The announcement about the ELI 2012 Online Spring Focus Session on learning analytics arrived in my inbox yesterday. Yet again, the reference to libraries:
"The analysis of this data, coming from a variety of sources like the LMS, the library, and the student information system, helps us observe and understand learning behaviors in order to enable appropriate interventions. "
Because EDUCAUSE's focus is the management and use of and leadership in information resources, librarians are a significant portion of the group's constituency. So I'm glad, in fact, that librarians are explicitly listed in the focus session announcement as a target audience.
However, since the sharing of user data (at least personally identifiable) would seem to be against the librarians' professional code of ethics, I'm still stumped as to how libraries have been placed as possible participants in the learning analytics sphere. Don't get me wrong...I'm glad to have been asked to the party, but I'm not sure I'm going to want to dance. Some libraries are involved in analytics (for example, the Library Impact Data Project in the UK, which I learned about from commenters on this blog) and I'm curious as to how their projects work and still honor values such as intellectual freedom and user privacy.