Thursday, January 26, 2012

LAK12 Learning Analytics: Some Questions from the Drive In

Driving to work this morning in the light rain I brainstormed about some possible questions about learning analytics:

What are the intellectual freedom and privacy implications of LA?

Can/should LA data be used in evaluations of teachers?

What are the philosophical assumptions/bases of LA? Is LA based on a behaviorist, humanist, progressive, etc. educational philosophy?

Who owns the data generated by students? (I'm pretty sure I have seen this addressed in some of the literature, perhaps not the LA literature, but elsewhere.)

Is this considered human subjects research and what are the informed consent implications of that? Can students opt out?

How will archiving of the data be managed? What can the data be used for in the future?

What are the questions that can be answered with the data? Which of the answers are actionable? i.e. "Data shows that students who visit the cafeteria 3 times by the 12th hour of the new semester in their first year have a higher chance of graduating in four years." Is this a cause or an effect? Can we act on this information?

During this MOOC, I want to see learner analytics technology in action and learn a lot more about the data side. But my primary interest is in the ethical questions.

Looking forward to tackling the reading list.

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