Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education


Learning Analytics SIG seminar: Digging deeper into the ethical use of Learning Analytics, 22 April 2021

Abstract: As part of its Digging Deeper into Ethical use of Learning Analytics series, the LA-SIG conducted a panel discussion/webinar on 22 April.

Ensuring that learning analytics are used in an ethical way is a concept that learning analytics practitioners, teachers, designers, and researchers continue to grapple with as data becomes more prevalent in education. Building a shared understanding of how we can bring together research on this concept with policy and practice is key to being able to address this challenge. In response, the LA-SIG team put together a series of activities to explore the ethics of learning analytics in more detail. This workshop builds on an ongoing discussion of a recent white paper on the ethical use of learning analytics in Australian higher education.

Panelists: Ben Hicks, Ruth Marshall and Prof Simon Buckingham Shum.

Ben is the Learning Analytics Lead for the Retention Team at Charles Sturt University and also a PhD candidate with the Connected Intelligence Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is drawn to the field of Learning Analytics by his strong interest in how mathematics interfaces with the messy parts of the world, and is passionate about all things learning and using analytics around education in a contextually appropriate manner. Ben has spent over a decade teaching in high schools across three continents and has dreams of narrowing the gap between the experience of teachers and the world of educational data. His current research interests include complex systems, causality, networks and student engagement.

Ruth is Director of R&D and Data Integrity at Australian Education Technology company Practera where she works with universities and research organisations to innovate new ways of delivering high quality work integrated learning and lifelong learning skills development at scale. Ruth started her career with a UK A.I. startup Cognitive Applications. She has since worked in the startup community in the UK, US and Australia involved in technical and executive roles with 11+ startups. Prior to her current role she spent five years as a commercialisation specialist with CSIRO/Data61. She has also held R&D, management consulting and CIO positions for large international corporations including British Telecom, Westpac, Accenture and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. She has a Bachelors degree in Computing and Artificial Intelligence from University of Sussex, England.

Simon has a career-long fascination with the potential of software to make thinking visible. His work sits at the intersection of the multidisciplinary fields of Human-Computer Interaction, Educational Technology, Hypertext, Computer-Supported Collaboration and Educational Data Science.

Design principles for human-centered actionable learning analytics, 8 September 2020

Abstract: Designing for effective and efficient pedagogical interventions and orchestration in complex Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) ecosystems is an increasingly challenging issue. In spite of the significant potential of Learning Analytics (LA) research, it is still unclear how can LA be designed to position teachers as designers of effective interventions and orchestration actions.

This talk argues for Human-Centered Design (HCD) and orchestration of actionable learning analytics. It provides a review of needs and existing approaches for HCD in LA is provided, and it proposes three HCD principles for LA solutions, i.e., agentic positioning of teachers and other stakeholders; integration of the learning design cycle and the LA design process; and reliance on educational theories to guide the LA solution design and implementation.

The HCD principles are illustrated and discussed through two case studies in authentic learning contexts. Finally, some directions for future research and development are formulated to overcome the main obstacles for adoption of HCD for LA.

Presenter: This webinar was presented by Yannis Dimitriadis, Full Professor of Telematics Engineering, Coordinator of the GSIC/EMIC research group, University of Valladolid, Spain. Yannis is also the coordinator of the GSIC/EMIC research group, an inter-disciplinary group, integrating over 20 researchers and practitioners from the field of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and Pedagogy.

His recent research work has focused on learning analytics and smart learning environments, alignment of learning design and learning analytics, design patterns, conceptual and technological support to the orchestration of computer-supported collaborative learning processes, active pedagogies at scale, and across-spaces (Web, 3D worlds and augmented reality) learning. He has participated in more than 50 competitive research projects on technology-enhanced learning, co-authored more than 80 journal papers and 200 conference papers, and organized several workshops and symposia, such as the ECTEL 2019 workshop on Hybrid Learning Spaces, CSCL 2015 invited symposium on computer science challenges in CSCL, or the ICLS 2012 workshop on classroom orchestration.

