Setting the table: Responsible use of student data in higher education

Virtually all college and university instructors now share their teaching duties with providers of digital services. Learning management systems convey assignments, online forums scaffold discussions, AI-based tutors customize lessons, and myriad calling and conference platforms simulate face-to-face interaction across great distances. All of these services leave digital traces of instructional effectiveness, learning, and user preferences—information that may be used to improve student outcomes, build basic science, and sell products. In the wake of the spectacularly rapid rise in computational applications inside and around higher education, today’s inheritors of the ancient rituals of human instruction face a promising but largely uncharted future.

Which streams of data about learners are properly and positively integrated with one another, and which are best kept distinct? Should the information be kept forever, or if not, under what conditions should it be erased? Does the information produced through digital platforms impose any obligations on those who have access to it? Who is entitled to make money off these data, and what responsibilities does such business entail? These are among the many questions facing educators and vendors about the ethics and politics of information.

[ Read the original article at EDUCAUSE Review. ]

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