This Week in Learning Analytics (January 31 – February 6, 2015)

Had some fun last week during a tour of CURVE (Collaborative University Research & Visualization Environment) at Georgia State University.  I am told that I am the first one to turn their gigantor screen into an immersive (and completely unusable) keyboard.
Had some fun last week during a tour of CURVE (Collaborative University Research & Visualization Environment) at Georgia State University. I am told that I am the first one to turn their gigantor screen into an immersive (and completely unusable) keyboard.


Higher Ed

2 February 2015
Southern University at Shreveport, Louisiana Enlists Unicon to Implement Student Success Plan (SSP)

Unicon, Inc., a leading IT consulting, services, and support provider specializing in open source for the education technology market, today announced that it will implement Student Success Plan (SSP) at Southern University at Shreveport, Louisiana (SUSLA) for coaches, counselors, and advisors to guide their students with case management technology. Unicon will provide IT consulting services, including implementation planning, systems integration, training, and support. SSP, case management technology, helps institutions achieve student success by providing a holistic coaching and counseling model for integrated planning and advising services (IPAS). At SUSLA, Unicon will integrate the institution’s student information system (SIS) and learning management system (LMS) with SSP, making it possible to populate student data from the SIS and academic data from the LMS into SSP. Unicon will also provide training to coaches, counselors, and advisors, ensuring they are well equipped to use the software and promote student success.


1 February 2015
Texas Tech Makes Student Retention a Top University Goal

Texas Tech is piloting the Student Success Collaborative by the Education Advisory Board to increase student retention through a combination of ‘high tech’ and ‘high touch’ efforts.



4 February 2015
DC Public Schools say internal website vulnerability left student information exposed

The public has been able to gain access to an internal website that was launched in 2010 and stores training materials for DC Public School staff related to special education cases. Some student information was listed in those training materials, as well as login information to a database regarding the District’s special education students.


3 February 2015
Durham Children’s Data Center lunched to collect and use date to inform policy decisions

South Carolina School officials have announced the launch of the Durham Children’s Data Center, an initiative with the county and Duke University, to collect and use date to inform policy decisions for the county and Durham Public Schools. The Children’s Data Center will be housed at and administered by the Center for Child and Family Policy at the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy. One of the first policy questions the research team will tackle involves pre-kindergarten programs, which in recent weeks, have been a hot topic among school board members.


3 February 2015
Ephesus Elementary School counselor honored for data-centered approach

Ephesus Elementary School will receive designation as a Recognized American School Counselor Association Model Program, called RAMP, in Phoenix, Arizona on June 30. Ephesus Elementary School Counselor Ashley Sherman said the school implemented a comprehensive classroom program that relied more heavily on data. She said the school looks at student data more frequently to see what intervention and counseling measures need to be implemented.


2 February 2015
Dept. of Ed Launches Summits Aimed at Improving Technology Use in Schools

Over the next six months, national experts will travel to a dozen cities to collaborate with school leaders in workshops on issues such as teacher training, student data privacy, instruction and budgets. This initiative, Future Ready Schools, is organized through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education, Washington, D.C., policy and advocacy organization.


2 February 2015
Virtual Preschool: Yes, That’s Now a Real Option

ClassVINCI Home is a subscription service ranging from $80 to $645 annually. All packages include weekly electronic delivery of digital books, songs, and games, as well as an activity guide for parents. Children are expected to use the digital learning games about 30 minutes per week. Parents are expected to do about 30 minutes worth of activities per week with their child, plus read the book together with their child every day. The child’s work is tracked through the company’s online learning management system. Parents who purchase the more expensive packages receive up to 90 minutes per month of time to interact online with a “trained and specialized” teacher who will discuss the child’s progress, answer the parent’s questions, and offer advice and customized activities and suggestions.



6 February 2015
Kajeet Education Broadband™ Now Available to 13,000 School Districts

Worthington Schools in Ohio is the latest school district to benefit from the expanded Kajeet coverage area. Currently partnering with more than 50 districts in 20 states, Kajeet is keeping students connected on multiple wireless broadband networks to online textbooks, apps, emails, documents and websites, as well as to their teachers, with its Kajeet Education Broadband solution to ensure that students have a level playing field for academic success and improved test scores. A key benefit of the Kajeet mobile Education Broadband solution is that it allows districts and schools to fully customize and filter the websites students can visit, as well as the times of day or night appropriate for student use. Teachers and administrators can further restrict access hours, and Kajeet filters out non-educational content. This keeps students on-task and controls costs. As part of the Kajeet solution, teachers and administrators receive reports with learning analytics to help improve student achievement.


