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How are things with... the national framework for learning analytics

Blog

How are things with... the national framework for learning analytics

In a previous blog, we talked about the start of the national framework for learning analytics from the Learning analytics zone, about the privacy-friendly and ethical use of learning analytics. In the meantime, we have been busy. High time for an update!

Building trust

Analysing and utilising learning analytics offers employees in higher education opportunities to improve education and supervision for students. While these are goals that no one can disagree with, there are concerns too. These concerns have recently become more visible, for example, around the use of online proctoring. Online proctoring uses software on a student’s computer that checks for fraud during an online exam. This allows for exams to be taken place remotely. Although institutions are able to justify the use of this software according to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), students remain concerned, creating resistance. For the Learning analytics zone, this is a confirmation that trust is the basis for responsible use of learning analytics. That is why we’re working on a joint framework with standards.

Long live privacy

Fortunately, we didn’t have to start from scratch, because we were able to draw on both national and international examples. For example, the GDPR provides a clear framework for data protection and JISC has a code of practice for learning analytics that describes important values. An important example is also the code of practice privacy and ethics of VU Amsterdam. This code of conduct describes what VU Amsterdam does with learning analytics and describes the framework of standards that are used for this. This code of practice formed the first step to an approach for a national solution.

Brainstorming with directors

Last February, we presented our ideas for a national code of practice to the administrators in the Accelerating Together zone. It was a great opportunity to present our ideas and assumptions to a group of administrators with a strategic view. The greatest profit of the discussion was the realisation that there are many different ideas about the word ‘code of practice’. Different associations, related to different concerns. The Accelerating Together zone, therefore, sent us home with an assignment: to speak with stakeholders and identify what exactly are their needs concerning privacy and ethics and to establish the “form” of our code depending on the outcomes. Since then, we no longer speak of a code of practice but of a national framework. The search for the shape of this framework has thus become part of our research.

Action plan

A project like this requires a careful approach, with an eye for a support base and quality. We’ve described this in our action plan:

  • The implementation is divided into 5 phases and the project planning runs from March 15, 2020 to December 31, 2020;
  • We start with a needs assessment and a choice of an instrument form;
  • We work with draft versions that we test in practice;
  • We form a sounding board group with stakeholders and an independent expert group.

The road ahead

We are currently conducting interviews to determine the needs of the institutions. What can you expect from us in the near future? We’re using an agile approach in which we work in short cycles. We will shortly be ready to choose the form of the framework we are developing. We’re also working towards a first draft of the framework, including a clear structure of the content and the first table of contents. Then it’ll be time to work, in a number of sprints, towards testing concept versions in practical projects, after which we will then process the feedback we receive.

Do you want to know more? Please contact the connector of the zone Secure and reliable use of learning analytics Iris Huis in ‘t Veld at iris.huisintveld@surf.nl.

Iris Huis in 't Veld

Connector zone Learning analytics
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