There is no doubt that Big Data in higher education offers huge potential. However, there is a critical need to interrogate the underlying epistemologies and paradigms which inform our understanding of the potential of learning analytics to increase student engagement, retention and success. The harvesting, analyses and application of student data are not neutral acts, and all flow from and perpetuate social, political, economic and cultural agendas. Therefore, it is crucial to explicitly recognise and engage with the complications, contradictions and conflicts inherent in Big Data and learning analytics. The context of increasing funding constraints, the impact of neoliberal and market-driven curricula and admission requirements and the proliferation of accountability and reporting regimes encourage higher education institutions to embrace the harvesting, analysis and use of student data without necessarily considering issues of justice and ethics. Considering higher education as a moral and political practice, this chapter proposes to formulate a framework for information justice based on an ethics of justice and care. The inherent tensions between an ethics of justice and an ethics of care allow for and necessitate a critical engagement with the hype surrounding Big Data in higher education.
- Big Data
- Ethics of care
- Ethics of justice
- Higher education
- Information justice
- Learning analytics
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A related summary argument was presented at the EDEN15 Conference held in Barcelona, Spain, 9–12 June 2015. That work has not been published.
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Prinsloo, P., Slade, S. (2017). Big Data, Higher Education and Learning Analytics: Beyond Justice, Towards an Ethics of Care. In: Kei Daniel, B. (eds) Big Data and Learning Analytics in Higher Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-06520-5_8
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