Dr. Dimitriadis is a senior member of IEEE, and member of ISLS, and spent his most recent sabbatical year (2017-2018) at Berkeley, University of Edinburgh, and EPFL.

The impact of COVID-19 on the use of learning analytics in higher education, 30 July 2020

Abstract: The increase in the use of educational technology in response to the COVID-19 situation means that there are now even greater volumes of student data being generated and collected by higher education institutions. This would appear to present an opportunity for learning analytics to be utilised to help teachers and students to improve educational environments, strategies and outcomes, as long as the access to data, tools and skills are available.

In this online, an interactive panel session comprising of learning analytics specialists across four Australian universities discussed how the COVID-19 situation has impacted the use of learning analytics in their institutions. Participants shared their own experiences about what we can learned and taken forward from this current situation to support future uses of learning analytics in higher education.

Issues with Learning Analytics Predictive Models, 2 March 2020

Abstract: The rise of easy-to-use machine learning methods have seen the rapid adoption of predictive modelling in higher education. Not only do most higher education technology products include some sort of dashboard, but whole companies which engage in just the predictive modelling of student success, including grade, enrollment, and graduation rate predictions, now exist. In this talk Chris discussed a number of issues facing both researchers and practitioners when it comes to creating and employing educational predictive models, including the tying of models to theory, bias within predictive models, the challenge of taking action on model results, the lack of data nuance, and the effect of learner agency around privacy when building such models.

Presenter: This webinar was co-hosted with the UniSA’s Centre for Change and Complexity in Learning (C3L) and presented by  Christopher Brooks, Assistant Professor of Information, School of Information, University of Michigan.  You will find a detailed profile of Chris here.

The learning in learning analytics: in what way does LA actually improves learning? 10 Dec 2019

Abstract: Nowadays, many higher educational institutions try to implement learning analytics to improve their education and the learning experiences of students. However, the successful uptake of learning analytics is not without challenges. In order to better understand the issues higher educational institutions face whilst implementing learning analytics, it is necessary to know how exactly learning analytics improve learning and how we can measure whether ‘it works’. In other words: how do we measure the beneficial effects of learning analytics? This presentation provides some insights of different categories of learning higher educational institutions might want to improve, what the underlying measures are, and how to get a better, multi-perspective view on learning.

Presenter: Justian Knobbout is a Dutch PhD candidate researching the organizational capabilities that higher educational institutions need to build in order to let students really benefit from learning analytics. The PhD research is in its final stage which involves the validation of the designed Learning Analytics Capability Model. Justian is also chairman of the Dutch Special Interest Group Learning Analytics – promoting the uptake of learning analytics by Dutch institutions – and lecturer Business Engineering.

Current Challenges & Future Directions in Learning Analytics, 1 May 2019

Abstract: This webinar was the first webinar of 2019 for the Learning Analytics SIG. The session presented ideas discussed in a blog post published on ASCILITE’s TELall blog at on how the field of learning analytics has developed over the years. Future directions and challenges were addressed along with an overview of the field of learning analytics, chronicling its development to date, and, through a series of provocations, challenges to (re-) consider its future possibilities, particularly in light of our own professional contexts and disciplinary knowledge.

Presenter: The presenter was Dr Cassandra Colvin (Charles Sturt University) who is one of the LA-SIG team leaders.  The session was moderated by Hazel Jones (Griffith University), another LA-SIG team leader.

A Snapshot of Current Learning Analytics Research, 23 August 2018

Abstract: This webinar featured short presentations from PhD students who highlighted the diversity of research being undertaken in the Learning Analytics field. With topics including: exploring students’ conceptual development in higher education by online discussion content; Australian higher education teachers’ interpretation of learning analytics and its impact on practice; and Learning Analytics implementations in Australian universities: towards a model of success. Each presenter provided an outline of their research discussing why they had chosen that area of study and how they addressed their particular research challenges.

Presenters: Presenters were Jen Stokes (University of South Australia), Yuanyuan Hu (University of Auckland), Jo-Anne Clark (Griffith University) and David Fulcher (University of Wollongong). The session was moderated by Hazel Jones, LA-SIG coordinator (University of Southern Queensland).

