Collaborative sensemaking in learning analytics

Knight, Simon; Buckingham Shum, Simon and Littleton, Karen (2013). Collaborative sensemaking in learning analytics. In: CSCW and Education Workshop (2013): Viewing education as a site of work practice, co-located with the 16th ACM Conference on Computer Support Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2013), 23 Feb 2013, San Antonio, Texas.


Learning Analytics (LA) is a new educational tool aimed at improving learning processes and outcomes via the analysis of, and feedback regarding, student trace data. Implementation has often involved visualizations for sensemaking. However, these visualizations are complicated by their wide range of audiences – from governmental, down to individual pupils. Furthermore, the needs and abilities of these various stakeholders are important to consider, with different users requiring different context data; from school level demographic data, to teachers understanding something of the personal lives’ of students. This data will often be considered in collaborative, computer-mediated physical and sociocultural contexts. CSCW has engaged with visualization researchers; LA is a new area which should be of interest to these researchers, particularly given the starkness with which LA highlights issues of user roles, task needs, and data ethics. This paper highlights some of these needs in the context of the growing interest in collaborative visualization.

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