University students, you are being watched

You are being watched and tracked “to help understand learning processes” – really???? And if I wanted to do this for a research project, rather than for business purposes (student “engagement” is aboutĀ student retention, which means students continuing to be fee-paying clients of the institution), I would need informed consent of the participants I am tracking, and further informed consent about how I link the different data I have on them. It is not considered ethical to use data gathered for one purpose for an entirely different purpose, but apparently this not a problem for learning analytics, marketers, or people running online social media platforms … we trust them to work for good, not evil!

Students of Australia, you are being watched. Not only in the lecture hall, but every time you log onĀ and even when you walk across the campus.

At the University of Melbourne, Wi-Fi routers track students as they move through the campus and leave a digital trail with their mobile phones

And at the University of Sydney, students’ online activity is matched with their demographic background to predict who might drop out.

It’s called “learning analytics” and universities say it is the key to improving retention rates and the student experience.

“It provides valuable feedback and helps us understand how the design of our curriculum is working so we can modify it,” the University of Melbourne’s pro vice-chancellor of educational innovation Professor Gregor Kennedy said.

“There’s a benefit in simply understanding student learning processes and outcomes.”

Source: University students, you are being watched

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