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A measurement of faculty views on the meaning and value of student privacy

Abstract

Learning analytics tools are becoming commonplace in educational technologies, but extant student privacy issues remain largely unresolved. It is unknown whether faculty care about student privacy and see privacy as valuable for learning. The research herein addresses findings from a survey of over 500 full-time higher education instructors. In the findings, we detail faculty perspectives of their privacy, students’ privacy, and the high degree to which they value both. Data indicate that faculty believe privacy is important to intellectual behaviors and learning, but the discussion argues that faculty make choices that put students at risk. While there seems to be a “privacy paradox,” our discussion argues that faculty are making assumptions about existing privacy protections and making instructional choices that could harm students because their “risk calculus” is underinformed. We conclude the article with recommendations to improve a faculty member’s privacy decision-making strategies and improve institutional conditions for student privacy.

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Notes

  1. Participant response rates exceeded 100% because individuals were able to choose more than one racial or ethnic group with which they identified.

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Acknowledgements

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (LG-18-19-0032-19). The views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. We thank our participants for taking the time to complete the survey. Some survey questions were adopted and modified from the Data Doubles (https://datadoubles.org) student privacy survey. We thank this research team’s members for allowing us to iterate on their work. A previous version of this article was published in the Proceedings of the 54th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences (HICSS). This article reflects a substantial revision, including new findings, an entirely new discussion, and major implications that did not exist in the proceedings. We thank all reviewers of our work for their constructive and collegial comments.

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Correspondence to Kyle M. L. Jones.

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Jones, K.M.L., VanScoy, A., Bright, K. et al. A measurement of faculty views on the meaning and value of student privacy. J Comput High Educ (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-022-09320-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-022-09320-7

Keywords

  • Learning analytics
  • Educational data mining
  • Higher education
  • Student privacy
  • Faculty perspectives