Learning Analytics in Ufora: What Data Can Lecturers Use?

Introduction

Ghent University has drawn up a code of conduct for education data ('learning analytics'). This code of conduct prescribes how Ghent University staff are to use education data with respect for privacy (General Data Protection Regulation), the General Code of Conduct for Processing Personal Data and Confidential Information, and other ethical norms and values promoted at Ghent University.

The term education data comprises all data generated by and/or related to any and all student learning activities organized by Ghent University, regardless of the way in which those data are gathered and/or of the platforms used to store them. In addition, education data also encompass all information generated during lecturers’ feedback.

First and foremost, the code of conduct explicates the general principles for data collection, data analysis and data use at Ghent University. Secondly, the code further specifies four purposes of education data use at our university:

  • policymaking and policy support
  • education improvement
  • student coaching and student support
  • student assessment

For each of those four purposes, the code of conduct defines specific groups of actors and users, data sets, and data collection procedures. Important points to consider, such as privacy-related and ethical considerations are also discussed and explained. 

Lecturers wanting to use Ufora education data can consult a purpose-written Education Tip containing an overview of the different types of data analysis that are in keeping with the code of conduct.

Use of Ufora Education Data by Lecturers for Policymaking, Education Improvement, Student Coaching and Student Support

Learning analytics or the analysis of students’ learning processes within a digital learning environment can help lecturers better to understand, and to optimize student learning. For policymaking, education improvement, student coaching and student support purposes, lecturers can perform data aggregation but only at group level. This is a general rule. Lecturers are not allowed to focus on individual students, not even out of curiosity, e.g. to check individual students’ activity logs, the amount of time they spend on the learning platform, or to determine when they complete certain learning activities. It is, however, useful for Ghent University students to know what types of analysis are allowed:

At course unit level:

  • percentage of students that has visited/viewed a particular content item and the average time spent
  • Ufora Tests analyses
  • user statistics
    • the average test score of a particular student group;
    • the score distribution: the percentage of students scoring more, or less than half the marks
  • question statistics
    • the student group’s average score per question
    • the score distribution per question: the percentage of students scoring more, or less than half the marks
  • question details
    • this analysis enables you to check the percentage of students to have chosen each of the answer options in a multiple choice question

Use of Ufora Education Data for Assessment Purposes

Under certain circumstances, and only for assessment purposes, it is possible to perform education data analyses at the level of individual students. However, this is only allowed if the analysis can demonstrate whether or not a student has attained a specific learning objective.

Do not…

assess students based on the time and duration of their activity on the digital learning platform.

Do…

assess students based on e.g. whether or not they have gone through a specific learning pathway, whether or not they have uploaded an assignment, posted a reaction on the discussion form, uploaded a video clip, etc… .

The above data can be used in the context of both formative and summative assessment. Important to take into account, however, is the fact that lecturers must always inform their students of which data will be used, and how it will be taken into account in the marking. This information can either be given in class, at the start of term, and/or through a message on the digital learning platform. The section “Detailed Clarification of Assessment Methods” on the course sheet should also mention the use of learning analytics.

Ufora Education Data: Proper Use and Monitoring

Students who feel that their data are being used in defiance of the code of conduct, can contact their Study Programme Committee (Chair) or faculty Director of Studies, either directly or via their student representatives

For more information and advice on monitoring and observing the code of conduct contact Ghent University’s Data Protection Officer, Hanne Elsen.