3 February 2015
Civitas Learning Closes $16 Million In Funding to Continue Trailblazing Efforts in Data Science and Student Success

Civitas Learning, the Austin-based predictive analytics Software-as-a-Service (Saas) innovator on a mission to help a million more students graduate every year by 2025, today announced $16 million in funding led by new investor Rethink Education, a venture capital firm that invests in progressive companies that are at the forefront of the education technology industry. Returning investors include Austin Ventures and Emergence Capital.


30 January 2015’s Personalized Learning Services Available to 12,000 Worldwide Students and Faculty at Penn State World Campus, the leading online tutoring service, announced that Penn State World Campus, a pioneer in online learning, will offer’s award-winning tutoring and data analytics to students in all 50 states, more than 40 countries and 7 continents.



Conference Proceedings

A Case Study of Learning Action and Emotion from a Perspective of Learning Analytics
Haiping Zhu, Xinhui Zhang, Xinhong Wang, Yan Chen, Bin Zeng | 2014 IEEE 17th International Conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) | 19-21 Dec 2014

ABSTRACT — With the rapid development of online learning, users have more and more diverse ways to learning. The advantage of online learning is that the e-learners’ behaviors can be completely recorded in the log events. So learning analytics can be made on these data. More than 500 freshmen used Moodle to study our “C program” course each year. So a large number of learning data have been collected. How to make analysis of the data is very meaningful. In this paper, we focused on analyzing characteristics both the learning behaviors and the nonintellectual factor of e-learners, such as emotion. We aimed to find the main factors which influence learner’s achievements. These factors might be submit time of programs, login times, the frequency of assignment view, etc. Based on the analysis, we adopted The Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) and Felder & Solomon Learning Styles and Strategies surveys to obtain e-learner’s emotion and learning style in a certain period of time or currently. Then we made the correlation analysis between e-learner’s emotion, learning style and their achievements. The experimental results made a verification that positive emotion has a great influence on the user. And also the learning enthusiasm of visual learners is obviously higher than that of verbal learners.


Summaries & Reviews

In College Access, ‘Who’ Is As Important As ‘How’
Garrett Neiman | Forbes | 4 Feb 2015

ABSTRACT — Research conducted by CollegeSpring’s director of Research and Evaluation, Marina Preciado, suggests that the effectiveness of college-going interventions are related to how well the people providing support are matched with students. “This research suggests that students who have needs for both academic and non-academic intervention may benefit differently from different approaches to mentoring. For academic outcomes, students may benefit most from a “tutoring” approach in which an academically adept mentor focuses his or her energies on improving students’ academic outcomes through focused practice. This may be best executed by mentors with a strong academic background and training focused on academic preparation.”


Creepy Analytics and Learner Data Rights
Michael de Raadt | | 30 Jan 2015

ABSTRACT — Review of “Creepy Analytics and Learner Data Rights” by Scott Beattie (CQU), Carolyn Woodley (RMIT), Kay Souter (Deakin University) and published in the Proceedings of ASCILITE2014




How real-time learning is shaping the classroom of the future: Intel says Kno to boring school activities
Kane Fulton | Tech Radar | 4 February 2015

Interview with John Galvin, Vice President and General Manager at Intel Education, who claims that “Kno harks back to Intel founders Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce, who places education high on the company’s agenda from the start.”



Stop treating universities as if they were a football game
Peter Scott | The Guardian | 3 February 2015


Learning analytics is better when…..?
David Jones | The Weblog of (a) David Jones | 2 February 2015


A Clear Reporting and Analytics Gap in Learning and Education
Brent Harvey | Lambda Solutions Blog | 30 January 2015


Christmas Hedgehog

This Week in Learning Analytics (Holiday Edition)

Christmas Hedgehog
My dog REALLY liked his Christmas Hedgehog…and he wasn’t about to share, either.


