Learning from Learning Analytics: risky assumptions about the efficacy of feedback for learners

Presentation for the LALA Symposium: Learning Analytics for Feedback at Scale, Leuven, 1st July 2019 I've worked alongside very excellent colleagues at KU Leuven since 2015 on the ABLE and STELA Erasmus+ projects. I have really valued their opinions and expertise. So I was delighted to be invited by Tinne De Laet to present at a …

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Intimate conversations about designing learning analytics

Years ago, one of the most brilliant thinkers I know (@hetanshah) recommended a book "An intimate history of humanity", the scholar Theodore Zeldin. In a very elegant way it explores how different tribes (separated by class, gender, location etc.) can lack the imagination needed to really talk to one another. It's my default thinking space …

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“Can we improve student engagement through the use of learning analytics?” Dublin e-Learning Summer School (20th June 2019)

I had the pleasure of running a workshop at the 17th Dublin eLearning Summer School “Developing all learners: Big Data in Higher Education". My session followed on from some really interesting short sessions about different learning analytics practices. I love the constant state of experimentation we have in this field. My essential thesis is that …

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Diagnosing student ‘risk’: categorising learning analytics to prevent early withdrawal

Universities are awash with data about students that could function as early warning signs that a student may need help. These data sources range from the highly personal, for example tutors observing that a student appears to be having a bad day, to the highly systematised, for example automatic early warnings based on a metric …

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Big data/AI: examples of concerning practice unintended consequences

I'm not apocalyptic about the role of big data in society generally and education specifically, but I do feel strongly that we all have a responsibility to stand back and think about how we accept and use technology. The brilliant writer Yuval Noah Harari has written a great piece on the philosophical challenges of what …

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Five questions about learning analytics ethics

In the first term of my first year, I skipped a seminar on DH Lawrence. My tutor, Dr Mara Kalnins, pulled me up at the start of the next seminar and politely expressed her disappointment. She also asked me to make up what I'd missed by reading about Carl Jung. I'm not sure that what …

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Excellence from Analytics: Panel Discussion at Digifest, 12th March 2019

I have just taken part in a panel discussion at the Jisc Digifest 2019 event. The session was called Excellence from Analytics. I  know that, as a panel, we all worried about whether we'd been informative (or excellent), but I found it really interesting to listen to the other panellists talk (perhaps not the point). …

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Favourite big data proving nothing story #1 (yes we’re doing shaggy dog stories now)

A few years ago a colleague attended an event with a company of data specialists. The company was experimenting with personalised learning for professionals. As I understand it they had lots of interesting ideas about personalising online learning. For example, if you got an answer wrong about marketing, you'd be routed to an easier set …

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Issues using data-based alerts in learning analytics

One of the benefits of learning analytics is the capacity to not just automatically analyse data, but also to automate some or all of the next steps. I'm primarily interested in learning analytics for student success, for me the automatic alert when a student is potentially at risk of failure is key. Whether red flags …

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