Responsible use of learning analytics by the sector
On February 5, the third meeting of the zone Accelerating Together took place. This time the meeting was centered around the theme of learning analytics. During the meeting, members of the zone Secure and reliable use of learning analytics did several presentations. They shared best practices about collecting and analysing learning analytics at higher education institutions. In addition, their ambition to formulate a national vision on learning analytics was discussed.
Theo Bakker (VU Amsterdam), team leader of the zone Learning analytics, presented the method developed by VU Analytics using the Data Science Wheel. The goal is to make an impact on education and policy, based on action-oriented insights through carefully collected data. To this end, the VU has drawn up a Code of Practice that focuses on the ethical aspects that are not set out in national legislation, in order to maximize the positive impact.
Iris Huis in ‘t Veld (SURF), the connector of the zone, presented the ambition of the zone to develop a national vision on the responsible use of learning analytics with regard to privacy, ownership, and ethics, like described in the recently presented Strategic Agenda for Higher Education and Research. A code of practice comprises a set of norms, values, and rules that provide direction. It is a policy instrument, a form of self-regulation to anticipate further government regulation. An example is the JICS Code of practice in the UK.
Ger Baron, CTO at the Municipality of Amsterdam, talked about the municipality’s innovation strategy. Important documents on which the policy is based are the Declaration of Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, the Principles of Digital Society (Dutch) to which the members of the VNG (Association of Dutch Municipalities) have agreed. There is also Tada, a movement in favour of a responsible digital city. Its purpose is to increase the ability to make ethical assessments in data-driven projects and to consistently apply the Tada values.
The speakers provided insight into the great possibilities of data to have a positive impact on education (policy). At the same time, they emphasise the importance of using data in a responsible manner. The members of the Accelerating Together zone acknowledge this and want to have a more fundamental discussion following the discussion of today. It is important to find a good balance between exploiting opportunities and averting threats. The Learning analytics zone will include this in its further trajectory.
The next meeting will be devoted to digital (open) educational resources. The members of the Accelerating Together zone show action-oriented disposition to work together to improve accessibility to digital (open) educational resources for both students and lecturers. Firstly, a whitepaper is currently being written about, taking inventory of the initial playing field. Secondly, the zone has commissioned research into the current state of affairs regarding digital educational resources and they have asked the zone Towards digital (open) educational resources to develop a vision and roadmap.