Higher Ed

December 26, 2014
UltraViolet Seeks Adjustment to College Rankings to Include Rape Statistics
UltraViolet recently rolled out a massive, scathing online ad campaign that discourages prospective students from applying to roughly three dozen sought-after colleges and universities that have been spotlighted for allegedly mishandling sexual violence issues on their campuses, including Brown University, Dartmouth College, University of California at Berkeley, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Arizona State University. The group takes particular aim at The Princeton Review, which does not include rape stats in its rankinsg, despite considerations of alcohol consumption, pot-smoking, and tasty food.

December 19, 2014
Federal Government Releases College Ranking Framework, Based on Information that is not Currently Widely Collected
The U.S. Department of Education has pledged to issue American college ratings in time for the 2015 school year. The evaluation framework rates colleges in terms of (1) ACCESS: how many low-income/disadvantaged students they educate, (2) AFFORDABILITY: how affordable they are, and (3) OUTCOMES: how well graduates do financially, and in the job market and in graduate school. The rating system and timeline are very ambitious, as this information is currently very difficult to obtain and collect. In response, U.S. News and World Report plans to start producing a “Best Value Schools” ranking, as well as incorporate additional data made available under the Obama plan as part of its existing ranking methodologies.


December 26, 2014
New England States Agree on Common Method for Sharing Educational Data
Through its Common Data Project, the New England Secondary School Consortium recently released figures that look at high school graduation and dropout rates — as well as rates of college enrollment and retention — for every New England state except for Massachusetts.

December 22, 2014
West Virginia Launches New Education Database
ZoomWV is a dashboard that allows public access to educational data collected by the West Virginia Department of Education since the 1990’s. In making these data available, student privacy has been a priority. Student-level data is not stored in the database, and the state Board of Education has recently codified a pledge not to share student data with third-party providers.

December 22, 2014
AVID Program for At-Risk High Schoolers Shows Success in College
ADIV (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a national program that began in the 1980s and that aims at helping students in groups less likely to go to college. In Texas, participants in the program are seeing not only increased rates of enrollment, of of persistence as well.

Privacy & Ethics

December 20, 2014
Pennsylvania Parents Concerned about Student Data Collection
Pennsylvania parents have petitioned Governor Tom Corbett to put a moratorium on data collection practices. Parents cite concerns about personality collecting, limiting access to information by third-party vendor, and ensuring the protection of constitutional rights.


December 24, 2014
US Study Identifies Educational Inequalities
The U.S. Department of Education recently released its Equitable Access to Excellent Educators study, a state-by-state look at how schools are educating minority students and those living in poverty. Students living in poverty are more likely to have teachers who are unlicensed or inexperienced.


December 26, 2014
Cutting-Edge College Readiness Tool Comes to Philly Public Schools
With the help of private philanthropy, the Philadelphia school district has inked a five-year deal that will give its 6th to 12th grade students access to the Naviance platform — a web-based college-and-career readiness tool that officials say has been used to great success by wealthier districts across the nation for years.

December 17, 2014
Renaissance Learning Adds Education Entrepreneur John Katzman to Board of Directors
Renaissance Learning, which specializes in K12 assessment and learning analytics, recently added John Katzman to its board of directors. Katzman is founder of Noodle Education, 2U, and the Princeton Review.

Fake News

December 22, 2014
Engineering Student Develops App that Tells how much to Study for Desired Results
You know that learning analytics is going main stream when you start to see fake news story’s start popping up. The only thing this fake news app won’t do is predict whether or not you will find a girlfriend of boyfriend: “I study in an engineering college so I couldn’t get enough data,” Ramesh told Faking News when asked why his app doesn’t cover this aspect.

I Wish That This Was Fake News

December 22, 2014
Student Data Cards… A Student Motivational Tool and Data Tracker
Either a low-tech approach to learning analytics, or really silly. For the teacher who is either very lazy, or has an embarrassingly low degree of word-processing ability, I suppose that $3 is a small price to pay.



Student Data Privacy in 2014: Revelations, Legislation, Controversy by Benjamin Herold
A review of 10 of the year’s biggest Education Week stories on the topic of student data privacy.


