Who traces the tracers? Algorithm Watch Report 2021

The book I’ve found most challenging and rewarding recently is ‘Irrationality’. First written in 1992, the book both identifies significant flaws in the human thinking process and advocates for a more standardised scientific approach. It’s a good case. However, nearly 30 years later, we are living through the lived realities of that way of thinking: …

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Slides from my keynote for the Kompetansenettverk for Studenters Suksess I Høyere Utdanning – 7th December 2021

Largely through the hard work and enthusiasm of Harald Åge Sæthre I know that colleagues in Norwegian universities have invested considerable time thinking about the issues of helping students cope with the transition into the first year. One outcome of this work is the Kompetansenettverk for Studenters Suksess I Høyere Utdanning (competence network for students' …

Continue reading Slides from my keynote for the Kompetansenettverk for Studenters Suksess I Høyere Utdanning – 7th December 2021

Human beings: how we’re pre-wired to ignore the evidence

I think if there's a central thesis to any of my writing it's something like: data insufficient for changing individuals or organisations. Just as gravity is apparently to be the weakest of the fundamental sources, I think presenting data may the weakest way to change anyone's view of anything. I'll keep returning to this theme, …

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Contacting Gen Z Students – part II

In the last piece I explained how in our most recent Student Transition Survey (Feb-Mar 2021), we asked students how they would like to be contacted if our learning analytics platform had raised an alert. When presented with a single choice, 32% wanted to be contacted initially by text. We will build this in to …

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Gravity assist: report of the digital teaching and learning review (February 2021)

In summer 2020, in response to the first national COVID-19 lockdown, we used learning analytics data to manage a calling campaign to students who appeared to have been most disadvantaged by the transition to wholly online learning. In essence, we pulled together a team of volunteers to contact students who appeared to have disengaged from …

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“Wait for it!” – Problems using predictions to instigate COVID 19 lockdowns

The reaction time of a typical human being is apparently 250 miliseconds. In other words, it takes us about quarter of a second to get out of the way of a speeding snowball, or catch the dropped vase. That stuff's easy - 1. Danger - 2. React - 3. Try not to look embarrassed when our response …

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Minimising Risk vs Maximising Success: learning analytics intervention strategies

At the other end of the phone is a student. Your learning analytics tool has predicted that they may be at risk of early departure. Under the circumstances they are likely to benefit from a supportive, sympathetic conversation, or perhaps they need a nudge or a jolt to make them realise they need to re-engage. …

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Onwards from Learning Analytics (OfLA)

At the time of writing, we are entering the final year of our latest Erasmus+ collaborative project. Onwards from Learning Analytics (OfLA) is a learning analytics project interested in supporting students at risk of leaving university early or failing to achieve their potential. We don't take the view that students ought to be retained no …

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