Student Privacy in Learning Analytics: An Information Ethics Perspective

The Information Society 32 (2):143-159 (2016)

Authors
Alan Rubel
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Abstract
In recent years, educational institutions have started using the tools of commercial data analytics in higher education. By gathering information about students as they navigate campus information systems, learning analytics “uses analytic techniques to help target instructional, curricular, and support resources” to examine student learning behaviors and change students’ learning environments. As a result, the information educators and educational institutions have at their disposal is no longer demarcated by course content and assessments, and old boundaries between information used for assessment and information about how students live and work are blurring. Our goal in this paper is to provide a systematic discussion of the ways in which privacy and learning analytics conflict and to provide a framework for understanding those conflicts. We argue that there are five crucial issues about student privacy that we must address in order to ensure that whatever the laudable goals and gains of learning analytics, they are commensurate with respecting students’ privacy and associated rights, including (but not limited to) autonomy interests. First, we argue that we must distinguish among different entities with respect to whom students have, or lack, privacy. Second, we argue that we need clear criteria for what information may justifiably be collected in the name of learning analytics. Third, we need to address whether purported consequences of learning analytics (e.g., better learning outcomes) are justified and what the distributions of those consequences are. Fourth, we argue that regardless of how robust the benefits of learning analytics turn out to be, students have important autonomy interests in how information about them is collected. Finally, we argue that it is an open question whether the goods that justify higher education are advanced by learning analytics, or whether collection of information actually runs counter to those goods.
Keywords privacy  data analytics  surveillance  information ethics  education privacy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
The morality of freedom.J. Raz - 1988 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (1):108-109.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

From Individual to Group Privacy in Big Data Analytics.Brent Mittelstadt - 2017 - Philosophy and Technology 30 (4):475-494.
Epistemology, Pedagogy, Assessment and Learning Analytics.Simon Knight, Simon Buckingham Shum & Karen Littleton - 2013 - Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge.
Information Privacy and Social Self-Authorship.Daniel Susser - 2016 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 20 (3):216-239.
The Importance of Privacy Revisited.Norman Mooradian - 2009 - Ethics and Information Technology 11 (3):163-174.
Four Challenges for a Theory of Informational Privacy.Luciano Floridi - 2006 - Ethics and Information Technology 8 (3):109-119.
Data Science and Designing for Privacy.Michael Falgoust - 2016 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 20 (1):51-68.
Privacy as an Asset.Jarek Gryz - 2017 - In Marcellus Mindel, Kelly Lyons & Joe Wigglesworth (eds.), Proceedings of the 27th CASCON Conference. Markham, Canada: IBM/ACM. pp. 266-271.
Biobank Research and the Right to Privacy.Lars Øystein Ursin - 2008 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 29 (4):267-285.
Is There a Duty to Remain in Ignorance?Iain Brassington - 2011 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 32 (2):101-115.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-09-16

Total views
321 ( #16,829 of 2,253,742 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
200 ( #1,987 of 2,253,742 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature