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 …

Continue reading Big data/AI: examples of concerning practice unintended consequences

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 …

Continue reading Five questions about learning analytics ethics

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). …

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

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 …

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

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 …

Continue reading Issues using data-based alerts in learning analytics

Submission to the All-Party Group on Data Ethics

In November 2018, the UK Parliamentary All Party Group on Data Ethics launched a call for evidence about the use of data and machine learning in four areas: Education Healthcare Autonomous vehicles Policing With the help of some excellent colleagues, I submitted a paper on behalf of the institution (Nottingham Trent University) outlining our great …

Continue reading Submission to the All-Party Group on Data Ethics

A modified learning analytics cycle (I really need to write more exciting titles)

I've spent the past week thinking (probably overthinking) about this. So I've written up a modified learning analytics cycle. Obviously it starts with Doug Clow's model as discussed in the last entry. However, I've added details about the institutional infrastructure and decision-making needed to actually enable learning analytics to happen. Each of the branching arms …

Continue reading A modified learning analytics cycle (I really need to write more exciting titles)

Learning Cycles & Feedback Loops

One of my first jobs after graduating was training students in transferrable skills. I read an enormous amount of training theory, text books on time management, systems-thinking, NLP, public-speaking etc. Certain keystone ideas stuck. One was of course David A Kolb's (1984) experiential learning cycle. I can remember explaining it by modelling the process of …

Continue reading Learning Cycles & Feedback Loops

Thoughts & lessons from LSAC 2018 (22nd – 23rd October 2018, University of Amsterdam)

One of my many failings is my inability to live tweet conference sessions. I mean that I just about manage to quote profound micro statements with an out-of-focus picture of a slide, but I generally have no idea what it meant two weeks later. Let's see if I can make anything better from my 35 …

Continue reading Thoughts & lessons from LSAC 2018 (22nd – 23rd October 2018, University of Amsterdam)