26th ICDE World Conference news - The ethical quandary over student learning analytics


Educators have no doubt over the efficacy and need for learning analytics, but the invasion of privacy that it entails makes it an ethically grey area – because more often than not, the data is collected without students’ knowledge or consent. This is overlooked supposedly because it is done in the interest of better education.

Learning analytics – which can be loosely defined as the subject of collecting and reviewing student data to enhance the quality of teaching – made for an engaging discussion during a break-away session at the 26th ICDE World Conference, held at Sun City, north of Johannesburg in South Africa, from 14-16 October and hosted by the University of South Africa.

Dr Brian Desbiens from Canada’s distance education and training network, Contact North, warned against the danger of institutions becoming a power unto themselves in their quest to provide better education.

“Research done by faculty members is thoroughly questioned and analysed, but institutional research on the other hand is a different story altogether. Do we really review the methodology with the same rigour? I’m not so sure.”

Read the rest of the article on the conference website.