The 20th learning analytics network event held online on 21 April 2021 brought together expert speakers from across the community to discuss the benefits of learning analytics (LA), importance of collaboration, the challenges of online learning and to explore future digital opportunities. We also took a look at the world of artificial intelligence (AI) in the cloud.
Key takeaways from the speaker sessions:
Learning analytics research and development at The University of Oslo, Norway, Jan Arild Dolonen
Over the last 10 years there has been a real focus on digitalisation in the higher education sector in Norway. Today’s researchers are required to handle more and more big data, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to support the specific IT needs of researchers without the right resources and direction.
The University of Oslo has adopted a research-driven approach and has begun to develop the technical infrastructure for LA research and the practices needed to support decision making.
“We need to pay close attention to dashboards that provide teachers with visualisations of student participation, the need to analyse how students interact with peers and the demand to better understand the detail and legalities surrounding students’ personal data.”
Jan Arild Dolonen, PHD. Senior engineer at Department of Education, University of Oslo, Norway
Transforming the student experience with Learning analytics and The University of Greenwich – Dr Christine Couper
Christine made a strong case for treating students as allies in learning analytics – working with them as partners in developing practices where they are involved in the discussions, being clear about the purpose and benefits and ensuring that students feel confident that their data are protected.
The presentation included an overview of the ingredients of a good student-staff partnership for LA and guidance on approaches to monitoring LA to ensure it is making a difference.
Christine highlighted work using Checkin+ to strengthen student support and reporting at The University of Gloucestershire. As well as drawing attention to work from The University of Greenwich to illustrate how Jisc’s learning analytics system is helping students, academics and professional services to enhance teaching and learning and improve student satisfaction.
How can machine learning and AI in cloud improve research? Adrian Stevenson, Technical Innovation Manager and Paul Ross, Cloud Solution Consultant at Jisc
During the session Adrian and Paul discussed out-of-the box AI services available on a range of cloud platforms. Using data from the Jisc Archives Hub, brief demonstrations were provided to show how these technologies can be put into practice.
The pair also touched on some of the issues relating to the implementation of AI solutions. It is important to have an awareness of the technologies that underpin AI, and how bias can come into play to affect outcomes. As these systems grow, data collection, management, and security will become more of an issue. Furthermore, what is the wider societal impact from increased automation? As AI plays a bigger part in the infrastructure and systems on which society depends, what does that mean from a safety and quality control perspective?
As we step into the new world post COVID-19, the focus on AI within all sectors will continue to gather pace. Cloud platforms provide easily accessible ways to get started with AI solutions, and they are available for use immediately by individuals and large-scale enterprises. Exploring these technologies presents opportunities to all working within education and research.
A word from us
At Jisc we work very closely with members and customers to bring new products, solutions and developments to the sector. We are always looking at ways we can improve teaching and learning through the use of technology, ensuring that we co-design digital teaching and learning solutions with students and staff – our key stakeholders – at every point of the design processes, involving them in key decisions.
In an increasingly digital world, there are both positives and challenges to online learning. We are working in partnership with members and key stakeholders to provide guidance and support on the best ways to engage with students online – exploring both new processes and new systems. It is clear that lockdown has exposed gaps in the digital capabilities of students, staff and organisations along with how we prepare everyone involved to make the most effective use of current and future digital innovations.
The future is exciting, and we look forward to working closely with our LA community to bring new innovations to the sector.
Resources relating to the event will be made available shortly via the events page.
We’d love to hear from you, get in touch at Together.firstname.lastname@example.org, if you’d like to hear more about the event or related activity.