Why Comparing Lots of Colleges Might Not Help as Many Students as You’d Think by Beckie Supiano
Supiano notes that university ranking systems (most notably, the rankings published regularly by U.S. News & World Report do not address the concerns guiding student-decisions about college. Instead, she notes the importance of geography, as a function of an interest in keeping cost down on the one hand, and of a tolerance for risk on the other.

An important consequence of considering the importance of geography is that it forces a re-envisioning of the educational market. The market is not best conceived as National, or even in terms of the State. Instead, markets are regional, and in such a way that students are likely to privilege location over educational quality, or even future career options. This is crucial to keep in mind as students are advised out of high school, but also as a significant possible cause of attrition (students attending colleges farther from home are likely to transfer to local schools after only a year away). It should also motivate a more distributed approach to educational investment.

I am reminded here of Bauman and Urry, who each argue that economic classes are no longer a function of access to means of production, but rather access to means of mobility. Those who have greater ability to overcome geographic boundaries (which includes both financial and cultural factors…a student not only requires the ability to leave home, but also a sufficient tolerance for risk) are most likely to have access to higher quality education, see higher levels of persistence (or maybe not, since increased mobility may in fact lead to a more DIY approach to higher educational achievement), and succeed beyond the walls of educational institutions.

A Year of Enhanced Student Privacy Laws by Glen W. Rectenwald & Doneld G. Shelkey
A brief summary of California’s ‘expanded student data privacy regime,’ and considerations for educational technology service providers. In light of the growing amount of state legislation being developed on the model of California’s Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA), the authors recommend that service providers develop products with SOPIPA in mind, as they may find themselves in the position of having to comply by 2016.

This Week in Learning Analytics (November 1 – 7, 2014)

The Report to the European Commission on New Modes of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education recommends the fill and informed consent of all students who lend their data for the sake of educational purposes. (Image Source: Report to the European Commission on New Modes of Learning in Higher Education)
The Report to the European Commission on New Modes of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education recommends the fill and informed consent of all students who lend their data for the sake of educational purposes. (Image Source: Report to the European Commission on New Modes of Learning in Higher Education)

Latest News

7 November 2014
Microsoft and Other Firms Pledge to Protect Student Data
Fourteen companies, including Microsoft and Mifflin Harcourt, Amplify, and Edmodo, have pledged to adopt nationwide policies that will restrict and protect data collected from K-12 students. The group in pledging not to (1) sell student information, (2) target students with advertisements, or (3) compile personal student profiles unless authorized by parents or schools. The pledge, which is not legally binding, was developed by the Future of Privacy Forum.

6 November 2014
Lecturer Calls for Clarity in Use of Learning Analytics
Sharon Slade (Open University) talks about her university’s effort to develop and ethical policy on the use of student data, that attempts to carefully address conflicting student concerns: (1) concerns about institutional ‘snooping’ on the one hand, and (2) an interest in personalized modes of communication. The Ethical Use of Student Data for Learning Analytics Policy produced at the Open University is the first of its kind, and the result of an exemplary effort that should be repeated widely.

6 November 2014
Echo360 Appoints Dr. Bradley S. Fordham as Global Chief Technology Officer
Echo360, an active learning and lecture capture platform, has appointed Dr. Fordham as Global Technology Officer. With a wealth of industry and scholarly experience, Dr. Fordham will add significant expertise, legitimacy, and exposure to the platform. The this is the latest in a series of recent investments in developing the platform’s real-time analytics capabilities, which until recently, have been rather limited and unsophisticated.

6 November 2014
Harvard Researchers Used Secret Cameras to Study Attendance. Was That Unethical?
In the spring of 2013, cameras in 10 Harvard classrooms recorded one image per minute, and the photographs were scanned to determine which seats were filled. The study rankled computer-science professor, Harry R. Lewis, who viewed the exercise as an obvious intrusion into student privacy. George Siemens notes that attendance data is the ‘lowest of the low,’ and notes that the level of surveillance taking place in online courses far exceeds what was collected as part of the attendance-tracking exercise. Since Lewis raised his concerns, Harvard has committed itself to reaching out to every faculty member and student whose image may have been captured to inform them of the research, a not-so-easy effort, as images were captured anonymously and have subsequently been destroyed as part of the research methodology.

5 November 2014
Disadvantages Students in Georgia District Get Home Internet Service
Fayette County Schools in Georgia have partnered with Kajeet to give Title 1 students a Kajeet SmartSpot so that they can access online textbooks, apps, email, documents, sites, and their teachers while outside of school. The mobile hotspot works with the Kajeet cloud service and allows districts and schools to restrict access according to site- and time- base rules. The service also monitors student activity and provides teachers and administrators with learning analytics reports.

1 November 2014
Track Your Child’s Development Easily
In May 2011, Jayashankar Balaraman — a serial entrepreneur with a background in advertising and marketing — moved into the education space with the launch of KNEWCLEUS, which in just three years has grown to become India’s largest parent-school engagement platform. The platform’s success is a result of the ease with which it makes parent-teacher communication, and the analytics engine that monitors student performance, identifies areas in need of remediation, and recommends relevant content.

Latest Blogs

Does Exercise (and Learning) Count If Not Counted? by Joshua Kim
Kim asks the age-old question, “If I exercise and my fitness app does not record my steps, did my exercise ever happen?” He wonders about how the ability to track certain forms of activity, including learning activity, ends up altering behavior and shifting values on the basis of ‘trackability.’ The danger here, cautions Kim, is that we may come to conflate good teaching with digital practices that are more amenable to datafication.

Report on Modernisation of Higher Education: Focus on Open Access and Learning Analytics by Brian Kelly
A brief summary and review of the Report to the European Commission on New Modes of LEarning and Teaching in Higher Education, delivered in October 2014 by the High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education. The report makes explicit mention of learning analytics, recommending collaboration over competition, and an increase in personalized learning informed by better data. The report’s advocacy of ‘better data’ includes strong ethical considerations, including the full and informed consent of students and the ability to ‘opt-out.’

10 Hottest Technologies in Higher Education by Vala Afshar
Afshar summarizes the hottest technologies discussed by CIOs at the 2014 Annual EDUCUASE conference last month. Included in the list are wifi, social media, badges, analytics, wearables, drones, 3D printing, digital courseware, Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs), and virtual reality. Although analytics is included as one of many trends, it of course is also a major driver for each of these technologies as well.

Schools keep track of students’ online behavior, but do parents even know? by Taylor Armerding
A truly exceptional review of literature and debates surrounding the collection and use of data from K-12 students. What kinds of data are a school’s ‘business’ to collect? How does an institution ensure informed consent, when privacy policies are often so complex as to be inaccessible by many parents? What is a school’s responsibility if it discovers something with implications for student success? Are schools ‘grooming kids for a lifetime of surveillance?’

Should Google Be a Signatory to Student Privacy Pledge? by Tracy Mitrano
Mitrano asks why the K-12 School Service Provider Pledge to Safeguard Student Privacy is not being more strongly considered in higher education, and asks why Google and Amazon have not publicly committed themselves to the pledge alongside Microsoft, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Knewton, and others.

Why I’m Voting ‘Yes’ on the Smart Schools Bond Act, Proposition 3 by Leonie Haimson
New York Proposition 3 (also known as the Smart Schools Bond Act) would allow the sale of bonds top generate $2 billion statewide for capital funding. In spite of her resistance to using bond revenue to purchase electronic devices in schools (one of the key ways in which the bond revenues are meant to be spent), Haimson notes the urgent need that many schools have for an injection of funding, and notes that the finds may be spent in a wide variety of ways. She raises a concern about the proliferation of technolgies driven by companies interested in educational data mining, but notes that, thanks to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, all parents have the right to opt out of any online data-mining instructional or testing program that collects personal data, whether their children participate in this program at school or home.

Featured Videos, Presentations & Webinars

Carolyn Rosé: Learning analytics and educational data mining in learning discourses
Talk delivered to the International Society of the learning Sciences Network of Academic Programs in the LEarning Sciences (NAPLES). Click HERE for full Webinar Recording.

