Applications of Student Data in Higher Education: Issues and Ethical Considerations

Slade, Sharon (2016). Applications of Student Data in Higher Education: Issues and Ethical Considerations. Ithaka S+R.



The second Asilomar convention organized by Stanford University and Ithaka S+R in June 2016 brought together a group of academics to facilitate a review of how student data is currently used in higher education. The discussions aimed to synthesize current best practices to specify norms for the ethical use of student data; and inform institutional, national and global policies regarding the research, application, and representation of adult student data.

This paper focuses on the applications strand which sought to yield further insight into:
•The main areas of focus and most promising types of applications for the postsecondary community over the next few years
•A shared understanding of issues (for example, data types or methodologies) that may warrant additional ethical consideration
•The potential for guiding principles which seek to minimize the risks associated with the use of student data to guide or drive their learning.

In particular, the discussion considered both the possibilities and limits of direct intervention in student learning on the basis of data flow, and any risks that should be avoided or at least minimized.

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