Presentation slides courtesy of Jennifer Stokes, Jo-Anne Clark, David Fulcher and Yuan Hu: LA-SIG webinar slides 23 August 2018 (pdf)

Using the cARdiac ECG Augmented Reality Application for Student Engagement and Understanding, 16 August 2018

Abstract: cARdiac ECG is a mobile augmented reality app that helps healthcare students learn how to understand and interpret electrocardiography traces anywhere, anytime. Augmented reality was recognised as a technology that could present healthcare students with a way to integrate, and overlay, a 2D ECG trace with a 3D model of the heart to help their understanding of the relationship between the two. This webinar explained the history of the cARdiac ECG project, staff and student outcomes, and provided a live demonstration of the app itself.

Presenter: Colin Warren is an educator who has worked across various disciplines at Deakin University for over 20 years in several roles including teaching, research and administration. He has worked as a senior lecturer in the School of Medicine since 2012, and manages the eLearning team that supports the use of technology in the various degree programs of the School. As member of the cARdiac ECG team he was involved in the initial development of the project scope and the pedagogical design of the learn and assess modules of the application.

Presentation Slides: LA-SIG webinar slides 16 August 2018 (pdf)

Data Storytelling and Learning Analytics in Physical Spaces, 25 July 2018

Abstract: The aim of this talk was to discuss the potential of a new metaphor for bringing Learning Analytics into blended/hybrid learning spaces that we call Classroom Translucence. A translucent classroom or learning space would be that where activity traces of online and in-the-classroom learning can enhance awareness of teaching and learning practices. Similar to how translucent surfaces are used in architecture, a translucent system would facilitate awareness while ensuring privacy and restricting the use of data for particular situations. This presentation will showcase a series of current and past developments aimed at making teamwork and classroom activity more visible based on this metaphor. We have been rolling out multimodal learning analytics solutions into physical learning spaces to capture traces of activity that can potentially serve as evidence for reflection or for learners and educators to take immediate actions. It is time to connect the best of both worlds in learning analytics: 1) the more developed analytics on computer-mediated student data and 2) emerging physical analytics technologies.

Presenter: Dr Roberto Martinez-Maldonado is a full-time researcher at the Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC) and data visualisation lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). He has a background in Computing Engineering. His areas of research include Human-Computer Interaction (HCI, CSCW), Learning Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AIED, EDM) and Collaborative Learning (CSCL). In the past years, his research has focused on applying data mining techniques to help understand how people learn and collaborate in co-present environments, empowering people with emerging technologies such as interactive surfaces, combining available technologies for capturing traces of collaboration and helping teachers to orchestrate their classroom through the use of interactive devices and learning analytics innovations. He is program co-chair of the research and industry track program of the International Conference of Artificial Intelligence in Education 2018, held in conjunction with the Festival of Learning in London in June.

Presentation slides courtesy of Dr Martinez-Maldonado: LA-SIG-Martinez-webinar-slides-25-July-2018 (pdf)

Learning analytics and learning design: promoting a conversation among equals, 30 May 2018

Please note that visual content in the recording commences at the 2:20 minute mark.

Abstract: The aim of this webinar was to present a simple Learning Analytics – Learning Design (LA-LD) framework, designed to help teachers to align the use of common types of learning analytics data with the normal rhythms of teaching. The aim in developing the framework was to support reflection in and on action through the familiar cycles of planning, teaching, assessment and review. We used common teaching scenarios to illustrate ways that learning analytics can be used to influence student retention, engagement and achievement, and provide teachers with feedback before, during or after an event. We ran workshops to gain feedback on practical application of the LA-LD framework, and invited participants to develop a plan to use student data in their own teaching context. This entry level professional development strategy was based on two assumptions; that teachers a) are more likely to engage with learning analytics if the potential is presented as a way to support core aspects of their current practice; and b) need to become familiar with learning analytics concepts to represent their interests in design, development and implementation initiatives.

