Big Data and Learning Analytics in Higher Education

pp 89-108


Ethical Considerations in Adopting a University- and System-Wide Approach to Data and Learning Analytics

  • Lynne D. RobertsAffiliated withCurtin University Email author 
  • , Vanessa ChangAffiliated withCurtin University
  • , David GibsonAffiliated withCurtin University

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The rapid adoption of learning analytics in the higher education sector has not been matched by ethical considerations surrounding their use, with ethical issues now slated as one of the major concerns facing learning analytics. Further, adoption of learning analytics within universities has typically involved small-scale projects rather than university- or system-wide approaches, and missing from the research literature is consideration of learning analytics from a ‘big systems’ point of view. We begin to address these gaps through providing an introduction to ethical considerations in adopting a university- and system-wide approach to learning analytics. Drawing on the existing literature on ethical considerations associated with learning analytics, we identify key questions that require consideration during the process of introducing learning analytics within a university. We then map these questions onto layers of systems and roles within universities, detailing how these ethical considerations may affect learning analytics decisions at differing levels of the university.


Learning analytics Ethical considerations Big data Privacy Student agency Consent Data governance