using the data.
- Institutions, faculty, and students each “own” part of the problem/solution in using the data.
- Moving forward:
- Focus on a goal (improving student success)
- Use transparency to foster trust
- Work with IRB
- Include a diverse audience
- Actionable intelligence and educational need to know and the ability for students and faculty to “opt-out” of the data collection process? What obligation do institutions/faculty have to make full use of the data they collect?
“Let’s make full use of the data at our disposal to improve teaching and learning.”