Permission and Data for Improving

7 Things You Should Know About Learning Analytics

-Learning Analytics (LA) collects data that is generated now that many institutions use online programs to facilitate learning and uses it to improve the user experience. It is usually used to check on students who are struggling, but can also point out sections of a course that need work. Reading the scenario reminded me of the parable of the 99 sheep. In some ways it might seem unfair that the struggling students get more attention, but in my experience students who are doing well are often glad to be left on their own, seeking out help when they feel they need it. Students who are having a hard time are less likely to feel comfortable coming to the instructor with questions, so this seems like a good way for him to reach out to them.
– LA collects different data for different institutions, but is often geared toward frequency of access and scores on assessments. Often when a researcher surveys a student about a class details are lost, and the data becomes less useful. In some cases perceptions are important, but if a student is really spending 15 minutes that feels like an hour on the online program, and thinks he’s working hard but still not doing well it might make it more difficult to provide him useful help. I think this is a good way to get at data that is less confounded (though both LA and surveys would probably be best). 
-LA continue to become more useful in predicting student success and improving teaching methods. It seems like this is also a good way for students to communicate with an instructor about how they really feel about the course as it is happening; without feeling that they must confront him about any complaints. When an instructor can see that participating is dropping at a certain point it is clear that there is room for improvement. 

Ferguson: The state of learning analytics in 2012: a review and future challenges

-LA, and research on LA draws on other research in social science, technology and education. This might make things a little confusing, but I think that disciplines are mostly socially constructed and it only makes sense to work across them, acknowledging that anything that involves people is multi-dimensional. 
-Both students and teachers have access to data generated by LA. In some ways this is a good thing, but I think that it is important to use it as a tool, and not as a replacement for genuine interaction. I don’t think a computer program will ever be able to give the feedback that a human can, and people will likely need to work a little harder to make time to get in touch with their instructors or students, when they are already getting some communication from LA.

Seamens LAK 12 Keynote

-Seamans quotes Ellul and asks if LA will push education in a more open or a more closed educational system. I agree that this is a danger. There seems to have been a backlash against the shortcomings of standardized testing, and LA could be used in the form of standardized teaching throughout an entire course. But, just like standardized testing I think that LA has the capability to be used in a way that can help students and teachers on an individual level and not just in terms of broad statistics. 
-The question of ethics is cloudy and unsettled for LA. As long as the data is anonymous it doesn’t bother me that it is shared, though it does seem that it would be a good idea for institutions to inform students before collecting their data and perhaps allowing them to opt out. Informing the students might confound the data to a certain degree, but, as Seamans said, it is probably more important that LA does not need to be regulated from an outside power. 

Intro to Creative Commons

-Creative Commons (CC) allows people a legal way to share their work in the capacity that they wish without any more interaction with those using it. This seems to be the simplest solution. It does require that the creator of whatever media is being shared be open minded, because it is impossible to imagine what might in the end be done with your work. I think it’s great that there are people that are willing to do this in our current culture of profit and suing anyone who does something we don’t like. 
– CC has created a fairly simple coding scheme that quickly lets a user know what he is allowed to do with a piece of media. As one of the purposes of OER is to allow efficient access to anyone this seems like a good way to simply communicate the wishes of the creator without having to go through any additional process before the media can move on and hopefully be improved and disseminated. 

License Compatibility

The CC licensing information does seem fairly complicated, but I think that is most likely because I’ve never really delved into copy-write law, which I think is a problem. Copy-write seems mostly like bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo that nobody really reads or cares about (other than lawyers) and people and corporations generally use to hurt each other. The original purpose, to give credit and profits where they are do, makes sense, but I think copy-write has gotten so out of hand that most people can’t or won’t go through the trouble to understand it. Fortunately OER operates simply in comparison and on the good faith that people will do their best to abide by the rules. 
-At first the license compatibility game was frustrating, but after I got the hang of it it wasn’t so bad. I’m not sure I’d classify it as fun though. I did enjoy the aspect that ever hand din’t necessarily include a workable set, just like when you’re trying to remix resources. 

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