The student data blueprint: We’re moving forward but do we know where we’re going? (Upcoming #AusELT Twitter chat, 6/3/16)

A 2015 post promoting an #AusELT chat on m-learning lamented that, despite a widely held belief amongst educators about the value of m-learning, ‘we are often stuck in a situation where institutions or colleagues still advocate the blind banning of mobiles in the classroom’. The post asks, ‘Are we really moving forward?’ 

I would argue that, when it comes to m-learning and the use of technology in education more broadly, we are certainly ‘moving forward’. If anything, there is a danger of moving so quickly that we ignore the many conscientious and valid criticisms of ‘edtech’.

In the name of ‘moving forward’, concerns about the privacy and security implications of students using internet-connected technologies on their own devices at the behest of their educational institution are often relegated to the status of a brief footnote or a vague concession in a subordinate clause.

In their 2014 book Digital Literacies, Nicky Hockly, Gavin Dudeney and Mark Pegrum frequently mention ‘privacy’ but their treatment of it is limited to making students aware of their ‘privacy settings’:

Privacy guidelines can help students limit the amount of personal information they share online, as well as how widely they share it. It’s important to remind them to tighten up their privacy settings on social networking sites in particular. (p. 28)

This view of ‘privacy’ – that, armed with a few ‘digital literacies’, we can take control of our online data – is naive. It is becoming increasingly clear that we should never assume that we know what information about us is online, who has access to it or what use is being made of it.

The student data blueprint

Those of you in the #AusELT community who have taken the IDLTM will remember Shostack’s notion of the ‘service blueprint’ from the ‘Customer Service Management’ module. It involves ‘mapping out all the various interactions and actions that occur when customer and company meet.’ During the IDLTM, we are asked to reflect on our own organisations from this perspective; for example, how and when does a potential student first come into contact with our organisation, what experience do they have and how could it be improved?

During our next #AusELT chat, we will apply this concept to the accumulation, storage, transfer, analysis and use (Harvey 2005) of students’ personal data and consider the ‘Student Data Blueprint’:

  • What technologies do our students and staff use as they interact with our organisation at various stages of their ‘journey’?
  • What data is generated about them?
  • Where does it go?
  • Who does it benefit?
  • How secure is it in transmission and storage?
  • Who has access to and control of it?
  • Why should we be concerned about this?

 We will also discuss what practical steps students and staff can take to minimise any risks to them that arise from these data processes.

This chat took place on Sunday March 6, 8:30pm AEST. To see the summary of the chat, click here.

This post by @elkysmith

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