Code of Practice Ethics Institutional Use Legal Issues

Code of Practice for Learning Analytics – public consultation

Jisc’s draft Code of Practice for Learning Analytics is now available for public consultation for the next two weeks: Code of Practice for Learning Analytics v04 [MS Word].  We’ve already had some very useful comments back from a number of invited organisations and individuals which will help to enhance the document and the accompanying online guidance.

The background to the Code is provided in an earlier blog post.  The deadline for comments from the public consultation is 5th May.  These will then be presented to the Code of Practice Advisory Group which will agree a final version.

I’d be very grateful for any further thoughts from individuals or organisations either by commenting below or emailing me at niall.sclater {/at/}

We intend to release the final version of the Code in June and will be developing accompanying online guidance and case studies over the coming months.

By Niall Sclater

Niall Sclater is Consultant and Director at Sclater Digital Ltd and is currently carrying out work for Jisc in Learning Analytics.

3 replies on “Code of Practice for Learning Analytics – public consultation”

Thanks for this excellent work. I have a question/ observation based on a discovery I made this week in doing some research on the use of a Facebook group in a cMOOC. I found that any member of a group (this was an open/public one so that data situation may be slightly different for closed and secret groups) who has installed the Netvizz app can download quite a lot of data in Structured Graph Format for input to software such as Gephi where it can be analysed. I am pondering the ethics myself eg I certainly won’t publish graphs with named nodes. It’s a very powerful way to visualise and analyse interactions but could be abused quite easily.

Good question, Frances. This is related to the age old issue of whether we are better deploying systems for students under the control of our own institutions where we can better ensure accessibility, consistency of interface, single sign-on, data protection etc – or whether we suggest students use external systems which are often the most innovative and the ones students use anyway but are completely out of the institution’s control.

My view would be that institutions should closely examine the potential misuses of student data when they recommend that learners use external systems where the vendor has no contractual relationship with the institution. If they do decide to go down that route they should make it very clear to students what is happening and what the potential risks are.

I’ll put this issue to the Code of Practice Advisory Group and look at whether we should adjust the Code to take this into account. Many thanks for raising it.

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