The aim of this session will be to present a literature review for supporting student-wellbeing via learning analytics and a discussion of the findings of the review, including the potential ethical and legal issues in this application. This will enable session participants to develop an understanding of the legal and ethical considerations at play when considering researching or implementing learning analytics. As the focus of this is on learning analytics and the legal and ethical considerations, therefore it will directly address the conference theme ‘At the forefront of innovation’.
A number of papers have been published on student burn-out, predominantly amongst medical students (Dyrbye 2008), but this is also a concern for students from other domains. (‘Choudhury_Predicting-Depression-via-Social-Media_ICWSM13.pdf’ 2017) discusses how depression can be identified via patterns in social media. Can we detect unhealthy learning behaviours through patterns of usage of our institutional teaching and learning systems?
Similarly, can we identify outliers in a student’s behaviour pattern that might signal a difficulty or potential issue e.g. withdrawal from online discussions where someone was previous actively engaged or a student may suddenly need to start borrowing a loan laptop. Both of which may be caused by a simple or complex issue and could require some form of pastoral support.
With a 2016 YouGov survey (‘YouGov | One in Four Students Suffer from Mental Health Problems’ 2017) finding that 27% of students state that they have a mental health issue, predominantly depression or anxiety, supporting student well-being would appear to be a worthy application of analytical techniques. However, this poses a number of considerations with regards to ethics and privacy concerns. Students may feel that some analysis is beyond what is reasonable e.g. querying an unusual loan of a laptop and is an invasion of privacy (‘Code of Practice for Learning Analytics’ 2017). Yet, if students are at potential risk of ill-health or harm then institutions may have a legal duty of care (Prinsloo and Slade 2017). Is there then an obligation on tutors to review and act upon the analytics provided to them, and if so, are they adequately equipped to do so?
‘Choudhury_Predicting-Depression-via-Social-Media_ICWSM13.pdf’. 2017. Accessed March 22. http://course.duruofei.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Choudhury_Predicting-Depression-via-Social-Media_ICWSM13.pdf.
‘Code of Practice for Learning Analytics’. 2017. Jisc. Accessed March 22. https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/code-of-practice-for-learning-analytics.
Dyrbye, Liselotte N. 2008. ‘Burnout and Suicidal Ideation among U.S. Medical Students’. Annals of Internal Medicine 149 (5): 334. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-149-5-200809020-00008.
Prinsloo, Paul, and Sharon Slade. 2017. ‘An Elephant in the Learning Analytics Room: The Obligation to Act’. In , 46–55. ACM Press. doi:10.1145/3027385.3027406.
‘YouGov | One in Four Students Suffer from Mental Health Problems’. 2017. YouGov: What the World Thinks. Accessed March 22. //yougov.co.uk/news/2016/08/09/quarter-britains-students-are-afflicted-mental-hea/.