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Recent Publications

Embracing Big Data in Complex Educational Systems: The Learning Analytics Imperative and the Policy Challenge
Leah MacFadyen, Shane Dawson, Abelardo Pardo, Dragan Gašević

In the new era of big educational data, learning analytics (LA) offer the possibility of implementing real–time assessment and feedback systems and processes at scale that are focused on improvement of learning, development of self–regulated learning skills, and student success. However, to realize this promise, the necessary shifts in the culture, technological infrastructure, and teaching practices of higher education, from assessment–for–accountability to assessment–for–learning, cannot be achieved through piecemeal implementation of new tools. We propose here that the challenge of successful institutional change for learning analytics implementation is a wicked problem that calls for new adaptive forms of leadership, collaboration, policy development and strategic planning. Higher education institutions are best viewed as complex systems underpinned by policy, and we introduce two policy and planning frameworks developed for complex systems that may offer institutional teams practical guidance in their project of optimizing their educational systems with learning analytics.

Learning Analytics: Challenges and Future Research Directions
Mohamed Amine Chatti, Vlatko Lukarov, Hendrik Thüs, Arham Muslim, Ahmed Mohamed Fahmy Yousef, Usman Wahid, Christoph Greven, Arnab Chakrabarti, Ulrik Schroeder

In recent years, learning analytics (LA) has attracted a great deal of attention in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) research as practitioners, institutions, and researchers are increasingly seeing the potential that LA has to shape the future TEL landscape. Generally, LA deals with the development of methods that harness educational data sets to support the learning process. This paper provides a foundation for future research in LA. It provides a systematic overview on this emerging field and its key concepts through a reference model for LA based on four dimensions, namely data, environments, context (what?), stakeholders (who?), objectives (why?), and methods (how?). It further identifies various challenges and research opportunities in the area of LA in relation to each dimension.

Calls for Papers / Participation


2015 Southeast Educational Data Symposium (SEEDS) Emory University (Atlanta, GA) | 20 Feb 2015 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 14 November 2014)

11th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative
Learning: “Exploring the material conditions of learning: Opportunities and
challenges for CSCL”
University of Gothenburg, Sweden | 7 – 11 June 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 17 November 2014)

28th annual Florida AI Research Symposium (FLAIRS-28) on Intelligent Learning Technologies Hollywood, Florida, USA (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 17 November 2014)

EDM 2015: 8th International Conference on Education Data Mining Madrid, Spain | 26 – 29 June, 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 12 January 2014)

Journals / Book Chapters

Universities and Knowledge Society Journal (RUSC): Special Section on Learning Analytics (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 20 January 2015)

Employment Opportunities

Simon Fraser University (Victoria, BC, Canada)
Tenure Track Position In Educational Technology And Learning Design – The Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University ( seeks applications for a tenure-track position in Educational Technology and Learning Design at the Assistant Professor rank beginning September 1, 2015, or earlier. The successful candidate will join an existing complement of faculty engaged in Educational Technology and Learning Design, and will contribute to teaching and graduate student supervision in our vibrant Masters program at our Surrey campus and PhD program at our Burnaby campus. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: December 1, 2014

NEW! University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY, USA)
Associate for Institutional Research/Research Scientist: Online Learning Analytics – The University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York seeks a scholar in online learning analytics to join its newly formed Center for Educational Innovation. Reporting to the Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs, the Center for Educational Innovation has a mission to support and guide the campus on issues related to teaching, learning and assessment, and at the same time serves as a nexus for campus-wide efforts to further elevate the scholarship of and research support for pedagogical advancement and improved learning. The Research Scientist in online learning analytics will work in the area of Online Learning within the department and join a campus-wide network of faculty and researchers working on “big data”. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: December 6, 2014

NEW! University of Boulder Colorado (Boulder, Colorado, USA)
Multiple Tenure Track Positions in Computer Science – The openings are targeted at the level of Assistant Professor, although exceptional candidates at higher ranks may be considered. Research areas of particular interest include secure and reliable software systems, numerical optimization and high-performance scientific computing, and network science and machine learning. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Posted Until Filled

University of Technology, Sydney (Sydney, AUS)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Academic Writing Analytics – Postdoctoral research position specialising in the use of language technologies to provide learning analytics on the quality of student writing, across diverse levels, genres and domains DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Posted Until Filled

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
Senior Digital Media Specialist – The University of Michigan is seeking a qualified Senior Digital Media Specialist to create digital content in support of online and residential educational experiences for the Office of Digital Education & Innovation (DEI). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Posted Until Filled