Presenters: Associate Professor Cathy Gunn and Dr Claire Donald, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education (CLeaR), The University of Auckland.

Quantitative Ethnography: Human Science in the Age of Big Data, 8 November 2017

Please note that due to a technical glitch, the visual content in this recording does not appear until the 6 minutes mark.

Abstract: In this session, David Williamson Shaffer looked at the transformation of education and the social sciences in the age of Big Data. The tools of Quantitative Ethnography integrate data-mining, discourse analysis, social interactionism, cognition, learning science, statistics, and ethnography into a brand-new human science. We get numbers and meaning both, and they do not fight each other; rather they produce new ideas and innovative ways of thinking about data and data analysis. Those interested in teaching, learning, meaning-making, culture, social interaction, and human development will find here the first shot in a research methods revolution.

Presenter: David Williamson Shaffer is the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Obel Foundation Professor of Learning Analytics at the Aalborg University in Copenhagen, and a Data Philosopher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. He began his career as a classroom teacher and teacher-trainer in mathematics, history, science, and English as a second language, in the US and with the US Peace Corps in Nepal. Professor Shaffer’s MS and Ph.D. are from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a 2003-2005 National Academy of Education Spencer Fellow and a 2008-2009 European Union Marie Curie Fellow. He is the author of How Computer Games Help Children Learn (New York: Palsgrave MacMIllan, 2006) and Quantitative Ethnography (Madison, WI: Cathcart Press, 2017).

Presentation slides courtesy of Prof. Shaffer: Prof-Shaffer-LA-SIG-webinar-slides-8-Nov-2017-1.pdf

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A Review of Five Years of Research & Implementation aligning Learning Design with Learning Analytics at the Open University (UK), 20 September 2017

Abstract: The Open University UK has been one of few institutions that have explicitly and systematically captured the designs for learning at a large scale. By applying advanced analytical techniques on large and fine-grained datasets, we have been unpacking the complexity of instructional practices, as well as providing empirical evidence of how learning designs influence student behaviour, satisfaction, and performance. This seminar will discuss the implementation of learning design at the OU in the last 5 years, and reviews empirical evidence from several studies that have linked learning design with learning analytics. Recommendations are put forward to support future adoptions of the learning design approach, and potential research trajectories.

Presenter: Bart Rienties is Professor of Learning Analytics at the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University UK. He is programme director Learning Analytics within IET and head of Data Wranglers, whereby he leads of group of learning analytics academics who conduct evidence-based research and sense making of Big Data at the OU. As educational psychologist, he conducts multi-disciplinary research on work-based and collaborative learning environments and focuses on the role of social interaction in learning, which is published in leading academic journals and books. His primary research interests are focussed on Learning Analytics, Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, and the role of motivation in learning. Furthermore, Bart is interested in broader internationalisation aspects of higher education. He has successfully led a range of institutional/national/European projects and received a range of awards for his educational innovation projects.

Presentation slides courtesy of Prof Rienties: Prof B Rienties LA-SIG webinar slides 20 Sept 2017 (pdf)

Data, analytics and learning: interdisciplinary approaches to the generation of actionable knowledge, 9 August 2017

Abstract: Much of Dr Thompson’s research has focused on understanding the complexity of learning situations so that instructors can provide more targeted support to learners. In recent years, this has been referred to as the generation of actionable knowledge, or knowledge that can be used to inform policy and practice. The collection, analysis, and translation of this knowledge into practice are distinct processes, with different tools and expertise required. Multimodal data is necessary to understand complex learning environments, some of which may be generated from ‘big’ learning data, but not all. As we develop additional ways to capture multimodal data, we also need to move towards understanding how to interpret and connect multiple data types, and identify processes and tools to inform this practice. Each data type comes with its own methodological and theoretical assumptions.

In this webinar, Kate talked about the application of an interdisciplinary approach to the generation of actionable knowledge for learning, teaching and research. Interdisciplinary research connects experts from multiple disciplines, to jointly address a question that cannot be entirely answered by a single perspective. Building on research from other fields facing similar challenges, the key steps in interdisciplinary research are to: identify an appropriate research question; develop a shared vocabulary; co-create boundary negotiating objects; visualize and combine data; and produce a new model of understanding. Kate also discussed the challenges and potential of connecting the interpretations of researchers, designers and instructors; using multiple types of data; and multiple theoretical and methodological approaches.

Presenter: Dr Kate Thompson is a Senior Lecturer, Educational Technology, School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University.   The underlying focus of Dr Thompson’s research is learning sciences, specifically collaborative learning and discovering patterns of learner interaction that could be used by an instructor to indicate progress through a task. Her research in this area influences how educators design for the use of a range of digital technologies as the tool around which collaboration occurs in increasingly complex face-to-face and online collaborative environments. Kate’s research has been applied in collaborative learning and learning situations that include school students (primary and secondary), undergraduate and postgraduate students. A recent focus has been in interdisciplinary collaboration with two core groups: environmental science graduate students (USA), and STEAM (Australia). The impact of this research is widespread in the USA, through a National Science Foundation grant, the team is implementing the research-informed design of collaborative, interdisciplinary problem solving in five institutions, and another five to be added in 2017. In Australia, Dr Thompson leads teams working networks of schools looking at school change mediated by STEAM and Digital Technologies in Brisbane and Canberra.

In 2016 Dr Thompson received funding to lead the Creative Practice Lab (CPL) at Griffith University. Located in a newly constructed learning space in the School of Education and Professional Studies, the CPL combines teacher education and digital technologies, with state-of-the-art video recording and online collaboration systems. The ultimate aim of the research in the CPL is to understand pedagogical practices in contemporary learning spaces, learning analytics informed practice, and online collaboration and design.

Presentation slides courtesy of Dr Thompson: Dr-Kate-Thompson LA-SIG webinar slides 9 August 2017 (pdf)

Responsible Learning Analytics: A Tentative Proposal, 21 June 2017

Abstract: Implied in learning analytics as research focus and field of praxis, is the notion of “responsible learning analytics” – though it is certainly not a dominant theme. An overview of the social imaginary pertaining to learning analytics points to a range of topics, such as the huge potential in the collection, analysis and use of student data and emerging evidence of its use in a range of higher education contexts.

In the noisy scholarly, public and increasingly commercial spheres of claims and counter claims pertaining to a range of applications for learning analytics, there are also voices emphasising that we should not forget that learning analytics is about students and their learning. Often to the frustration of venture capitalist/commercial vendors of learning analytics software and systems, there are also scholars who ask uncomfortable questions such as the scope of student privacy and the need to move towards student-centred learning analytics. The range of ethical considerations in the collection, analysis and use of student data and increasingly, the moral fiduciary obligation arising from our collection and analysis of student data – are often uncomfortable reminders of unchartered fields of scholarly reflection and empirical research.

An etymology of the word ‘responsible’ points not only to the need to be answerable and accountable, but also to being response-able and the obligation to act. In this presentation, I propose that an answerable but also a response-able approach to learning analytics cut across the whole spectrum of the collection, analysis and use of student data. The fiduciary duty of higher education and the asymmetrical power relationships between higher education and students serve as basis for my exploration of accountability and response-ability in learning analytics. I will engage with a selection of issues in the collection, analysis and use of student data such as our beliefs regarding data and evidence; data quality, scope, and governance; student participation and the ethics of (not) knowing before concluding with a tentative proposal.

Presenter: Paul Prinsloo is a Research Professor in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in the College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa (Unisa). His academic background includes fields as diverse as theology, art history, business management, online learning, and religious studies. Paul is an established researcher and has published numerous articles in the fields of teaching and learning, student success in distance education contexts, learning analytics, and curriculum development. His current research focuses on the collection, analysis and use of student data in learning analytics, graduate supervision and digital identity.

Presentation slides courtesy of Paul Prinsloo: Paul Prinsloo LA-SIG webinar slides 21 June 2017 (pdf)

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