Perspectives from the stakeholder: Students’ views regarding learning analytics and data collection

Keywords: student perspectives, learning analytics, stakeholders, data collection, student data

Abstract

This article reports on a study exploring student perspectives on the collection and use of student data for learning analytics. With data collected via a mixed methods approach from 2,051 students across six Australian universities, it provides critical insights from students as a key stakeholder group. Findings indicate that while students are generally comfortable with the use of data to support their learning, they do have concerns particularly in relation to the use of demographic data, location data and data collected from wireless networks, social media and mobile applications. Two key themes emerged related to the need for transparency to support informed consent and personal-professional boundary being critical. This supports findings from other research, which reflects the need for a nuanced approach when providing information to students about the data we collect, including what we are collecting, why and how this is being used.

Implications for practice or policy:

  • When implementing the use of dashboards, institutions should ideally include opportunities for students to opt in and out, rather than being set so that students have agency over their data and learning.
  • When undertaking work in relation to learning analytics, staff need to ensure the focus of their work relates to student learning rather than academic research.
  • When institutions and academic staff collect and use student data (regardless of the purpose for doing so), all aspects of these processes need to be transparent to students.

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Author Biographies

Deborah West, Flinders University

Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching Innovation)

Office of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Students)

 

Ann Luzeckyj, Flinders University

Senior Lecturer in Higher Education: First Year Undergraduate Teaching Adviser

Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching

Bill Searle, Charles Darwin University
Manager - Learning Technologies Office of PVC - Education Strategy
Danny Toohey, Murdoch University

Senior Lecturer (Information Technology)

College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education

Jessica Vanderlelie, La Trobe University

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Students

Office of teh Deputy Vice-Chancellor Students

Kevin R. Bell, Western Sydney University

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Digital Futures

Office of the PVC, Digital Futures

 
Published
2020-12-23
How to Cite
West, D., Luzeckyj, A., Searle, B., Toohey, D., Vanderlelie, J., & Bell, K. R. (2020). Perspectives from the stakeholder: Students’ views regarding learning analytics and data collection. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 36(6), 72-88. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.5957
Section
Special Issue 2020 Learning Analytics: Pathways to Impact