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education,and Human Developments Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes (USA)
12-month postdoctoral position – available for a qualified and creative individual with interests in postsecondary assessment, learning analytics, data management, and institutional research.The Postdoctoral Fellow will be responsible for promoting the use of institutional data sources and data systems for the purpose of developing institutional assessment tools that can inform decision making and contribute to institutional improvement across New York University (NYU). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Open Until Filled

This Week in Learning Analytics: Privacy and Ethics


Another set of ethical issues that were raised this week involve the intersection of analytics and the humanities. Joshua Kim sparked a conversation about the place of analytics in the liberal arts. In the discussion following Kim’s post, greatest attention was paid to issues of definition: What is ‘assessment’? What are the ‘Liberal Arts’? (Mike Sharkey, for example, suggests that the liberal arts simply imply “small classes and a high-touch environment,” and argues that analytics offers very little value in such contexts. Timothy Harfield argues that the liberal arts provide a critical perspective on analytics, and are crucial to ensuring that educational institutions are learning-driven rather than data-driven). Lastly, in an article for Educause Review Online, James E. Willis discusses the failure of ethical discussions in learning analytics, and offers an ethical framework that highlights some of the complexities involved in the debate. He categorizes ethical questions in terms of three distinct philosophical perspectives, what he calls “Moral Utopianism,” “Moral Ambiguity,” and “Moral Nihilism.” The framework itself is at once overly pedantic and lacking in the clarity and sophistication that one would expect from a piece with tacit claims to a foundation in the history of philosophy, but nevertheless represents an interesting attempt to push the debate outside of the more comfortable legal questions that most often frame conversations about data and privacy.

Recent Blog Posts

Featured Articles

Privacy, Anonymity, and Big Data in the Social Sciences
Jon P. Daries, Justin Reich, Jim Waldo, Elise M. Young, Jonathan Whittinghill, Daniel Thomas Seaton, Andrew Dean Ho, Isaac Chuang

Open data has tremendous potential for science, but, in human subjects research, there is a tension between privacy and releasing high-quality open data. Federal law governing student privacy and the release of student records suggests that anonymizing student data protects student privacy. Guided by this standard, we de-identified and released a data set from 16 MOOCs (massive open online courses) from MITx and HarvardX on the edX platform. In this article, we show that these and other de-identification procedures necessitate changes to data sets that threaten replication and extension of baseline analyses. To balance student privacy and the benefits of open data, we suggest focusing on protecting privacy without anonymizing data by instead expanding policies that compel researchers to uphold the privacy of the subjects in open data sets. If we want to have high-quality social science research and also protect the privacy of human subjects, we must eventually have trust in researchers. Otherwise, we’ll always have the strict tradeoff between anonymity and science illustrated here.

Using Learning Analytics to Analyze Writing Skills of Students: A Case Study in a Technological Common Core Curriculum Course
Chi-Un Lei, Ka Lok Man, and T. O. Ting

Pedagogy with learning analytics is shown to facil- itate the teaching-learning process through analyzing student’s behaviours. In this paper, we explored the possibility of using learning analytics tools Coh-Metrix and Lightside for analyzing and improving writing skills of students in a technological common core curriculum course. In this study, we i) investigated linguistic characteristics of student’s essays, and ii) applied a machine learning algorithm for giving instant sketch feedback to students. Results illustrated the necessity of improving student’s writing skills in their university learning through e- learning technologies, so that students can effectively circulate their ideas to the public in the future.

Calls for Papers

CALL FOR CHAPTERS: Developing Effective Educational Experiences through Learning Analytics
Edge Hill University Press (ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 15 September 2014)

CALL FOR PAPERS: 5th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference
Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY) | 16-20 March 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 14 October 2014)

Recommended Resources

swirl: Learn R, in R
swirl teaches you R programming and data science interactively, at your own pace, and right in the R console!

Upcoming Events

6-9 October 2014
Learning Analytics Week
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

15 October 2014
ALE Speaker Series: Charles Dziuban on Engaging Students in an Engaging Educational Environment

Emory University (Streaming Available)

20 October 2014
Data, Analytics and Learning: An introduction to the logic and methods of analysis of data to improve teaching and learning

University of Texas Arlington | EdX